Jessica L. Webb blogs:
It’s possible I’ve become too comfortable making excuses. Why I’m not writing all the books in my head, why it took me so long to pursue publishing, why I still sometimes blush when I talk about my writing. I have answers and excuses all lined up and ready.
All three of the Dr. Kate Morrison Thriller series books were published within the span of a year. I often feel the need to explain that I had completed all three manuscripts before I approached Bold Strokes Books. It took me years to find the courage to submit my work to agents and publishers, get rejected, and try again. So I apologize and explain, I resize the optics of my perceived prolific writing. I manage expectations. I try to find the balance of pride and modesty.
One of the many reasons I think I felt comfortable writing from Kate’s perspective in books one and two of the Dr. Kate Morrison Thriller series, is that Kate considers these perspectives as well. She doesn’t let other people’s expectations alter her course but she is aware of them. She is hard on herself about her decisions, she carries the weight of regrets. Finding balance doesn’t come easy to Kate.
Writing Troop 18, the last in the series, I knew I wanted to write from Andy’s point of view. I’d spent time in her head as I wrote the first two books, but it’s not quite the same as seeing the entire story, beginning to end, solely from her perspective. Andy is many things—strong, capable, loving, and loyal—but she is also utterly unapologetic. She makes no excuses for her sexuality, her work ethic, how intimidating other people find her. It was a unique experience for me to write someone who was so damn certain of themselves all the time. Maybe that’s why I connected with her so strongly in book three. Andy is struggling with doubt, clearly a state she is unfamiliar with. Her doubt makes her feel weak and uncomfortable. But I’m familiar with the discomfort of imbalance. Many of us are. Maybe it’s where we all connect.
As Andy works through a case involving a secretive troop of cadets from her former RCMP training academy, we learn a lot about Andy’s history and her outlook. Her undeniable love for Kate was a joy to write. Her reflection on how she can best love and support such a complex and sometimes self-destructive woman was both heartbreaking and hopeful. In the end, it’s Andy’s certainty in her unconventional approach to the delinquent troop that allows the truth to surface. And it’s her certainty in her love for Kate, exactly as she is, that heals them both.
I continue to ride the waves of uncertainty. I am learning to swallow excuses and accept praise for the gift that it is. And I’m thankful there are characters in my head that allow me the time and space to live an imagined life full of certainty.