THEODORA WESTMACOTT, Grace Cassidy's friend and side-kick, thinks she's in charge of this Mystery Series. She insisted on interviewing me. I had intended to ask Grace Cassidy, lead character in my mystery THE INCONVENIENT CORPSE, to do the honors. However, before that (usually) calm and collected woman could so much as form a question, her quirky pal, Theodora Westmacott, just took over. Short, plump and sassy, this 60-something woman, who taught seventh graders for years and years, loves sticking her nose into other folks business. Especially Grace's.
“Grace is too busy just now, Jackie, but I’ll be happy to fill in for her. I’m well acquainted with your life in general, and will do my best to make you sound interesting. After all, who wants to hear about a woman who spends most of her time hunched over her keyboard in her pajamas? Let me be in charge, I often help out Grace in that way.”
“And it makes her madder than h...” I paused a minute to get control of myself. “Heck,” I finished.
“Oh well, she always gets over it, doesn’t she?” Theodora fluttered her heavily ringed fingers as she always does. (I think it’s to draw attention to the flamboyant nail polish she wears, which today is Passionate Pink.) The woman is so charming it's impossible to stay mad at her, but today I needed to show her who was boss of this series. So I kept arguing.
“You make me sound just awful, Theodora, and I'm not. Just yesterday I went to the ballet.”
“My point exactly, but I can see that I've made you angry. You always seem so sweet, and yet your temper often gets away from you. I’m afraid it’s that red hair, titian haired women are often neurotic, you know.”
By this time I was gritting my teeth and rolling my eyes. “Are there any more of my faults you’d like to voice abroad?” I made sure that my voice showed heavy sarcasm.
“Yes, you take all of the credit for the humor in your series and most of it comes straight out of my mouth. Your readers should be told that actually, you're a very dull WASP and that I'm responsible for my own smart-aleck remarks.”
“Theodora, this is a ridiculous conversation. You’re not even real. I conjured you up out of my imagination. I’ll admit that you’re a lovable character, but I’m the one who puts words into your mouth and walks you across the page!”
“Well we both know that’s not true,” Theodora snickered in a most lady-like way. “I’m always saying something that both surprises and shocks you. Be honest and admit that I’m the one in charge, and sometimes Grace. But right now, Grace is busy baking cookies for afternoon tea here at Wimberly Place, the loveliest bed and breakfast anyone has ever visited. And I don’t care if people do keep getting murdered on the premises.”
“God help me! Somewhere along the line my characters have all gotten out of my control.”
“Tch, tch, darling girl, no need for such drama, just relax and let me guide the conversation. I’ll make you look both sweet and interesting. We do want our readers to keep downloading your books, after all, the royalties paid for your dental implants this last summer.”
“That's enough, Theodora, it's tacky to talk about money. This conversation is already way too long and the only thing you’ve told our readers about me is that I had dental work.”
“Well, you whined enough about it last summer. Next post, if you’ll stop arguing with me, I’ll tell them how you came to write THE INCONVENIENT CORPSE.”
Urgh! Don't listen to Theodora. I promise that on my next post, Thursday March 8, I will hogtie Ms. T and be conversing with Grace Cassidy.