Thursday, August 08, 2013

Gertrude...or...those sweet and salty characters

Well, here I am, a few days into August and nearly finished with my first Love Inspired HEART book.

Just a little rundown of the series -

Welcome to HEART (hostage extraction and rescue team), where lives are redeemed, families are restored and true love always prevails.

Hostage Extraction and Rescue Team was founded in 2008 by brothers Jackson and Chance Miller, both former Navy SEALs who’s older sister was taken hostage while on a missionary trip to Cambodia. She was never found. That loss drives the team’s mission - to rescue men, women and children from precarious situations and bring them safely home to their families. In the five years since its inception, HEART has earned a reputation for freeing hostages and rescuing people others have given up on. The members of the team are mostly ex-military or law enforcement personnel who have lost loved ones and who want to make sure that other families don’t suffer the pain they’ve experienced.
I'm not sure when the first book will be out. Probably in the spring or summer of 2014.
Whatever the case, the first book has been fun to write.
And, good news! I included a sweet and salty character. I'm not sure how he found his way into the book, but suddenly...there he was...all tough and cantankerous and quirky. 
As I was writing a scene with this guy kind of stealing the show (so to speak), I thought about Gertrude.  She's a prominent character in THE HOUSE ON MAIN STREET. Seventy-something and not afraid to shout it to the world. She's in a constant feud with her neighbor and has a penchant for dusty faded Santa hats. Blunt, a little rude and too willing to open her mouth when she should keep it shut, she has more than her share of character flaws.
But, man, does she love her family and you couldn't ask for a better friend.
If she sounds like someone I might know (0r, even, someone you might), it's probably because she is. I had the pleasure and blessing of knowing three of my great-grand parents. Grammy Goo is the one who just fills my memories.
And, no. That is not a mistake. Grammy Goo.
Her real name...or at least what we were supposed to call her...was Grammy Goodwin.
AKA, Gertrude Goodwin. My mother's grandmother.
She was salty and sweet. She smoked like a chimney, drank like a fish, swore like a sailor and loved her family like there was no tomorrow. She played the ear. Never took a lesson in her life, but still somehow played at church on Sunday morning (Yes...I do, indeed, mean that she did all the aforementioned things).
Perhaps she is the reason why there are so many older characters in my books, and why so  many of them are quirky and sharp, witty and, sometimes, just a little wild.
I loved Grammy Goo. For all her faults and foibles, because she always let me know that she loved and cared about me.
In the long and short run, when all is said and done and our lives are played out, it is the love we had (or didn't) that will linger in the hearts of those who knew us. And, perhaps, if we are very fortunate, we will be immortalized in someones book or song or dance or painting, or...better the oral histories passed down through generations of our families.
And, really, aside from the drinking, smoking and cussing like a sailor...I think the best kind of older person to be is one just exactly like my wonderful, witty and wild Grammy Goo!