Falling in Love with Myrtle Brubaker
A Guest Blog by Dylan Madrid
It happens with every novel. A few chapters in and I find myself falling in love with one of my characters. Typically, it’s a supporting character; someone who is so fascinating and intriguing, he or she threatens to take over the book.
This was the case with Myrtle Brubaker, a somewhat minor character in my novel Mind Fields. Myrtle is a tough-talking, sunflower seed-spitting cab driver in her sixties. “I love bourbon, a good horse race, and Nancy Sinatra,” she says to the main character Adam when they meet for the first time. To say she’s rough around the edges is an understatement. However, with each scene she appeared in it became more apparent to me that despite her tough exterior, she had a big heart.
I fell for Myrtle Brubaker. To me she was a seemingly simple woman with complex thoughts and ideas. Often, she was the voice of reason in the novel, giving usually unsolicited advice to Adam. She encouraged him to make the right choices and to trust his instincts. She was his Jiminy Cricket, his conscience.
My new novel, a romantic spy thriller titled Love in the Shadows, has just been released. While writing the book, I introduced a character into the story named Louisa Russo. At first glance, she appeared to be a plump, doting grandmother, serving as matchmaker of sorts by bringing the main character, Quintin, to meet the love of his life. But a deeper layer exists with Louisa as she’s actually an experienced spy, the grand matriarch of a family of undercover agents. While she only appears in a handful of scenes in the novel, I’m already planning to bring her back for the following two books in the trilogy.
I’m now in the process of writing a new novel, Backstrokes, a romance about a classical pianist and a lifeguard falling in love. Already, I am smitten with Penelope Ashford, the pot-smoking flute-playing prodigy whose sardonic personality serves as a great juxtaposition to the main characters constant optimism. The fact that Penelope is socially awkward, lacks a filter, and is a hippie at heart only makes her that much more endearing to me.
With every character I create, I feel an affinity for them grow deeper throughout the creative process. However, some such as Myrtle Brubaker, Louisa Russo, and Penelope Ashford, end up stealing my heart.
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Date of Publication: January 14, 2014
Number of pages: 192
Word Count: 50,000
Book Description:Quintin Pearson, an American living in London, has spent the last two years working as a magazine staff writer and nursing a broken heart. Craving a change in his quiet life, Quintin accepts an invitation to an exclusive party hosted by Regina Bremington, the U.S. ambassador’s glamorous wife. At the party, terror takes over when the electricity suddenly goes out and the ambassador is assassinated.
In the safety of a dark bedroom, Quintin meets a mysterious stranger named Luca, an Italian spy. Even though the two men can’t see each other, a spark is ignited that soon becomes a mutual lust. Within days, Luca arranges for them to meet again at a remote seaside town in Belgium. There, Luca confesses his true identity and convinces Quintin they must team up to bring the ambassador’s killer to justice.
Dylan Madrid is the author of the novels Mind Fields, Love in the Shadows, and Backstrokes. A California native, Dylan grew up in the Bay Area. He opted to backpack through seven countries before heading to college and spent a year living in Europe, primarily on the Greek island of Ios. When he's not dreaming about living on the Italian Riviera or running away to Belgium, Dylan teaches college courses in writing and the arts.