A few days ago, I promised to begin introducing the characters in the novel, The Clay Remembers.
ANNA (Anna McClure Robinson) comes from a modest, difficult background, having been raised in a household where domestic violence was the norm. As a young girl, she developed a passion for digging in the dirt to find Indian projectile points and determined that she would be an archaeologist and build a stable life anywhere but near her family.
After winning a full scholarship to Northwestern University’s program, she sailed through the undergraduate program and earned her master’s degree as well. She had distinguished herself as an outstanding field archaeologist, and she was eager to begin her career in spite of having fallen in love and married the most eligible and sought after anthropology student at the university. Because their interests seemed so compatible, she was convinced that her “happily ever after” was assured.
When that turned out not to be the case, as her husband’s controlling and abusive behavior escalated to dangerous levels, she could no longer “go along to get along.” She was determined that she could not live a life like her parents had, and she runs away, finding solace, comfort, and a career in the shadows of the Santa Catalina Mountains in Tucson, Arizona. For the first time since she met Foster, she finds friends and the kind of life she had always dreamed of–if only Foster would never find her.
FOSTER (Foster Robinson) appears to have grown up as a child of privilege and social status, an image that Anna accepts as authentic. His parents, however, came into their riches when Foster was an adolescent. When he and his best friend were likely headed to juvenile detention, his mother enrolled him in Elgin Academy, a private prep school where he learned to project the public persona she demanded in exchange for anything he wanted. He learned well.
When he met Anna at Northwestern, he recognized her vulnerable side, a young woman who needed a strong arm to guide her, one he could control. He took great pleasure in showing her the kind of life he could offer, knowing just how foreign it was to her background. He swept her off her feet and they were married in a lavish ceremony that was the highlight of the Chicago social scene, a ceremony organized and paid for by his mother, who decided every last detail without regard for Anna’s wishes, right down to the hideous mass of satin and lace that she wore down the aisle.
After they both earned their advanced degrees, Foster went on to an assistantship and the doctoral program, which kept him largely on campus teaching and working on his dissertation. With only time for summer and temporary field assignments, Foster insisted that Anna could not do fieldwork without him and he kept her isolated. As tensions increased with her insistence on working and his demands that she stay home and be a proper wife, their relationship deteriorated. The Foster behind the image began to emerge in frightening ways, and his efforts to control her escalated into domestic violence,
Anna’s independent nature resurfaced when he least expected it and her desertion of him increased his instability to dangerous levels. He was determined to find her and bring her home at all costs.
I would appreciate any comments you would like to make about these characters. Are they characters you would want to read about? What would you expect to happen in the story? Your comments will help me determine whether or not the direction I’ve taken them works.
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