Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Meet Lydia, the Boisterous Cook of O'Keefe Manor

In The Disappearance of Simon Archer I wanted characters people could identify with. You know...a character or two who remind you of someone you know or perhaps even yourself; however, some needed to be eccentric, a bit off the wall, yet lovable. Enter Lydia, the non-Irish Irish wannabe.

Lydia is the boisterous cook of O'Keefe Manor. Hired by the house manager while Augusta and Reginald were still on their honeymoon trip to San Francisco, Lydia took over the kitchen early on in her employment, intimidating most of the staff so badly they avoided her at all cost. All the other employees did their work and stayed out of her way, knowing better than to do anything that might offend her, basically doing whatever she asked. Is it because she's a supervisor? Nope. How about seniority? No again. All the employees were on equal footing with seniority having been hired around the same time.

The thing she held over everybody's head was quite simple really. If they didn't stay out of her way, they didn't get fed. And from the onset of her employment, the agreement she made with her employers was that she would be the cook not only for the family, but the staff as well.

Lydia loved all things Irish. She fantasized about making a crossing to the Emerald Isle where she would meet the man of her dreams who would inevitably sweep her off her feet, taking her to his castle, complete with his very on loch, mind you, and teaching her the ways of the Irish people. She spoke with a faux Irish brogue, took the time to learn their most common phrasings, spent most of her time off in the local library studying Irish history and culture and would have moved heaven and earth if it meant she could become Irish. 

Augusta was mystified by Lydia, asking her time and time again if she was  certain there was  no Irish lineage. Lydia loved Augusta and there was nothing she wouldn't have done to ensure her happiness or her safety.

As Augusta's marriage suffered because of her husband's "imaginary friend" and incredible mood swings, Lydia was the first to ask if there was any family history of mental illness. Her younger brother grew up with a boy, who in his late teens began to have discussions with a friend named Henry. There was no Henry; there was no imaginary friend. The young man was committed to an asylum, which tore his family unit apart.

Struggling an internal battle over whether or not to tell Augusta the story, she finally decided it was better than allowing Augusta to live in a world of denial where Reginald was concerned. To Lydia's relief, Augusta was receptive to the idea of mental illness, having spent a great deal of private time tossing the idea around in her head and not knowing exactly what to do about her suspicions.

The two women form a bond, Lydia promising to stand by Augusta no matter what despite her conflicted feelings about Reginald. She felt sorry for him, stating he reminded her of a little boy who felt unloved and unwanted, simply acting out inappropriately. The only difference, she stated, was that as a grown man about to become a father, he needed to do everything in his power to assure his family's safety and well-being.

Lydia will be one of your favorite characters in this book, which is nearing publication. I apologize for the delay. It is of my doing. When I broke my foot, I simply didn't feel well enough to complete the rewrites. Without promising anything I cannot deliver, I intend to have the final rewrite to the publisher by the end of October.

I can't wait for you to read all about Lydia and enjoy getting to know her as much as I enjoyed creating her quirky character.

By the way....the photo I added has absolutely nothing to do with the blog for today....but I had to share it! These are two doe sisters who hang out in my front yard, who are grooming one another. Sweet, huh? They are named Molly Brown and Not Molly.

Molly Brown was the first deer I had the pleasure of meeting in my yard. She has a hole in one ear, much like a piercing. Not Molly, her sister, has the biggest head and ears I've ever seen on any deer. They are like friends and visit me almost everyday.

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