Julia Seedorf, author of Weed Lake, a Fuchsia/Brilliant, MN crossover, is visiting Ascroft, eh? today to tell us about using appropriate language in her mysteries.
Welcome, Julie. I’ll turn the floor over to you –
Weed Lake was ready to go. It was almost at the print point. My beta readers read the book, my editor scanned over it, and I thought I finally was going to leave it in the hands of the publishing gurus and then…. whoops. It was my daughter that caught my mistake. I had used an inappropriate phrase.
It wasn’t an intentional slight. It was a mistake of age. Let’s face it, I’m old and things weren’t always so politically correct. In fact, when I grew up things that now mean one thing in our world were innocent words meant exactly what they were named for. It wasn’t a slight to a person at that time, but it was a name for an object, an animal, a natural wonder in the sky.
When I wrote the inappropriate phrase it had no social content except a phrase to describe a period of time in Granny’s world. In my old mind I would never attribute it to what is now offensive to people. I removed the phrase. I did understand after having a conversation with my daughter why it would be offensive to certain people. Probably in the back of mind I knew it might be a contentious phrase but there was no mistaking the way it was used in my sentence, that it could be taken out of context. As my fingers flew over the keyboard it never entered my mind. I would guess since my beta readers didn’t see it either, that their minds didn’t register the oops. Back in the day we weren’t so aware because we didn’t have the media we have today, so we just didn’t know. When I grew up it might have had the meaning it is now associated with, but again, if it happened elsewhere in the country, as a young child I wouldn’t have learned about it. Now we have no excuse but to learn and do better.
As a writer, I am aware that our world is changing, becoming more compassionate for others and more correct. It’s a learning experience for us oldsters. I feel we have an obligation to get it right because our reader’s matter. We can push it aside and say it’s crazy stupid that we need to be so aware, or that people are too sensitive, and in some cases that might be true, but we owe it to those who have been marginalized to pay attention.
I’m blonde or was before gray set in, but I loved blonde jokes, they didn’t bother me, but to one of my friends they did. I made sure blonde jokes were not said in her presence so as to not offend her. To her they were hurtful. To me they made me laugh because I knew I wasn’t that person, so they didn’t hurt me. They were just a fun joke. Sometimes we don’t see the hurt in what we say or do because it doesn’t touch us.
Cozy mysteries are fun, mild, and try to bring a little quiet to our loud world. They take people away from the noise and give them, hopefully, a feel-good moment. That’s why as a cozy author I need to get it right. The phrase is gone, I will try and be more aware because I want all of my readers to have that feeling the book is for them, no exclusions.
Thank you for visiting today, Julie, and good luck with Weed Lake, a Fuchsia/Brilliant, MN crossover.
The novel is available online at the following retailers:
About Julie Seedorf: Julie grew up in Southern Minnesota, attending grade school and high school in a small community. She learned the value of small-town life and small-town relationships. Still living in rural Minnesota, she cherishes the beauty of the changing seasons and the various landscapes the state offers. Through the years, she has worn many hats. Her favorite was activity director in a nursing home and finally computer repair and sales, eventually earning her own business before retiring to write and enjoy life.
She is a wife and proud mother of two boys and one daughter, along with four grandchildren. Being a mom and grandmother is her favorite career. Julie feels no other job can hold a candle to raising up a child in the way they should go. Remember the poem? Watching the world through a child’s eyes and seeing them light up with wonder takes us to the beauty of simple things we sometimes lose as an adult.
Julie has four-book series. Granny’s In Trouble, Fuchsia, MN, Brilliant, MN, and the Whistle Stop Series. She likes to write light mysteries occasionally bordering on silly and fantasy because she believes we need to take ourselves out of the real world for a space of time to laugh and relax.