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The Relaxed State

Ah, the languid days of August. It brings to mind relaxation–vacations, beach days, reading. This month we’re going to be talking about relaxation for ourselves, and our characters. First up, OM.

Don’t panic. I’m not going to talk about our characters’ mantras. (Though that may be a fun topic for the future…). Here’s what I’m wondering–can your characters relax? Or are they wound tight, ready to fix the world?

Edith/Maddie: That’s a great question, Julie! Both Robbie Jordan and Mac Almeida are busy business owners, with personal lives AND a murder to solve. In 14 books between them, I haven’t written many scenes where either sits around and daydreams. In Murder at a Cape Cottage, next year’s Cozy Capers Book Group mystery, Mac buys an adult coloring book and pencils – but she never gets around to using them! Rose Carroll is a bit better. She hangs out at the lake with her friend Bertie or sits quietly knitting or mending.

Barb: When Julia Snowden moves back from New York in Clammed Up, she brings the go-go energy of the city and her job in venture capital with her. Her boyfriend Chris urges her to slow down, in part by requiring that the dinner restaurant they run in the off-season be closed on Tuesday and Wednesdays. “If we work seven days, when will I finish my house? When will I get my deer?” he asks in Musseled Out. Julia begins to adapt to life in a town with distinct seasonal rhythms. By the tenth book, coming in 2022, she has way too much time on her hands, but that’s another story for another day.

Sherry: Chloe likes to sit on her screened porch with a drink and a good book. She loves to listen to the waves of the Gulf of Mexico and smell the salt and pine scented air. Sarah on the other hand, turns to friends. She wants to spend time with her landlady, Stella, the DiNapolis, Carol, or Seth. I mean who wouldn’t want to spend time with Seth?!

Jessie: I love this question, Julie, and all the answers from the rest of you! My characters seem to be fairly good at refilling their wells after bouts of intense activity. I expect this is because that is generally how I operate too. Edwina tends her garden and knits. She walks her dog. Beryl enjoys sitting and thinking or playing cards or going for drives in the countryside albeit at high rates of speed!

Liz: Agree, such a fun question! Both Maddie and Violet tend to lean on the having-to-be-reminded-to-chill side of the spectrum. Maddie is always looking for the next entrepreneurial venture to tackle while constantly getting sidelined by murders, and Violet is trying to adapt to the witch world while still trying to manage her mortal life. Whew! That’s a lot. Maddie, however, has Cass Hendricks, her zen guru who is currently trying to teach her to meditate more. We’ll see how that plays out…

Julie: Liz, we all need a Cass in our lives! In the Garden Squad, there are varying degrees of relaxers. Tamara is always on the go, as is her husband Warwick. But Lilly is better at relaxing, as she defines it. For her, gardening is relaxing. Sleuthing is just something that needs to be done.

Writer friends, are your characters good at relaxing? Readers, do you like your characters tightly wound, or relaxed?

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