Jennifer Gilby Roberts

Women's Fiction/Chick Lit Author

Mel and I: Complete Opposites. Sort Of.

on November 20, 2013

This was written as a guest post for This Chick Reads.

People tend to think that you are the character you write as.  I think it’s the same phenomenon where fans think that actors are the people they portray.  I hope that’s not the case, since the last character I played (I do amateur dramatics) was a sexually aggressive witch.  And before that I was a mentally ill woman living on the streets and feeling up sailors.  But anyway…

Mel Parker, the lead character in my first novel The Dr Pepper Prophecies, is not me.  We certainly have things in common – I don’t think I could write her if we didn’t – but we are absolutely not the same person.

We share a sense of humour, certainly.  Like Mel, I tend to be snarky (I just discovered this word and I love it) inside my head, but not out loud.  I certainly relate to her struggles to work out what she wants in life and how to get there.  To be honest, I still haven’t resolved this issue.  Instead I’ve neatly sidestepped it by becoming a stay-at-home mum.  My job now is to keep my toddler alive.  I realise that, if you don’t have one of your own, this may not sound like a full-time job.  Believe me, it is.  She firmly believes herself to be indestructible and has an internal radar that directs her straight towards trouble.

Fortunately, I don’t share Mel’s terminally bad luck.  That’s just in because it’s funny.  Plus it’s easy to write, because I just think of a scenario and then ask myself what could go wrong.  Pretty much all her trials come out of my slightly warped imagination.  Except the fermented hair spray – that actually happened.  Though luckily not on the way to a job interview.

I’m not as hard on men as she can be, although when I wrote the first draft I probably was.  Though unlike Mel, who’s had a string of lousy boyfriends, I just knew nothing about them (I was only 20 at the time).  I still don’t, since my husband cheerfully ignores everything I thought I knew about relationships.  Especially the ‘attraction fades after the first couple of years’ rule.  I swear that man will still be groping me on his death bed.

Where was I?  Oh yes, how unalike we are.  Well, I did work in an insurance office processing claims (and found it every bit as riveting as Mel does), although only as a temp.  I am addicted to chocolate, though my days of still maintaining a good figure seem to be over.  I’ve never tried matchmaking though.  Mostly because my romantic instincts are non-existent.  Unless someone comes up to me and goes ‘I fancy you’, I won’t know.  I’d be utterly useless as cupid.

So, in summary, we’re totally different people.  Except…


One response to “Mel and I: Complete Opposites. Sort Of.

  1. […] Mel and I: Complete Opposites.  Sort Of […]

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