Developing The Claude Character

Dear Priscilla Bennett Friends,

I hope you enjoyed the holiday weekend and are getting ready to celebrate our Independence Day tomorrow. Harry’s outside cleaning the grill for our family cookout, and I just finished giving Reilly a bath in our kitchen sink. I use baby shampoo. He stares up at me with his big brown eyes and always shakes the water everywhere before I wrap him in a towel and place him on the counter top for the final stage—blow dry, brushing and treats—he gives unconditional love like my babies and grandbabies.

Writing the book was, in some ways, similar to pregnancy and giving birth—all the changes, different stages and development—the process and hard labor. The next character I began to work on was Claude. Who did I want him to be in relation to the Katie character? How could I best expose this issue of abuse given my nursing background and what I knew? I am a big list maker, and I began writing down thoughts. I decided to make him a surgeon—I had worked with the best. I wanted him to be older, successful, handsome and confident. I wanted to emphasize his charm and mystery, so I decided to make him foreign and turned him into a Frenchman. From there, I had to figure out how Katie and Claude were going to meet—a new thought flashed—connect Claude to Katie’s father who, I had decided, was an internationally famous surgeon. Yes, Claude could come to Boston to do a special surgical fellowship for a year with Katie’s father, and he would introduce Claude to Katie as the man he wanted her to marry. By marrying Claude, Katie would please her parents and get her independence from them and have the perfect family she always wanted. This was the beginning of the Claude character with lots of scribbles, scratch outs and crumpled paper.

Thank you, my Priscilla Bennett Friends, for listening and for all your support. Please visit my website at and read this blog, make a comment, write your own story and get helpful information. Remember the Priscilla Bennett Pledge to help someone by starting a conversation, giving a kind word in the grocery store or parking lot—a touch on the shoulder. We all have SOMETHING TO BE BRAVE FOR.

Take good care of yourselves,