Monday, January 14, 2008

How to tell you're reading a Carole McDonnell story

First person with strange narrative or third person with strange narrativeI tend to always write in the first person. Frankly, I'm scared of the third person narration. When I do it it feels flat and banal. I simply cannot write it straight. Plus...when I write in the third person, the characters seem distance. Unless I make the story a fairy-tale or very stylized.

Estranged Brothers/Family Outcast/In-law problems/Isolated from society, clan or casteYes, although I have no brothers. Brothers separated through ideology or family circumstances seem to abound. Seems something external to my own life has so affected my brain that this idea has become a part of my subconscious. I wonder if it was because I read King Lear and loved it so much. This occurred in my short story, Homecoming at the Borderlands Cafe (published in Jigsaw Nation) and in Wind Follower.

Very kind people/Moral TreacheryI suspect that like Blance Dubois, I live trusting in the kindness of people. I love kindness. But I also love moral treachery. Betraying friends. I can only think I was influenced by Tristan and Isolde, and by Wings of a Dove. Manners and societal issues are very important, especially etiquette. As Talking Heads sang, "I hate people when they're not polite."

An ill main character.Whether it's mental illness, physical illness, developmental delay...all my stories have at least one character with a life that has been thwarted by some grievous emotional or physical wound. My story Black is the color of my true love's hair, published in Fantastical Visions III has an Irish knight who is riding home from the Crusades who has been wounded by a sword...and the wound is incurable. My characters also cannot sleep.

Sexual issuesAh me! I think sex is so dang complicated. Sex used as a sleeping pill. Sex used as a means of comfort. Sex used to manipulate. I don't know if any of my characters have ever had any kind of sane sex. Relationships between older women and young men. Loic in Wind Follower had mother issues. In addition, most of my characters truly don't believe they are loved. Often, the love that another person has for them is all they really have.

Morbid introspection/Religion/Existentialism/WorldwearinessMy books always have some religious issue. Sometimes there are political issues fighting against it. Accompanying this religious atmosphere is often a heavy dose of morbid introspection. My characters are too honest with themselves about their temptation and sin.

Married protagonistsInterracial/intercultural marriage, odd combinations, or May-July relationshipsRomance is about finding the right and perfect person. Often one of my characters falls in love at first sight. In my story characters are always thinking of marriage. Marriage is the most romantic of journeys. Then there is life versus love. Can the love survive?

Hubby is white and I'm black so I guess that explains why I do interracial relationships. My characters don't fall into the typical physical ideal.

A challenge to my readersI can't help it. I don't like to think of myself as argumentative but I always have to get some political point into my books, and I totally don't care who it offends. Some sections in my books can make a reader angry or uncomfortable.


A poetic normalcyI love normal life. I like sincerity in stories about normal folks. I read a lot of memoirs and nonfiction and my narration feels like a normal person is narrating it. Yet the narration has to be lyrical and beautiful and poetic.

Religion, The Supernatural and GodThe supernatural is such an important part of my life. For some religion is all about dogma and doctrine but Biblical Christianity has a lot of supernatural stuff in it. Plus I'm Jamaican. The Jamaican and the Pentecostal mentality in me always has to make religion supernatural. My characters often need some supernatural event to help them out of their fix. They are also very aware of sin. Redemption and the love of God is very important. Even if religion isn't Christianity, I'd like to think that something in the book shows my relationship with my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
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