What was Her Name?

Authors these days are writing series that can have a dozen books or more involved. Readers love to follow the adventures of the characters from the first books through the on-going stories. We see the wedding if it didn’t happen in the first one, we see the kids, we see it all. We know their dogs, cats, and gold fish. If it’s a historical, we know the horses and the servants.

Imagine my surprise to find that authors don’t always remember those details. In fact, the author who started this subject with me is actually paying someone to write a “Bible” about her series. Another said she forgot her heroine was pregnant in one book and didn’t bring it up in the next one. Her editor pointed out the error, which is good because that means her readers didn’t get hit with that mistake. That would have been a total flame war in real life.

In the Bowman’s Inn anthology, I have a Bible because we are a group of writers dealing with the same universe. Everyone needs to be on the same page, as far as what does the pub look like, who did who in which room, and what was the flavor of ice cream that we sold the most of at Katie May’s?

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I do have issues in my own story now and again, such as having a character with the last name of Jennings that I then accidentally typed as Jenkins. Even when I did a search for Jenkins and changed it to Jennings, the computer missed a couple. How could that happen? The complete elves just don’t support me.

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This presents a new career choice for people like me. Professional reader. Don’t remember the name of your heroine’s best friend from grade school’s kitten? Ask me! What street did the hero live on in Germany? Ask me! I’ll be the Google of Romance Books. I may even have to hire staff to read everything, but we’ll do all the reading for free. We were going to read it, anyway.

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I grew up writing fan fiction based on television shows. There were lots of books out there about the making of the favorite shows with references to the story guidelines. Many of us fans were more rabid about the show and the details. There’s no way we would accept an episode where a character didn’t follow the rules of our expectations. Obviously, the fans often know the story better than the writer. And that’s the magic of fiction.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back on Sunday.


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