A friend called last night. She had been snow and iced in and was sick on top of that. “I couldn't get out anywhere and was about to go stir crazy,” she told me. “You know I'm not a fiction reader, and I apologize that I've never read your novel, but I read it yesterday and today. Mary, I can't believe it. Where did it all come from?”
She went on to discuss the characters in the book and the obstacles and events occurring each week as they meet with Annon, sharing with him and each other, their life changes
To say I was flattered is an understatement, but I had to tell her that I couldn't take credit for how each chapter unfolded, or how Annon helped them change their lives. I just typed the words as I sensed them in my mind. I told her I had no idea from one scene to the next what was going to happen to Elaine or Tony; I didn't know James or Mark were coming into the scene. The story began with Annon, Peter, Marcy, Tony and Alice. Only four had come the first night, in time there were eight. They surprised me as they each arrived for whatever reasons.
“Yes, but how did you know to move them along the way you did?”
I again explained I didn't. They developed their lives and I never knew where they were going or why. She mentioned her favorite part of the book was when Mark arrived and continually challenged Annon, determined to prove he was a cult leader.
“I guess he was my favorite character.” she said. “He was so strong and determined, and didn't back down when some of the others got angry at him.”
Then she asked me who was my favorite. I have been asked many times and as I think about it, I often tear up. I miss not being with them anymore. I looked forward to each daily session as I learned about what was happening in their lives. Besides Annon of course, who was my favorite character?
I liked Tony, even with his belligerent attitude. I admired Elaine who had overcome so much in her young life. Peter was ready to change. I knew he'd do well. I didn't think Alan would change much, he was so set in his ways and ideas. I felt sorry for Marcy, struggling with her weight and frustration with her mother. I guess I related most with Alice, older, divorced, missing her children. I was glad when she brought James to the gatherings. I liked him with his lawyer's mind and the logical questions he asked Annon.
As we talked about it, I realized how much I missed them. Should I write a sequel? Find out what's happening in their lives now, even though I know they aren't real. I don't know but it makes me wonder if all writers remember their characters long after they have written 'The End'.