Meet the Real Lillian
My Aunt Lillian inspired my Lillian Dove Series. Estranged from my family --at the time, an addiction to alcohol was not understood as an illness— unfortunately, I never met her. When I asked my eldest sister who I was most like in our family, she said: “You always reminded me of Aunt Lillian. She was my favorite.”
Some religions claim a soul can be saved after it has passed over. With this philosophy in mind, I decided to name my protagonist after my aunt and give her sobriety.
HOWEVER: My Lillian Dove would be the first to tell you, giving up alcohol is much easier than taking on life sober. This mystery series is not about the struggle of giving up alcohol. The series is about taking on life as clear-headed as possible.
The Craft of Character: Before writing, especially a series, I think it is very important to know each character and their physical and emotional motives. I write an extensive write-up on each character. Below is merely a portion of what I have on Lillian. Yes, I do this for each book. I then write a log-line for the character.
Lillian June Dove, Bio: 36 years old, daughter of Ed and Dahlia Dove
Brothers: Frank (30) and Patrick (28)
Five years sober at beginning, 2014.
She was born to Dahlia late in life; Dahlia was 38.
Ed Dove, alcoholic. Never abusive. Routine was to pass out on front lawn no matter the season. Lillian remembers Dahlia waking her to help bring her father in from the elements, and to not seen by the city of New Liberty tongue-wagers.
At eighteen, Lillian ran away from home with Bill Cunningham to Davenport, who within days dumped her. She thought life would be better if she could get away from Dahlia.
She felt dumped-on again when her brother Frank found her and informed her Dahlia suffered two strokes. He had taken her to Oaks Manor Convalescent in Frytown, Iowa. And, it was now up to her to take care of their mother. He was done. He promised Lillian that Dahlia hadn’t more than a few years left to live. Lillian considers Frank a liar, tricking her since Dahlia, after five years, is still alive, and seems to be getting healthier in every book. Thus, causing more trauma in Lillian’s life.
Quiet, serious, sensitive and kind, Lillian does not like conflict and avoids doing things that will generate conflict; however, her life continues to put her in precarious situations. She is loyal and faithful. Private. Timid and prone to discouragement. She continually second-guesses herself or leaps into a situation without thinking of the possible consequences. She is socially uncomfortable. She is not interested in leading or controlling others. She longs for a stabilizing relationship. She admires Chief Charles Kaefring and would have entered a relationship with him except she found out he was married. Lillian may have had a problem with alcoholism, but her ethics are still intact. She is also surprised to find out a man like Charles would find an interest in her. She thinks Detective Leveque, Detective of Major Crimes, is also romantically interested. However, she sees him like other men she’s dated in the past: a player interested only in a physical relationship. The hardest emotional relationship for Lillian is with her mother, Dahlia. Dahlia seems to be the key for Lillian to grab hold of before she will be able to move on in life emotionally.
Lillian is not the type that quits. Once she decided on sobriety, she stayed sober. Now, she is determined to take on life in all is perplexity. However, she fears rejection in relationships, dislikes change, is indecisive at times, modest, and doubting.
In Let Her Go, the third of the Lillian Dove series: Days before Christmas, cold and snowing, Lillian spots a man injured in front of his home, and finds, too, his wife dead, his son critically injured, and his teenage daughter missing. As she becomes tied up in the case, she finds she must let go of clues she ill-perceives in order to solve the case and to accept her next personal truth.
LISTEN TO CHAPTER ONE OF LET HER GO, THE NEW LILLIAN DOVE DUE OUT END OF YEAR