Monday, May 18, 2009

Do opposites attract?

Jensen Eccles of Supernatural fame is the actor most like Chase McCann, the hero of my next book.
Now I don't mean the brooding tortured soul part of Jensen, but the easy-going rascal aspects.
My heroine, Sylvie Stark, reminds me of a young Cameron Diaz, with long curly hair, who's wound a bit tight and way too serious about EVERYthing. Sylvie is all career, all the time, absolutely dependable and utterly responsible. Chase, well, not so much. But he knows how to enjoy the moment like nobody else.
As I tell their story, they both have some rubbing-off to do. Uh-oh, now where is your mind? I MEANT their personalities. They have plenty of those sparks going on already.
Sylvie needs to loosen up a little in both work and her personal life and Chase needs to buckle down and commit himself in both work and love.
Oh, and there's a puppy who brings out Chase's sense of home and Sylvie's sense of fun, which works out handily for all three of them.
I've been thinking about compatiblity--hey, it's easier than working through the plot snag in the story I'm struggling with.
My husband and I have differences. I'm kinda Sylvie-ish and he's pretty Chase, but we make it work. In fact, our differences strengthen our relationship.
Is that always the case though? Do you think opposites in personality spice up a relationship or doom it to failure? Does it matter what those differences are? What are the must-haves in couple compatibility?
Oh, and, while we're on the subject of Supernatural, what did you think of the season finale closer??? Don't get me started....
Dawn Atkins

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It's All at the Mall

What questions are you dying to ask about shopping malls? This afternoon, I'll be interviewing my friendly, neighborhood mall manager as part of the research on upcoming book with the working title, A HOME FOR CHRISTMAS.

The original title was MALL GIRL and it opened with the line, "It's all at the mall for Sylvie Stark," who was a devoted gift-wrapper at a department store.

The story has morphed into a romance with a mystery set in the Starlight Desert Mall just before Black Friday. Sylvie is the interim manager, so she's come up in the fictional world.

Anyway, I can't wait to get the skinny on a day in the life of a mall manager. Also, I've deep into THE CALL OF THE MALL by a guy who spends every working hour studying malls and retail stores and how and why people buy what they do.

Did you know the reason covered malls are so ugly and nondescript on the outside is because they're built by property developers who own them, not by the stores. "A blank wall with a mouse hole" is how a mall architect describes it.

So throw out your questions and I'll ask them this afternoon!

Here's the book, by the way:

Atkins, who's putting on her shopping shoes...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Daphne Atkeson w/a Dawn Atkins
Daphne Atkeson
w/a Dawn Atkins
is thinking about writer's voice after watching Vicky Christina Barcelona, a Woody Allen film. Every line that came from the actors, including Scarlett Johansen, Javier Bardem (that gorgeous Spanish actor who played the snake-eyed murderous psychopath in NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN and here is a romantic and fiery Spanish painter), and Penelope Cruz sounded like Woody Allen and his usual hapless love interests, even in Spanish.

I could close my eyes and be listening to Annie Hall, Hannah and her Sisters, Crimes and Misdemeanors as easily as the new film. There were the same neurotic repetitions, the angst, the emotional twists and turns. I'm not just talking the usual Allen themes of fidelity, romantic v. practical love, fantasy, unrequited love and existential longing, but the actual words and inflections felt the same.

Voice is supposed to be consistent in everything from the story an author chooses to tell to the syntax she uses, but it's startlingly true in Woody Allen's movies.

Sometimes this consistency ends up being boring--the writer begins to produce works that seem pale imitations of earlier successes--but other times there remains new turns and twists, new windows into the world view so there is consistency and freshness at the same time. What writer voices are most vivid to you? Chameleon-like? What did you think of this film?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

WANTED: The Perfect Dog for a Life Lesson

I need a dog...BAD. Not for me--our tabby pretty much rules the home front at the moment, though we do love dogs, too.

What I need is a puppy for my hero, Chase McMann, to give my heroine, Sylvie Stark, as a surprise gift. She won't like it at first--she's scared of commitment--but she comes around eventually.

Deep inside, Sylvie believes she has to earn every bit of love and affection she gets in life. She was left at seven with her grandparents by a young, flaky mother, so she spends her life working hard, being the best she can be.

Chase, meanwhile, is easy-going and flexible and assumes everyone will love and forgive him--and they do--he's a mischievous charmer. Of course, that's what this dog is all about--a canine embodiment of what Chase will be in Sylvie's life. The dog will teach her to to kick back, have fun, be flexible, get into trouble but charm her way out of it.

What do you think? Can you recommend the perfect dog to help my character find her true heart and get in touch with all the love she has to give?

So far this King Charles Cavalier is working for me, but I'm not sure he's perfect. These spaniels are loving, not yappy, friendly, behaviorably manageable, affectionate, devoted, almost a lap dog, but not sickeningly so, and smart.

What are your thoughts for my character and your own idea of the perfect dog?
I need a dog...BAD. Not for me

Saturday, May 2, 2009

prize-winning dead mall
prize-winning dead mall
The book I'm working on focuses on saving a small, quirky shopping mall. Doing research, I've been intrigued by all the reports of malls going down in flames. There's even a website,, where they show photos and report on dead or dying malls. Are malls dying, do you think? Bear in mind, I'm not a shopper, so this is way out of my realm. I shop with friends who are pros at it and my sisters, who rock at shopping zen. What first drew you to the mall? Now what does it? Malls reflect culture, right? What's Life Beyond Malls like, do you think?
Dawn Atkins

Friday, May 1, 2009

Willpower and Wishes

I really regret eating the piece of Butterfinger cream pie I saved for my son. It was late at night, I took the cat to her sleeping area, was nearly asleep, then peeled off to the fridge to pull it out and wolf it down. I was almost asleep! Where is my willpower? I need it now facing a new story and its first draft, always stressful, always a challenge.
As I've gotten older, my ability to call up the strength to do something difficult seems to ebb and flow. I need some willpower tricks. I've made lists, but, somehow, when the chips are down, it's blood-sweating agony to push past the temptations.
What about you? What willpower tricks have you come up with?
Help me...I'm desperate...must resist homemade pirogi...
Dawn Atkins