Wednesday, May 9, 2012
In Februrary, a week after I finished "The Gypsy Thief," I took a trip to Rhode Island to walk in the footsteps of my characters. I stayed with my dear friend, Dana, in her gorgeous home which used to have an ocean view until her numbnut neighbors across the street built a second story onto their house (I actually used this in "The Gypsy Thief" - the people across the street from Laura's house did the same thing...what is wrong with people?). Anyway, I went to Portsmouth High School (where the characters attend school) and drove alongside the polo fields and the wineries. I drove out to the maze (this is aMAZEing) and into Newport along Ocean Drive. I went to Brenton Point, Easton's Beach and Gooseberry Beach...all the places where my characters went...it was fun and somewhat surreal. The weather was spectacular and the light was freakishly beautiful--there was a crisp clarity to every scene. The ocean was stunning and I really didn't want to go back to reality. I lived in Rhode island when my two older kids were babies so I was familiar with the area...it truly is exquisite on Aquidneck Island.
Dana and I took a day trip up to Portland, Maine, to visit her daughter, Michelle, at college. Michelle is Laura's middle name and her physical appearance is modeled after Dana's Michelle--tall, willowy, long blonde hair and bright blue eyes. On the way back to Newport something strange happened. I will recount the story now and maybe someone out there can shed light on the meaning of this story:
It was late, and dark, and I was driving us back to Newport. As we were leaving Maine and heading into New Hampshire, we made a stop at a service plaza to go to the bathroom and get drinks and a little snack for the drive. Dana checked out first at the cash register while I picked out a drink and cookies (or something sweet to keep me awake for the long drive). Then I approached the check out counter. The boy who had waited on Dana had stepped away to straighten a display and when he saw that I was ready to check out he walked up to the cash register and said hello. He was young (maybe 19 or 20) and had dark hair and dark eyes--quite gorgeous actually. He was foreign (Portuguese I would guess because there is a large Portuguese population in New England). I happened to glance down at his nametag and when I saw his name, I froze. I felt my face change and he saw the change in my demeanor and wrongfully assumed that he had done something wrong. I tried to counter my abrupt change in attitude with nervous chatter (I'm so dang good at this...right, Jessica?) as I fiddled with counting out my money. I was flustered and to this day, I wish I had explained myself to Miguel. I was stunned to be looking into the face of the character I had created a few short weeks ago--same exact face and same name, too. Is it possible to conjure up a fictional character just by pure strength of will? Well, I thought I had done just that. Anyway, I paid for my stuff and stepped away. Dana had been watching and wondered what was up. I explained as we left the store. I looked back over my shoulder as we exited and caught Miguel's eye, and smiled. It was damned freaky and once in the car, I admit, I cried a little. It shook me up...Either I have one hell of an imagination or Fate is just playing tricks on me. So, the question is...coincidence?...or a sign from the universe?