I am pleased to welcome Soul Mate author and editor Char Chaffin. She will be sharing her insights on tempting fate (or not) and chatting about her latest release, Jesse’s Girl.
Everybody knows what ‘tempting fate’ means. Change this, fix that. Remain stubborn when a certain path is the better way. Do your best to trod a different road even if it goes against every other instinct you might have.
“If I had it all to do over again, I’d do . . .” And then you start listing stuff that in reality probably wouldn’t have made a difference. Some call it fate, a kind of karma, a set journey; that no matter how you progressed in your life, nothing would alter certain truths. Up to a point, I agree.
Some of it is obvious: after all, that ‘left turn at Albuquerque’ made all the difference to Bugs Bunny. He lost his way to Pismo Beach (and all the clams he could eat) because he went right. Then again, he ended up in Aladdin’s Cave, dripping in diamonds and swimming in solid gold coins. Not too bad of an alternative for a wascally wabbit.
I was recently asked what I would change in my life if I could go back. It took but a moment to respond with, “Nothing.” Because sometimes the smallest changes mean everything.
In 1968, my widowed mother had the chance to move us to California. I was thrilled at the thought. At loose ends, we could technically live anywhere, and cousins on my father’s side wanted us to move to Anaheim to be near them. My older brothers were married and settled; nothing was really holding us in our little home town. My fourteen-year-old head was packed tightly with all the marvels of the “Golden State” ever since I’d first heard The Beach Boys and then The Mamas and the Papas sing about it. I had actually started packing up my room when she came to me with the sad news: we wouldn’t be leaving New York after all. It broke my heart. Well, at the time, that is. I mourned the loss of California for a lot of years, even after I met the most amazing man in the world, and married him.
Then, I got to thinking one day: what if? Sure, I believe in fate. But there are things even fate can’t necessarily beat against. If, at age fourteen I had moved to California, I wouldn’t have been in the right place at the right time, to meet the guy who changed my entire life. In this case, Fate wouldn’t have had an opportunity to intervene. Everything that came after would have been affected. Here’s why: I walked into a honky tonk bar, late in the evening, just as my future man was walking out. One minute later and I’d have missed him. But he saw me, decided he liked what he saw, chose to turn and walk back in, sit down and wait to see if I was meeting someone. Then he made his move on me. Boy, did he ever. ::le fond sigh::
None of that would have happened, even if Fate had found a way to wrangle me back to New York at that time in my life. Because I’d have returned an entirely different person and probably wouldn’t have walked into a honky tonk on a bet. And because he already had an off-again, on-again relationship going on, there’s every indication that had we not met, my love would have married someone else shortly after that night. It just so happened that we met when he was on the ‘off.’
The chances of me even going to that bar that night were ridiculously slim, too. The friend I was with wanted to go there, but I was tired and longed for home. She talked me into one more stop. Not only that, but I personally hated country music, so it took some convincing on her part to coax an, “Oh, all right” out of me.
Everything happens for a reason.
All the places my husband and I have lived, each small or big milestone or event, both good and bad, have led us to this very moment in our life together. They link tightly like the precious metal of a necklace; the “gold” of California that I never got to experience back when I was fourteen and about as sharp as a sack of wet mice. Alter a link, alter a path. Change an event, change it all.
So I stayed in New York and swung into a smoky bar in the fall of 1974, late at night. One dance and three months later, I married my guy, a military man. We lived a kind of nomadic existence until the day we ended up in the state where our daughter grew and flourished, then met her soul mate and settled happily. One tiny, small alteration in our plans along the way would have affected so much for her.
Most sobering of all: if I had moved to California, I wouldn’t have had her. Just thinking about it makes me shaky.
Therefore, when asked what I’d have changed if I’d been afforded the opportunity to go back and do anything over, my response was a loud, definitive, “NOTHING.” I wouldn’t change a single second. Not a breath.
Coincidentally, the question of tempting fate also came up when I was writing Jesse’s Girl, my latest release. The story of Tim and Dorothy hinged firmly on the events of a nightmarish time in their lives that changed everything. Tim has his moments of pondering, thinking that if only he’d never left town; if only he’d fought harder, that he’d have gotten his Dorothy a heck of a lot sooner. But that’s not really true, because Tim needed seven years away from Skitter Lake, and Dorothy wouldn’t have abandoned her mother, Jesse’s parents, or his memory. Seven years had to happen just as it did, for everything else to align into the platform that brought Tim back to town, ready to fight for his love. For the scales of impotent misery to tip just enough to push Dorothy into Tim’s arms when she needed him most.
Everything happens for a reason, better believe it.
My current novel, Jesse’s Girl, is set in 1965 Ohio, in a small town called Skitter Lake.
Here’s the blurb:
In 1965, Tim O’Malley returns to his home town of Skitter Lake, Ohio, to clear his name and get the girl: Dorothy Whitaker, the love of his life since eighth grade. Blamed for a destructive fire he didn’t set, only Tim and Dorothy know the truth; that Jesse Prescott, Tim’s best friend and Dorothy’s boyfriend, did the deed that changed an entire town. But Jesse died in that tragedy and seven years later, Skitter Lake still honors him as a hero, rather than Tim, the boy from the seedy side of town whose father was a drunk . . . and whose quick actions saved six people from perishing in that horrendous fire.
In trying to set the record straight and finally claim Dorothy as his own, Tim—and Dorothy, too—will discover that in some small towns the legend often outweighs the truth . . . and their family and friends will forever see Dorothy as “Jesse’s girl.”
Char Chaffin writes mainstream and contemporary romance filled with family, rich characters and engaging plots. For her, it all comes back to the love.
From crafting Victorian-style poetry to writing short stories and novellas, Char finally settled on romance novels as her true passion. Over the years she worked a variety of jobs, from farm hand to costume designer to fiscal accountant, before deciding a writing career was her desired focus.
In addition to writing, Char is also an Acquisitions Editor for Soul Mate Publishing.
A displaced Alaskan, Char currently divides her time between Fairbanks, Alaska and an Upstate NY, sixty-acre farm with husband Don. Their extended family is scattered all over the Lower Forty-Eight and Alaska.
When she’s not pounding away at her keyboard, sneaking away to the Last Frontier or burying her nose in books and her beloved Kindle, she edits manuscripts and helps Don
maintain their farm.
Where to find Char…
Thanks for dropping by, Char. BTW…I enjoyed reading Jesse’s Girl.