Yesterday I had to visit our tax man, take him some documents. Sounds like a boring enough errand.
Unless you’re a novelist. Living my life, which tends to weird out every once in a while. Okay, more than once in a while.
So I arrive at Ron’s office. Haven’t seen him since last March, when we did our 2005 taxes. He comes out, limping badly.
“Ron, what on earth happened to you?”
He tells me the sad tale as we get settled. Last April he was on a ladder. Which slipped. Ron clung to the house gutter. Which gave way. He fell, shattering bones in his leg. He was in the hospital twelve days, in a cast six months. Now out of it for two months, but still limping. He hopes to fix the limp in time.
After commiserating with him, I said, “You know, I have a character in my current series just like you. He shattered his leg last April, was in a cast for months. Now he’s out, but he’s walking with a permanent limp. Let’s not let your limp be permanent, okay?”
Of course, although I didn't mention the character's name to Ron, I was talking about S-Man, my science fiction writer in the Kanner Lake Series. He’s called S-Man for his science fiction world—Sauria. Ever since S-Man had his accident, he’s turned to writing science fiction, sitting in Java Joint every day, madly typing on his manuscript. In book #1, (Violet Dawn), S-Man’s still in his cast. In book 2 (Coral Moon), coming out next April, readers will see him out of the cast but limping.
(By the way, many of you know that S-Man’s manuscript, Starfire, is the real manuscript of science fiction writer and BG Stuart Stockton. Stuart is blogging over at Scenes and Beans as S-Man—just one more way this series is blending fiction and reality. In fact, as you’ll note below, it just so happens that one of his posts is up today.)
After Ron and I are through with business, I chat with his receptionist on the way out. Knowing I’m a novelist, she asks me if I’ve seen the movie Stranger than Fiction. “Yup,” I tell her, “and I laughed in so many places. I loved the movie.” She and I chuckled about how the movie blended fiction and reality, and I bewailed the fact that I wished I’d thought of that plot first.
Finally out the door I go. Get in my car. Start to drive through the parking lot. I pass a BMW and for some unknown reason glance at the license plate. Which reads:
I hit the brake and gape at the plate. Wow. Never seen that before. How totally cool!
Then it dawns on me. The car’s sitting in a handicapped spot. Right next to the door near Ron’s office. And Ron’s last name starts with S.
I jerk my car into a parking place, jump out and run back inside Ron’s office, eyes wide. I’m spouting to the receptionist before the door even shuts behind me. “Okay, I know you’re gonna think I’m a crazy novelist. But that BMW outside with the S Man license plate. Is that Ron’s car?”
She gives me one of those you’re-acting-strange looks. It’s okay. I’m used to them. I just want the answer to my question.
Yes, it’s Ron’s car.
The Twilight Zone music plays in my head: neenie neenie, neenie neenie…
"Oh, my gosh! Oh!"
I trot back into Ron’s office, his receptionist on my heels, and tell him the news. The three of us do this we’re-totally-freaked dance.
I knew when I wrote Violet Dawn I would blend fiction and reality. S-Man’s Starfire is real. Simple Pleasures, the gift shop featured in the series, is a real store in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The fictional blog, Scenes and Beans, featured in the books, is also a real blog, with posts written that reflect the fictional events in the books.
But I never thought I’d cause a real S-Man to shatter his leg in April 2006.
Wasn’t it just yesterday I was saying every time I jog by a car, I'm afraid to glance inside for fear of seeing a body with its head covered in a green towel?...
Okay. Now I’m really freaked.