Research, Her Mother’s Shadow


Bobby Asher, one of the characters in HER MOTHER’S SHADOW,  is a scrimshander. I became fascinated by scrimshaw when I discovered scrimshander Cathy Guss’s work at a craft fair. Today’s scrimshaw goes well beyond ships carved on whale teeth. It often involves the use of color–as well as thousands of delicate incisions cut into ancient mammoth ivory or other (legally obtained) materials–to create detailed images.  Here are two pieces I own, both made by Cathy Guss.


Canine Search and Rescue work 

As a dog lover, it was fun to explore search and rescue training. And also as a dog lover, I found it difficult to write about the Jekyll and Hyde canine character, Wolf. 

Lacey O’Neill 

We all know women (maybe you?) who are attracted to Bad Boys. Lacey seems to take it one step further, though. Why is she promiscuous? It’s always interesting to me to examine my characters from a psychological angle, and Lacey made a fascinating subject for that exploration. I learned more than I cared to know about sex addiction as I created her. The reader will have to be the judge as to whether that label fits her . . . or whether giving her a “label” is even useful at all.

How does such a woman, struggling to reshape her own life, take on an eleven-year-old girl she doesn’t even like? The research for this plot element came more from my understanding of Lacey as a character than from any book or expert.

Having “lived” with Lacey through three books, I found it hard to say goodbye to her at the end of HER MOTHER’S SHADOW. She’s going to have a great future though. Maybe I’ll write about her again some day. . .

Eleven-year-old girls 

It’s been a while since I’ve had one of these in my life! I had a good time rediscovering the world of pre-adolescence as I created the character of Mackenzie. It can be a very scary place.


That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?