Please join the Chicks in welcoming Nora Page, author of the Bookmobile Mysteries!
I Am Not My Main Character (although we might have a few things in common)
Hi, everyone. Thanks so much for inviting me, Chicks! I’m thrilled to be here!
Before I get going, I owe a Chick an apology. Recently—during a buffet lunch, no less—I accused Chick Cynthia Kuhn of being smart, kind, a lovely friend, a college English professor, and thus the embodiment of her protagonist, Lila Maclean.
Cynthia politely protested that she hadn’t thought of Lila that way. She and Lila were different, she said. Totally different people.
Nope! Another lady at the table joined in. We weren’t having it. We barreled on with more compliments. Real-life Cynthia and fictional Lila are both all kinds of nice and clever and have the same job and are therefore one and the same.
I am so sorry, Cynthia. I should know better. Getting accused of being my characters is a bit of a personal pet peeve.
Before the Bookmobile Mysteries, I wrote another cozy series, the Santa Fe Café Mysteries as Ann Myers. My husband’s friend read the books and said kind things, which was very nice. However, he was also slightly confused.
“I didn’t know that about Ann,” he confided to my husband, surprised by something my character had done. He assumed my character’s traits and thoughts would be mine too.
I forget what the “that” was so it couldn’t have been too important. This was a cozy, so it surely wasn’t anything scandalous. I do remember feeling irked. How could he think I’d written myself?
To be fair, my protagonist and I did share some characteristics. We both liked libraries, books, cooking, and cats. A lot of people do. She was an introvert who couldn’t knit or dance. Okay, that’s me too. The friend, a host of dance parties I quietly dreaded, probably noticed the dancing bit too, but still, my protagonist wasn’t me. Again, I apologize to Cynthia.
I sometimes wonder if this happens to authors in other genres. I recently read a fabulous historical horror novel with supernatural cannibalistic undertones. Oh, it got me fantasizing! Not about cannibalism, but about writing something so skin-crawlingly creepy. What would friends say? That they didn’t know that about me? Maybe they’d back off on the dance pressures.
It’s a delicious thought, but irrelevant. Supernatural, serial-killer, or cozy, the characters in my books will never be me, even if we might share some things in common. I’m too boring, for one thing.
In the Bookmobile Mysteries my main character leads an exciting life. At seventy-five, librarian Cleo Watkins drives a school-bus bookmobile, often at high speed. She has a feline sidekick named Rhett Butler, and together they roll into trouble, including murder.
Neither age nor danger can slow down Cleo. When people she loves are in trouble, she steps in and starts sleuthing. Cleo believes that good librarians and detectives share a lot in common. They sift through information, they catalog the truth, and they’re good readers of clues and people.
Me? I’d happily bake biscuits with Cleo or join her for sweet tea and a good book on her front porch. I’d definitely visit her bookmobile. But if a killer was running around town? I’d stay in the bookmobile with the doors locked. Heck, I wouldn’t even leave the house! It’s a good thing I’m not Cleo.
Nora Page enjoys rainy weather, the perfect biscuit, and quiet evenings in with her husband and cat. You can often find her in the company of books.
Better Off Read, the first Bookmobile Mystery, is available for order from your favorite local bookstore or online at