Sunday, January 12, 2014

One Character - Two Views by Mary Jane and Victoria Maffini aka Victoria Abbott



Pen M won the Walter the Pug tote.



That shadowy figure known as Victoria Abbott is a collaboration between the always very funny and creative artist, photographer and short story author, Victoria Maffini and her mother, Mary Jane Maffini, award-winning author of three mystery series and two dozen short stories. Their first book in the series, The Christie Curse, has received excellent reviews and the second, The Sayers Swindle, hit the shelves in December. They are hard at work on the third installment: The Wolfe Widow(September 2014) and haven’t killed each other yet.

You can keep up with their characters on the thirtieth of the month over at www.killercharacters.comand their culinary adventures at www.mysteryloverskitchen.comor by signing up for their newsletter at www.victoria-abbott.com or www.maryjanemaffini.com. MJ also blogs at www.cozychicksblog.com





























One character – two views

By Mary Jane and Victoria Maffini

                First let us say how glad we are to visit Meanderings and Muses today. Thanks so much, Kaye, for inviting us. Now, we’ll segue into our little ‘situation’. Perhaps you can help us out.






                We are at the end of book three in the book collector mysteries, our mother-daughter collaboration using the name Victoria Abbott.  With The Christie Curse and The Sayers Swindle already on the shelves and doing well, you’d think we really knew what we were doing. People keep asking us about our process.  They want to know how we write together.  We try not to stare at them blankly or to make things up, such as, an alien told us what to write or we write in our sleep. The truth is that we’re not entirely sure how it all comes together, as we seem to be using different approaches in each book. Still we usually sing from the same hymn book. We talk, we plot, we discuss.  Sometimes we compromise.  We love what we’ve created with our young protagonist, Jordan Bingham, a grad student and the first person in her very large family to go straight. We agree on everything about her curmudgeonly employer, Vera Van Alst, the most hated woman in Harrison Falls, NY. We cherish the world of book collecting we’ve created for them, the stately old home and the quirky folks who inhabit it. We both love the classics from The Golden Age of Detection (Christie, Sayers, and Stout) that we draw on for our stories. We are equally fond of Walter the Pug and Cobain the whatever.



                However, every now and then, we realize that Victoria Abbott is not a single entity and we can have very different views of the same character.

                This came to our attention when we were reworking a scene in The Wolfe Widow (book three) just as Jordan saw her Uncle Kev show up bringing chaos and danger in his wake, as he so often does.

                One of us added ‘his pudgy face’ to the narrative. 

                The other gasped. “Pudgy? What pudgy? He has cheekbones that could cut glass and he has a chiseled jaw.”

                “Pudgy.”

                “Chiseled.”

                “No, listen to me, definitely pudgy.”

                “What? Pudgy? This is the man that all women seem to fall for despite the fact he’s a disaster in the making. Only chiseled could explain that.”

                “I’m pretty sure his face is pudgy. Nothing’s going to change my mind.”

                “Seriously, Victoria?”

                “Really, Mum, really?

                And so it went.

                The thing is, neither of us owns Uncle Kev or any of the other characters in the series. Nor does either one have the right to tell the other what to do, write or think.  Occasionally, the mother finds this a bit hard, but never mind.

                So what did we do?

                We considered possibilities: pudgy in one book and chiseled in the next? Pudgy on one side and chiseled on the other? Pudgy cheeks, chiseled chin? Obviously, no solutions there.

                It was a bit tricky as Uncle Kev had already appeared (and caused quite a bit of trouble) in The Sayers Swindle. Was he pudgy or chiseled?  We’d have to go with whatever we’d said, despite our different visions and memories of Kev. Apparently, there was a bit of pudginess and some chiseled as well in The Sayers Swindle, but neither was connected to Kev’s face.

                At least we agreed on the ginger hair and wild eyebrows that all the Kellys attribute to their Viking ancestor, Olaf, who washed up in Dublin sometime in the ninth century and made his own kind of trouble. But we digress.  

                So, now we have to decide. And soon.

                How about you?  Given Kev’s appeal— his ginger hair and wild eyebrows, not to mention the frenetic disposition and attention deficit thingie—which would you vote for?

                We may need you to break the tie.  Or we could just see who does the ultimate set of edits …

                Of course, you’ll have to wait until September to find out. Maybe we will too.

In the meantime, leave a comment here and we’ll put your name in the draw for a Walter the Pug tote bag.  At least we all agree on Walter.


                If you had fun with us today, please visit us at www.victoria-abbott.com or www.maryjanemaffini.ca to sign up for our newsletter!

Note:  COMMENT MODERATION SETTINGS HAVE BEEN ACTIVATED DUE TO SPAM AND ROBO COMMENTERS - MY APOLOGIES FOR THE INCONVENIENCE

29 comments:

Kaye Barley said...

MJ and Victoria, you two are a DELIGHT! Always a total delight. Thanks for being here again. I loved The Christie Curse, and The Sayers Swindle and cannot wait for The Wolfe Widow. And I love Walter to the moon and back!

Anonymous said...

I love this series so beautifully and interesting. Keeps me guessing until the end. That picture of M.J. & Victoria at each others throats gives more insight to the fun instore for me the reader.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Love the hands around the throats. As a reader I love the series. As a writer who doesn't have a writing partner, is it strange that I have those "chiseled vs pudgy" arguments with myself? LOL

April Schilling said...

I love the series! How about going with he's stoutly built? I know that doesn't really help with his facial features but, maybe it could point y'all in a word that you both like more than either pudgy or chiseled. :D

Anonymous said...

Do you HAVE to describe his cheeks at all? Maybe there are readers on each side. :) Or how about ruddy? That goes with the hair and eyebrows.
Loved THE CHRISTIE CURSE & hope to read TGE SAYERS SWINDLE soon. Looking forward to the next, too, no matter what you do with the uncle. :D

Pen M
pmettert@yahoo.com

Terry Shames said...

I loved this post! Especially the great pictures. I'm not even going there with breaking the tie. You two will come up with something good.

JJM said...

Simple solution, really. A chiseled face gone to pudge. You can still see what he looked like in his younger years (and, obviously, so can the women who are falling for him), but ... well, he could stand to lose a pound here or there.--Mario R.

Darlene said...

I love all of your books and you are a series saver!! I think you could say he has princely plump jowls!!!LOL

Patty said...

While I love to read I have no writing ability so any time I get a chance to peek into a writer(s) life and process I have a lot of fun. Looking forward to more writing, by both of you!

Libby Dodd said...

Hm, pudgy or chiseled? Given the Irish background, I'm leaning towards a bit of a leprechaun roundness. Of course, whatever you (two) come up with will be wonderful, just like the rest of the book!
By the way, the savory cheddar shortbread recipe from Mystery Lovers Kitchen is a major hit at my house! My husband says it's in the top 10 of tasties.

Donna E said...

I liked JJM's response " A chiseled face gone to pudge. You can still see what he looked like in his younger years (and, obviously, so can the women who are falling for him), but ... well, he could stand to lose a pound here or there. "

I typically would go with pudgy simply because I'm pudgy. And I'm not sure 'ginger' goes with 'chiseled'. But I'm quite sure you ladies will figure it out and it will be quite right!

G said...

I'd say pudgy - giving him a boyish countenance that charms the ladies and gets him out of scrapes. I've enjoyed the last two books and can't wait for the next.

keizerfire said...

So fun to read, and oh my goodness, a new to me "author combo", since I haven't read Victoria Abbott, although I've definitely read Mary Jane! thanks for stopping by Meanderings and Muses!

Anonymous said...

With ginger hair I would say he has to be a bit pudgy in the face. How old is he? Maybe he could have had chiseled features when young but as he got older, the pudginess started.

Debbie S said...

Hmm, I have to agree with a couple other people here, with the Irish red hair, I have to go with pudgy. I love the picture, it reminds me of home...what's that say about me? LOL

Debbie S said...

Not sure if the last one went through, sorry if this shows twice. I agree with a couple other people here with the Irish red hair, I say pudgy. I love the picture, it reminds me of home...what's that say about me? LOL

Barbara T. said...

Pudgy. Not all characters need to be handsome. Not that pudgy is ugly.

Linda Rima said...

What a delightful blog post! Love this series! Looking forward to the 3rd adventure! Thanks for opportunity to win a tote!

Nancy said...

I think I'd rather skirt around the pudgy versus chiseled issue. Keep 'em guessing. I love the series!

Nancy said...

Love the series! I think I prefer skirting the issue of pudgy cheeks versus chiseled. Keep them guessing.

Dru said...

I don't think Kev is pudgy.

Katreader said...

What a fun post. I have the first 2 books of this series...but they're still on my massive TBR pile. Thus I can't give a true answer to your dilemma. I do like the replies of JJM and Donna E.

Cynthia Hogue said...

I wish I could give an opinion but you are on my TBR list...I have just moved you up to the top!

yumikid said...

All the hot Irish guys I know have pleasant, rounded features - a boyish face. That's why they get what they want!

Janet Morrissey said...

I really did laugh out loud at this! And I love this series.

I have to go to the chiseled side, myself since that's how I saw him when I was reading The Sayers Swindle.

Melody Gonser said...

I can appreciate the quandary you find yourselves in. Often I get an idea of what someone looks like and I tend to stand firm.
When I read of the ginger hair I don't think of chiseled features. He could have that young, rounded face. Maybe he could show that slightly worn jowly look. Or slightly dissipated. Women seem drawn to the handsome, young forever, look.

Melody Gonser said...

I can appreciate the quandary you find yourselves in. Often I get an idea of what someone looks like and I tend to stand firm.
When I read of the ginger hair I don't think of chiseled features. He could have that young, rounded face. Maybe he could show that slightly worn jowly look. Or slightly dissipated. Women seem drawn to the handsome, young forever, look.

Maryanne Birch said...

Can you be vague or do you need a really strong description. I like it when I have to decide what a character looks like. I hope you figure it out soon. Good luck.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thanks everyone for the comments. Very informative and amusing! So grateful!

Pen M won the Walter the Pug tote.

Thanks, Kaye, for inviting us.

XOXO

MJ