Today I’ve been thinking about the books I wrote, and the characters that became real in my life. Here is a blurb of my first novel, An Accidental Life...and an excerpt from Chapter One.
Summertime is hot and dull in the Central Valley of California and four teenage girls from very different families are determined to spice it up. With a single-mindedness that foretells disaster, they push aside all the rules and explore the underbelly of valley life. Drugs, sex, alcohol, adventure, anything to challenge the norm, yet all experienced without the benefit of maturity. As the girls become increasingly uncontrollable, their mothers-from dramatically diverse social castes-are forced to work together to save their daughters. Like a tornado moving across the landscape, lives are wrenched from their foundations.
Here is an excerpt from Chapter One of An Accidental Life.
Once upon a time, Karin Larson had believed in endless possibilities. In her childhood, all the adults had asked her the same question: What do you want to be when you grow up? Picturing a giant list from which she could choose, Karin had played with the task, picking out one thing or another, while watching the reaction of the grownups to help her know if her choices were right or wrong.
Much later, Karin had come to realize that selecting one thing meant giving up something else. A possibility lost…perhaps forever. Sometimes, not making any choice at all was just a different way of choosing.
Karin often wondered about those alternate paths. As a single mother and a social worker for the past fourteen years, she was a responsible and professional person. She had achieved some expertise in her field. On the surface, an observer might see her as a calm, reasonably attractive woman in her mid-to-late thirties.
So why did she wake up every morning of her life wishing she were somewhere else and anyone else?
Today was no different from any other. Karin heard the alarm and cringed. Then, to stave off the inevitable, she pretended to be on vacation in some tropical island. She could almost feel the breeze off the ocean, and the scent of suntan lotion wafted toward her. She could feel her body relaxing into the chaise lounge, while a handsome man approached with a tall, cold drink with one of those little umbrellas on top. “Mom!” Bridget’s voice interrupted her reverie with its irritatingly teenage quality, that tone that demanded immediate attention. As she pushed open the bedroom door, she continued. “I can’t find that book I’m supposed to take back today! Have you put it somewhere?” Her tone, almost accusing, brought Karin rudely back to reality.
“No, Bridget,” she replied, forcing an appropriately calm and maternal tone into her own voice, refusing to resort to exchanging irritable words with her daughter. “Why don’t you check the desk? I think I saw it there last night. And, good morning to you, too!” She aimed a curving smile in her daughter’s direction.
Completely back in reality, Karin reluctantly sat up. As she looked around to gather her bearings, her gaze swept over the room, with its four-poster mahogany bed and matching dresser, crammed into the small space along with an armoire at the foot of the bed and a wicker chair next to it. Sighing, she acknowledged that her room had not metamorphosed into a luxurious bedroom/sitting room while she slept. And as she pushed open the swinging doors separating the bedroom from her bath, she noticed that the tiny cramped space with the shower/tub combination had not mysteriously turned into a luxurious spa while her eyes were closed. Laughing at her own fantasies, she turned on the hot water. Under the showerhead, the steady stream forced her body awake.
Toweling off afterwards, she moved quickly and within minutes had dressed in lilac colored lightweight pants and a matching sleeveless camisole, over which she planned to throw a purple and green floral printed tunic top. She glanced in the mirror before leaving the bedroom, pulling her ash blond hair back into a knot at the nape of her neck. She applied some eye shadow above her hazel eyes and blush to her high cheekbones. She lightly dusted powder on her pert, slightly upturned nose and with her finger, smoothed some lip-gloss on her full lips. Satisfied that she would pass inspection, she hurried from the room.