What My Characters Read Says About Who They Are
By Lorie Lewis Ham
Any time I create a main character, I know they will be a reader. I just can’t put myself in the head of someone who doesn’t read.
In my new mystery novel, One of Us, one of the most important books to my protagonist Roxi Carlucci is The Once and Future King. This book is so important to her that she carries a well-read copy of it with her wherever she goes. Roxi has a love of all things Camelot and King Arthur. Here is a paragraph from One of Us where she explains a bit of why that is-
I had fallen in love with that whole world when I saw the musical as a kid, and with Lancelot. It wasn’t long until I was reading every King Arthur book I could find. Then I discovered The Once and Future King and that had become my constant companion. The one positive thing the Mafia world had going for it was honor, at least in the old days, and I think that was one of the things that had drawn me to Camelot. The idea of honor had become very important to me—it still was.
This paragraph says a lot about Roxi and what matters to her. Honor and a sense of justice are a part of her, right down to her soul. She does come from a Mafia family, but like her cousin, she prefers to solve crime not commit it. Her love for the legend of King Arthur even brings her to purchase a replica of Excalibur that she has learned how to use. It is that sense of honor and justice that leads Roxi to help her private detective cousin Stephen solve the murder in One of Us.
Roxi also has a great love of Sherlock Holmes. He is her favorite detective, not just because of how clever he is, but also because he is a bit more gray, rather than black and white. She relates to the darker side of Holmes.
Another favorite series of Roxi’s is Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series. Here we have another detective who fights for the underdog, has a sense of honor, and yet also has a dark side to him as a wizard.
On the lighter side of her personality, Roxi used to write children’s books before being dropped by her publisher. This loss of income is what leads to her moving to Fresno, California to live with her cousin in the Tower District—the arts and cultural district of the city. The hero in her books was a pet rat named Merlin—so there once again we find King Arthur and Camelot playing a role in her life.
As you might expect, these are all favorite books of mine as well—I wonder what that says about me? Before my first book came out, I had a writing teacher who kept trying to get me to write romances. My response to her was, “But I always end up killing someone.”
What does what you read say about you? I hope you like mysteries, and will consider reading One of Us.
At 35, children’s book author Roxi Carlucci finds herself starting over again after her publisher drops her book series. With no income, she has to pack up her life on the California Coast, along with her pet rat Merlin, and move in with her cousin, P.I. Stephen Carlucci, who lives in Fresno, CA. The one redeeming factor is that Stephen lives in the Tower District—the cultural oasis of Fresno.
Stephen talks Roxi into helping out with a community theatre production, which is also a fundraiser for a local animal rescue. Little did she know that someone would be murdered during a rehearsal, and that she and Stephen would be hired to find the killer. The killer has to be one of Roxi’s new acquaintances since the theatre was locked at the time of the murder, but no one seems to have a motive. How can they solve a murder without a motive? Could the local gossip website hold any clues? Can they stop the killer before they strike again?
Lorie Lewis Ham lives in Reedley, California and has been writing ever since she was a child—her first stories were about her stuffed animals. Her first song and poem were published when she was 13, and she has gone on to publish many articles, short stories, and poems throughout the years, as well as write for a local newspaper. Four out of 5 of her previously published mystery novels feature gospel singer Alexandra Walters and are set in the San Joaquin Valley. Those books were inspired by the many years she spent traveling and singing gospel music with her family. One Of Us is the first in a brand new mystery series set in the Tower District of Fresno, California featuring podcaster and part-time detective Roxi Carlucci. Lorie has also been the publisher of the online magazine Kings River Life for the past 11 years (kingsriverlife.com), and of its sister website KRL News & Reviews (krlnews.com). She also launched a mystery podcast called Mysteryrat’s Maze (mysteryratsmaze.podbean.com) 3 years ago which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors, including the first chapter of this book. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, and all of the other usual places. You can learn more about Lorie on her website mysteryrat.com and find her on Twitter @mysteryrat and Facebook. Another way to keep up with Lorie’s writing is to subscribe to her newsletter—you can find info on doing that on her website.
Lorie has been married to Larry for 30 years and they have 2 grown children—Jayce and Joseph Ham. She currently has 5 cats (Merlin, Sam, Dean, Sidney, and Willow), 4 dogs (Lestat, Huey, Xander, and Phoebe), and a pet dwarf rabbit (Sherlock). For many years, she worked in pet rat rescue and has had many pet rats of her own over the years.
Website – https://www.mysteryrat.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/lorie.ham/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/mysteryrat
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