My co-author Andrea and I get some pretty interesting questions from readers. Many of these queries are thoughtful, and allow us to reflect on our work in ways that otherwise might not have been possible. Others are just funny as [insert favorite expletive here]. And so…
1.) Which one of you is the stripper?
It’s Andrea. Just kidding. Despite the fact that our protagonist in Queen of the Court, Shana Jones, is a former stripper, this detail is not drawn from our life experiences. It’s a common misconception that a novel’s central character is always the writer in disguise. This may be true in some cases, but J.K. Rowling (I am always picking on her – just fanatically jealous of her millions) is not a wizard, Arthur Golden (Memoirs of a Geisha) was never a geisha, female or Japanese and so on. So no ex-strippers here, but we are willing to develop a pole dancing routine if it will get our book made into a movie.
2.) Are there any characters in your book who aren’t human?
One could argue that Lavinia Winter and her daughter Allie Beech lack the range of emotion to be considered fully human. But the audience member at a book signing who asked this question really wanted to know if Queen of the Court had any cats as characters. The answer is yes, including a colony of feral cats and an old battered Tom who saves….oh, wait, spoiler. Anyway, yes, we have cats, and we are animal lovers and pet owners. But we would like to assure everyone we are not “cat ladies” and have no intention of dying alone in a stuffy apartment surrounded by an excess of felines. Unless, of course, it will get our book made into a movie.
3.) Is your book based on actual people, places and events?
I quote our front matter here: “This book is a work of fiction. Characters, organizations, events and incidents are the product of the authors’ imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons and places is entirely coincidental.”
4.) So are the people who think Belle Vista is really their country club mad at you? [Asked by a reader who didn’t quite believe the answer to question 4.]
Yes! We hear this all the time! Interestingly, people we have never met regularly claim they are in the book (most seem to think they are Allie Beech). There are also those who proclaim publicly that they refuse to read the book, because they know we’re making fun of them and they think it is mean. Which is interesting, because if you haven’t read the book, how can you know we are making fun of you?
A couple of points here. First, we played country club tennis, so we’re making fun of ourselves. Second, it’s country club tennis. We are not poking fun at starving children or Mother Teresa. Third, if you really believe you are one of the characters in Queen of the Court, you have bigger problems than being one of the characters in Queen of the Court. Read the book and you’ll see what we mean.
We are frankly hoping that the once percent grows a set before our sequel comes out, because all this whining is giving us headaches. One final comment: Stop calling us mean. We prefer the term “bitches”.
Melanie Howard and Andrea Leidolf are authors of the social satire Queen of the Court and Merrywood, a mystery scheduled for publication this summer.
Queen of the Court is available in paperback and for Kindle on Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/Queen-Court-Melanie-Howard-ebook/dp/B00DNBMZ6A