When I took my writing seriously and decided to actually complete a novel, I expected that I would write in one of my favorite genres: Sci Fi, Action/Adventure/Paranormal. Wasn't I surprised to find that I write in Womens Fiction Genre with sprinklings of Spirituality/Paranormal. How strange, thought I, since I don't like reading Womens Fiction. Sure enough, each of my stories fit this category.
In case you don't know the difference between Womens Fiction and Romance, Womens Fiction is more complicated, with roller coaster rides of emotions and turmoils throughout the book. The main character in a Womens Fiction is, of course, a woman. That is, unless you are reading one of my stories where it is normally both a man and a woman.
At the time I started 'Always' I was also writing two other stories. It was 'Always' that refused to be put away and honestly wrote itself. I felt as though I were nothing more than the medium to get the story onto paper. Why does it take place mainly in England? I have no idea. That's where the story led me and is still a mystery to me. But then, my other stories take place all over the world. What fun to be a writer and travel the world over, developing characters that no one else has.
'Always' is the story of Simon and April, two average people living in our over-populated world. April is a typical 16 year old. What is not typical for her, is she is torn between her father, an American, and her mother's family who all live in England. She spends her summers in England in a tiny village with her Great Aunt until the year my story is written in. Now, she is in England to stay and she believes deeply that she has one mission, and one mission only to accomplish. That is to marry Simon.
Simon is 36 years old. April is his best friend's niece, and Simon does his best to avoid her. He finds children of any age tedious. He doesn't like complications in his perfect life and through more than half of the book, April does her best to change his attitude.
It is important that the main characters change by the end of the novel. Does this happen in 'Always'? Definitely. Both Simon and April play an important part in each other's lives, causing them both to change and develop as the book goes on.
Simon has locked his emotions away, or so he thinks. His best friend, Dixon, is full of emotions. Dixon loves life and people. He is always laughing and sees life as humorous. Dixon has another quality that Simon greatly lacks. Dixon understands emotions and the importance of family. He has never let go of Simon's friendship and loves nothing better than complicating Simon's life, so at first he is thoroughly enjoying his niece's crush on his best friend - until he discovers that Simon is beginning to be attracted to April. Through this strange relationship of Simon and April's, it is Dixon's wise words that guide Simon along.
I've written about Dixon before. I honestly don't know where I developed this character, but I love his personality. He is the type of guy that all women are attracted to. Simon is the better looking and perfectly dressed - the type that any woman would love to see in an Armani suit. Dixon's attitude and style are more casual. Dixon grew up with an older sister and a twin sister, and somehow he developed the understanding of the female species that most men wish they had.
Here are some classic Dixon segments from my novel.
(Simon speaking)“You managed to obtain a goddess who bewitches men with her French accent. I’ve wondered why her speech isn’t perfect, since she’s from here.”
“Her mother was from England but never uttered a word. Her father came from France. She learned English from him. I tell you, I adore her accent. When I listen to her….” Dixon smiled wistfully. “She is the sweetest of angels.”
“How you won such a prize, I’ll never know. A tiny woman with long blonde hair pinned up in a simple style. Soft spoken, polite and feminine. Those baby blue eyes penetrate through you, peering into your soul. She is indeed the only model.”
“She is my perfect porcelain doll, elegant even when angry.”
“Angry? I’ve never seen that side of her. What did you do now, Duffy?”
Dixon looked sheepish. “Why do you think I did anything?”
“Frustrating people is your forté. Only you could make a darling like Jesse annoyed. Come on, give it up.”
Dixon stared ahead. “Simon, life is for revelry, adventure, and merriment.”
“I recall the old days when your happiness got us into lots of trouble and got me into boxing matches.”
“Antics of youth. My, I kept your boring existence exciting. And you won every match.”
“Is that how you’ve seen it all these years? Our parents received loads of angry calls; I wasn’t even involved in some of those situations.”
April passed the cups of tea, handing Simon his first.
“Here you are, dear Simon.”
Dixon bit his upper lip.
“Do you want a slice of Aunt Tillie’s gingerbread? I…I helped her make it.” April blushed, as she leaned in a little too close to Simon.
Simon threw himself back hard into the chair to get a proper distance from her.
“Great.” Dixon grabbed a slice and sat back down. “Who doesn’t like Aunt Tillie’s gingerbread?”
Neither April nor Simon moved.
“Better take a piece. I think that’s the answer.” Dixon winked at Simon.
“One can hope. Let’s talk about tonight. April called upset, saying she acted in a terrible way and you hated her.”
“No. No, not April. It was my thoughtless treatment of her. I’ve never been good at dealing with women.”
“You are a might deficient in that area. She refused to explain what happened. You care to comment?”
“A huge misunderstanding. Let her know I don’t hate her. Apologize for me and that I admitted my error in judgment.”
Dixon watched Simon’s thumb jump. “Not this time, Simon. You should apologize to her, face to face. It seems best. You tend to be curt when dealing with others."
“Good bye,” yelled April, “and thank you, Uncle Dixon, for Simon’s e-mail address. I’ll write you soon, Simon, to check how you’re feeling.”
Simon climbed into the jeep and looked at Dixon horror-stricken. “Oh my dear friend, even you couldn’t conceive such a cruel thing.”
Dixon, embarrassed, started the engine and drove further into the village.
“She begged me. Seems to be important to her. Aunt Tillie took her side, reminding me you need to find a spouse and you seem incapable of doing so. She reckons you’re feeble and shouldn’t be alone. And I wouldn’t presume to disagree with Aunt Tillie.”
Duffy and Simon lay down and looked up at the sky.
“I see why you picked this area, Simon. You can work and yet have excursion days. It is calm here, and few people.” Dixon closed his eyes. Jesse came and sat next to him.
“Look, Simon. See? So carefree, he looks like a child, mon enfant.”
“Matches his mind, then, doesn’t it?”
Dixon roared with laughter.
“Ahem,” called Dixon. “Ahem,” he voiced louder.
Simon looked over his shoulder. Dixon stood, smirking.
“The tea room to your liking?” Dixon asked.
“Dixon, how do I survive two young girls?”
“If you drink enough tea in a darling little tea room decorated with such delightfully colored butterflies, in those fancy clothes of yours, you might metamorphose and flitter away.” He fluttered his hands to imitate wings in motion.
“Funny. Are we going fishing?”
“Well, I had anticipated meeting a few fish. Do you prefer to spend more time in the tearoom? Tell me, old boy, did you use a demitasse?”
“You aren’t going to let this go, are you?”
“Oh no. This is priceless. I’m going to be working over-time for jokes. Jesse took the camera away when I attempted to snap a few pictures. The men at the Pub would want to view them. I had the perfect story – ‘Butterflies and Tea Rooms, Simon Umbridge’s Secret Addictions.’” Dixon slapped Simon on the back. “And you have on a suit jacket over your khakis. Have you started to fish formally now?”
Simon glared at Dixon. “Dixon, she’s still a…”
“Simon, you know what your problem is?” Dixon held April’s hand.
“I’m sure you are about to tell me.”
“I am indeed. You treat women like they’re frail. Your mother, my mother, Aunt Tillie here,” He nudged her and she nudged him, laughing. “Protector Lula,” (Telulla made fists at Dixon) “Dixie, my Jesse, and April. They’re tough critters. See?” Dixon reached up and tickled April in the ribs as she screamed and tried to pull away.
Telulla went over and the three of them pretended to fight until Dixon gave up. The girls ran back to Jesse.
Aunt Tillie smacked Dixon on the shoulder. “Full of it, you are.”
“Here, Jesse. Let Simon see how you fight,” said Dixon.
“Alors. I am glad you are in a better mood even though you act like a child. Enfant. You do not command me. I will get you tonight, you will see.”
“I look forward to it, dear. It is a deal? Notice, Simon, they’re fighters, out to win. They are tigers, quick to temper, swift to scratch, and relish the hunt whether after prey or being chased.
As the story unfolds, it becomes obvious that without Dixon, Simon would have been a hermit, becoming more and more bitter as he aged.
Dixon is the emotional release from this emotional story.
I can only hope that each one of us has a Dixon in our lives.
LHR, my sweet friends and PAWS for Success.