I Love a Cliché…
Yes, I know, clichés are taboo for writers but I can’t help it, I love clichés. There’s just something about them that makes me smile. Still, as an author I try to curtail my tendency to use clichés but whenever I’m stuck for the right word or phrase, I just naturally start thinking clichés. As a result, my first drafts are often peppered with those trite, overused phrases that would have an editor slamming it down in disgust. If it made it past the acquisitions manager, that is.
Thank goodness no one but me actually sees any of my first drafts! Except…when I wrote my second book I indulged my love of clichés and I didn’t do much editing before I sent it in to the publisher. The book, Unwilling Angel, is a novella about a best-selling author who dies and goes to heaven only to be told by the Archangels that he has some atoning to do for things he did in life before he will be given his Personal Heaven. He’s made an “Apprentice Angel” and is sent back to earth to help a woman who’s struggling to deal with her husband’s unexpected death. Emma is an elementary school teacher who’s tired of teaching and would love nothing better than to become an author. She’s been working on a YA book ever since her husband died but she’s suffering from writer’s block and is depressed enough that she can’t see any point in going on living if she can’t break the block and finish the book.
Who better to help her than an angel who was a best-selling author in real life? Trouble is, Ted “Mac” McNabb isn’t happy about being “demoted” to a lowly Apprentice Angel and he’s a bit grumpy as a result. Mac also doesn’t like that since he died and went to Heaven he has an unfortunate tendency to pepper his speech with clichés. Being an author, clichés were something he tended to, in his words, avoid like the plague, but now that he’s an angel, those irritating clichés just keep popping out of his mouth.
Of all the books I’ve written, this one is my favorite. The opening scene of the book where Emma sees Mac for the first time actually happened to me when one of my favorite authors died back in 2005. The first scene in the book, it’s nearly identical to what happened to me.
So, who’s up for a little mini-contest? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me who the author Mac is based on. One person will win a free e-book copy of Unwilling Angel. A few clues to point you in the right direction:
He wrote under seven different pseudonyms and his real name was Salvatore Lombino.
He’s known for practically inventing the “Police Procedural.”
He has one series that ran an astounding 55 books and another that has thirteen—and that’s not counting all the books he wrote under his other pseudonyms.
One of his pseudonyms was the inspiration for my own and the name I gave my character in Unwilling Angel, Ted McNabb is very similar to his most famous pseudonym.