Saturday, July 13, 2013

YMCA Swim Coach by Day....

Our feature today is Something Rich and Strange by Helen Louise Caroll. In this tale Maxfield Stanton has a secret. He’s not just the swim instructor at the YMCA. He’s actually Poseidon, the Greek god of the seas and earthquakes.  Poseidon wasn't Caroll's first choice as a main character  "When I initially imagined the story, I had a different god in mind - Eros's brother Anteros, the god of unrequited love.  When I went to write the opening scene, there I was in the Y with Poseidon telling everyone to get out of the pool.  As I kept writing, I realized he was the perfect character to use for this particular story.  His connection with the sea and its changeable nature made him a natural for a story about a person in flux." Poseidon is indeed "in flux" in this tale because he is fading from existence just as other Olympians have from the beginning of time. 

On his last night on earth he wants to have one last fling. Posiedon chooses Greg Turner.  Turner isn’t the traditional dream man. He’s quiet, shy, and has a little pot-belly and love handles. But he’s there when Poseidon needs him, and now the god of earthquakes is about to find his world rocked. Caroll hopes that readers  of this story realize " that life is full of second chances.  Both my heroes, Poseidon and Greg learn this at different points in the story.  Considering how long he's lived, you would have thought Poseidon would have picked up on this before, but, well, as one of the Fates suggests, he's not the sharpest tool in the shed."

Caroll is a self professed reading junkie who also has been known to lift a crochet hook. She has been
writing books since 4th grade. Her sixth grade English teacher said one day her classmates would see her name on a book, the rest has been history. She  jots down the lines to her novels anywhere and everywhere, " Well, I've written down lines in parking lots while waiting for friends to arrive for dinner and while on lunch break - eating my pbj with one hand and writing with the other.  But my favorite place to write is sitting in my big rocker-recliner in my living room, with a CD playing through the TV." It took Caroll only 3 weeks to write Something Rich and Strange despite her day job and family obligations.  Caroll reflects: " It was one of the easier ones I've written.  I didn't have to do a lot of changing of the plot or details as I went on.  If you'll pardon the water based pun, the writing really flowed."

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