Two Leading Ladies

By Liz, who can’t believe the summer is almost over…

I’m still getting used to the fact that I have an alter ego. Cate Conte made her debut earlier this month (thank you to everyone who already read Cat About Town!) and I’m wondering if I’ll ever remember to answer to Cate when I’m out somewhere promoting this book. Some days I can’t ever remember to answer to Liz.

I’ve been asked a lot if my protagonist, Maddie James, is anything like Stan Connor from my Pawsitively Organic series. She’s not. Of course, when I set out to create Maddie, I wanted her to be very different from Stan. They were two different people, after all, with different backgrounds and lives. I started with the obvious physical attributes. But as I started writing Maddie’s adventures, the real differences made themselves apparent.

First of all, Maddie’s voice is in first person, compared to Stan’s third person. I don’t remember consciously making this decision. Maddie just spoke to me in first person, and I’m really enjoying the conversations we have.

The next big difference is their background. Stan’s family is from money and status. She’s not close to her mother – at least until Patricia moves to Frog Ledge – and she lost her dad in her twenties. Maddie comes from a close-knit family, and her mother is one of her best friends. Her father has a good job and is well respected on the island, but her mother is kind of bohemian and into doing her own thing. Like Stan, Maddie is the oldest, but Maddie has a habit of looking out for her younger sisters. Stan had a habit of throwing up her hands and leaving her younger sister to her own devices, given Caitlyn’s similarity to their mother.

And then there are their work habits. Even though Maddie is younger than Stan, she was an entrepreneur much earlier. Before she even hit double digits, actually. She had a laser focus on being her own boss and made it happen early on. After she moved across the country, and again when she moved back. Even though Stan wasn’t close to her family, she only moved one state away. For years she stayed chained by the golden handcuffs of corporate America, until they showed her the door. And it took her a while to realize she could open and run her own business. Even six books in, she’s still building her confidence. Maddie seemed to hit the ground running with an endless supply.

I’m loving writing both of these strong ladies. They each have their own unique personalities and the more books I write, the more those personalities reveal themselves. It’s tons of fun.

Oh, and the similarities! They both love coffee and cats. Orange cats, to be exact!10541952_914577361905352_8714990119533756205_n

Readers, what do you think of Stan vs. Maddie? Leave a comment!


17 Thoughts

  1. The cat in the picture looks just like my Sam. So MANY books, so little time…

  2. Did you steal my cat? Orange ones are such sweethearts–I have two siblings.

    Isn’t it interesting how different it is to write in first person and third person? You are so right: the characters tell you which voice they want. Do you find you feel closer to one or the other voice?

    1. Yes, love orange babies! It’s not that I feel closer to one, but I think I got to know/understand Maddie faster – does that make sense?

  3. Isn’t it interesting and fun , the way characters write their own lines? I still find it amazing. (Even when once in a while a minor character tries to take over the story and you have to pull author-rank and promise that maybe someday you’ll give her a book of her own!) Of course your orange cat is a dead ringer for my O’Ryan in the Witch City series. (Shameless self-promotion.)

  4. I love Stan, partly because her experience in corporate America is so relate-able. One day I hope to follow her lead and get out! I haven’t read the Maddie series yet, so it will be interesting to see how she compares πŸ™‚

  5. Your comparison of Stan and Maddie is so interesting. I don’t think I wash conscious of their differences–I just let the stories was over me.

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