A few thoughts about Nikki, me, and they mystery of fiction
A lot of readers tell me, Nikki feels so authentic. She’s really you, right? All I can say is, I wish. From the time I first heard her voice in my head and began to write Dazzled, she was her own person, navigating her world and her life in a completely different way than I do mine. I really admire her, though. She’s infinitely braver — not just in dealing with the brutality she encounters, but also in the way she faces her own demons. Her integrity is awesome (though she’s a pretty good liar, when something important is at stake), and she lives much more in the moment than someone like me, who sits at the keyboard all day thinking and imagining.
The closest tie between me and Nikki is a kind of umbilical cord through which I can feel what she feels and see what she sees as she makes her way through a world more dangerous than anything I could handle. And we’ve both been involved in acting. I lived that life for a very short time, taking classes, going to auditions, and landing one featured role as the girlfriend of a thug in a really, really bad movie that went straight to video.
Something that helps create the illusion of reality — and also provides a great excuse to get away from the computer — is that I do a lot of real-world research instead of relying on the Web. It can be quite an adventure. I had to spend time down in the morgue at the County Coroner and learn how to shoot a semi-automatic so I could write about those experiences with some authenticity. And those chapters are definitely my favorites.
One of the really curious things about writing fiction is that while you’re doing it, you look inside your imagination and describe what you see there. You play with language, you try to make your sentences interesting, you work at disciplining that imaginary world to the demands of timing and rhythm and plot points. But once you’re finished and the book appears in print, those characters, those streets, those scenes really have become separate and very complete world.
Hmmmmmm…. We’re getting a little heady and abstract. If I were Nikki, I’d be ready for some action right about now.
Brief bio: Maxine Nunes is a New Yorker who's spent most of her life in Los Angeles. She has written and produced for television, and currently writes for several publications including the Los Angeles Times. Her satiric parody of a White House scandal won the Pen USA West International Imitation Hemingway Competition. Dazzled is her latest release. Learn more at:
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Dazzled by Maxine Nunes. Five Star. 2013. ISBN 9781432827304 (hardcover), 256p.