Hello, MB4 fans and friends!
Please help me welcome my friend and author Sheila Deeth to Murderby4 today. I read her book, Divide by Zero, and truly enjoyed the tapestry of characters and scenes she so expertly wove together. Give it a try!
copyright 2014, Sheila Deeth
In a recent post on this site, Aaron Paul Lazar asked about “writing the tough stuff, or killing the one you love.” I thought straight away of a scene where someone dies in my newly re-released novel, DIVIDE BY ZERO. But I can’t give you the scene. I can’t even tell you who dies because... well, then I might have to kill you, or something.
There are lots of characters threading through the tapestry of DIVIDE BY ZERO. Even if you know someone’s going to die, I’d rather you didn’t warn them when you first see them smile. So meet Troy, the garage mechanic; he’s falling in love with a rich man’s daughter—a match made on the ice cream aisle of the local supermarket perhaps; and both their families will be drawn into revealing disparate opinions. Of course, Lydia’s little sister Sylvia doesn’t have much of an opinion; she just wishes her big sister wouldn’t head off to university, because who will she talk to when she’s gone? Big brother Jason just wants a job.
Then there’s young Steve being drawn into love and bridge on the quiet street where Troy and Lydia will come to live. He meets a cat and... well, the cat’s really important. It’s fluffy and white, has a rhinestone collar with a garnet glowing in the center like a mystical eye; and it keeps watch as if it knows more about the world than anyone else. The cat is there while the world goes by, and there to help when everything falls apart.
Rumor has it a predator (human, not feline) lurks under the trees of Paradise Park. But, other than that, Paradise seems a pleasant little suburb of a pleasant little town, until someone dies. The question, I suppose, is did I kill someone I loved. And the answer? I sort of loved the whole tapestry of characters. After all, there’s that other question that people always ask authors—“How much of yourself is hidden in the people you write?” There are bits of me scattered all through DIVIDE BY ZERO (ah, what a fractured personality I must be), so killing someone off is like, well... definitely worse than cutting toenails.
Of course, the other phrase authors often hear is the advice to “Kill off your darlings.” But they don’t mean characters when they say this; they mean beloved scenes that don’t advance the plot; intricate details that hang like pearls from a piglet; or glorious triumphs set at inglorious tangents to everything else. My editor helped me kill those darlings very kindly and effectively, but the blame for killing characters is all my own, unless I choose to blame that one who set this whole sorry sequence of events in motion. But instead I feel sorry for him—the most evil character I’ve ever written, and here I am trying to redeem him! He had his hurts—don’t we all?—and in the end forgiveness might be a gift my characters can only receive, not theirs to give. You might have to read the book to see what you think.
So, perhaps I wrote my villain’s crime in hopes of placing my own unseen transgressions on the same collection plate. We all have our hurts, like him, and all of us need forgiveness, one way or another, sometime or another (or all the time). If pain should become our “singular point,” dividing us by zero, perhaps forgiveness is the number (numerator) that we divide, a gift that saves us from being torn apart. And perhaps that’s the message I’m hiding in my book, as I kill the ones I love, even when they stay living, demanding sequels, in my head.
Author: Sheila Deeth
Divide by Zero is available from the publisher at: http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/#!product/prd15/2955791331/divide-by-zero