Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Once in a while, other authors' characters become family.

I'm a huge fan of certain book and TV characters but not usually one to care much about the writers' and actors' lives. As a writer with a Hollywood and theatrical past, I know the difference between characters and those who write or portray them and have always kept the two separate in my mind. I get a little sad when I hear of a writer or actor dying, especially if I enjoyed their work.

A few years ago, an author, whose books helped me through some tough times and still have special meaning to me, passed away. I'm talking about David Eddings. He was one of my favorite fantasy authors. His wife, Leigh, collaborated on the books and she died a couple of years before he did. From what I've read of them, they were very close, so it doesn't surprise me that he didn't live very many years after she passed.

I recently came across an old article about his death that made me remember those beloved books, all of which still sit on my bookshelf. Once I started reading, I couldn't put the books down, and read the entire series (The Belgariad) in a matter of days, then I moved to the second series (The Malloreon) that continued where the first series left off. The author published 3 more books related to this world and I read those when they came out.

Over the years, I've reread the books or my favorite passages from them. Like the characters I create for my own books, these are family to me. Maybe a beloved aunt or uncle, but still family. It isn't very often other writers' characters touch me so much that I dream about them. But Aunt Pol, Garion, Grandfather and others from Eddings' world did, and still do once in a while. When I'm working through a tough problem, one of them might show up in a dream to help me out. Or someone here in the real world might say something that reminds me of one of those characters and makes me smile.

I hope my characters will mean something special to a reader, perhaps help them out when they're having a tough time and need an escape, become like family to them so that they want to keep and reread my books. That's why I write - so others can have an escape, a release, and just forget about the real world, even if it's only for a short while. That's my ultimate goal as a writer, and always has been. I don't care about teaching lessons or creating a masterpiece worthy of the Louvre. I just want people to get lost in my worlds and enjoy the ride, the way I still do with Eddings' books.

The world will always miss you David and Leigh, but know that you made a profound impression on at least one reader, and I'm sure many, many more.

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2009/06/david-eddings-1931-2009-in-memoriam 

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