coffee mug

Authors’ revenge. The Joke’s on you!

If you are an author of fiction, somewhere along the line someone will give you a mug or a t-shirt plastered with a warning that goes something like this one: Be careful, or you’ll end up in my novel. Call them gag gifts if you like, but I’m proud to say that my novels are full of characters from my past who weren’t careful. Read them all to see if I included you.

            One of them was my high school chemistry teacher. If you sat through his class with me in the sixties, you couldn’t ignore the resemblance between our teacher and this book’s villain, Mr. Györfi. Both were smart and terrifying and egomaniacs, but they forced us to think. And, like the young boys’ tutor, our chemistry teacher often flailed his arms to make his points more memorable, which is why that after all these years, I’m confident that I could pass his final exam.

            One day he departed from speaking about valences and carbon chains and gave us a lecture on the subject of Louis Pasteur’s famous quote, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” We’d never seen him so animated, as he danced around the room promising that we would never hear a more valuable lecture from anyone in our lifetimes. The young royals react the same way when Györfi presents that same lecture to the boys and makes that same guarantee.

            And my teacher and Györfi were both right. Despite rolling my eyes from the back row at his nutty behavior, my teacher’s over-the-top presentation had secretly been searing Pasteur’s words into my hippocampus. In fact, I drew on that nugget of wisdom throughout my life and found that adhering to the aphorism was responsible for many of my successes.

            Giving credit where it’s due, I honored my teacher by making his lecture a recurring theme in Summer Lightning, Book 3 of my Magic at Myers Beach romance/fantasy series. So why did I cast him as the villain.

            Easy. Revenge. He gave me the one and only detention I ever received in high school–for forgetting to lock my lab drawer after class…once, and I never forgave him.