Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Guest - Constance Phillips

Good morning, all! Today's guest has written a fictional story about our most famous escape artist. Here's why she chose to do it and what she learned in the process. Enjoy!


Infusing Real Life Into Fiction

Since Resurrecting Harry was released on the first of this month, the two questions I’ve been most asked is why Harry Houdini? Why write a fictional story about a real person?
The first question I’ve already answered many times: Who better to escape the chains of death than the greatest escape artist ever known?

The second question is a little harder to answer, because really, the heart of the story is not so much about Bess and Harry Houdini, but about the choices we make, living with regret, and learning to treasure every day as a gift. These were just the two real people I chose to learn those lessons.

It was the idea of an escape artist who could overcome the one thing that is supposed to be insurmountable that drew me to the Houdinis. So, even though the story is about more than these two real-life people, it still had to stay true to them and their spirit, which did require research.

But then, what to do with that research? This wasn’t to be a non-fiction book outlining their life and times. I was taking two well-known people, throwing a supernatural event at them, and then imagining how it would affect them.  I wanted their actions to line up with their personalities, even though I wanted them both to experience a growth arc.

What I took away from my research of the couple was that there were three personality traits that had been a part of their fiber and that would have be a huge part of their characters if the story was to ring true.

1.         Pride: In order to get up on the stage night after night and shine in the spotlight, I knew both Harry and Bess had to have a lot of pride in what they did and what they had accomplished.

2.         Dedication: The same thing goes for this trait. You don’t become the best-known anything without being one-hundred-percent dedicated to your goal. Neither was the type to sit on their laurels, and the characters in Resurrecting Harry had to be just as dedicated to their objectives.

3.         A Deep Love for Each Other: Don’t forget, the book is first-and-foremost a romance. So the couple I chose to touch with the life-beyond-death experience had to love each other madly and deeply.

It is my hope that I was successful in giving Erich [Harry] and Bess these important real life characteristics, while still crafting a satisfying story that remains true to their nature.

Can the greatest escape artist ever known break the grim reaper’s chains to save the only woman he’s ever loved?

In order to save Bess from self-destruction, Harry Houdini puts his afterlife on the line by entering a wager with purgatory’s keeper. He gives Harry a younger face and body, and a new name: Erich Welch.

Bess clings to his promise to deliver a coded message from beyond the grave, determined to provide the bridge for him to cross, even if that means befriending her husband's sworn enemy.

Erich needs to help Bess over her loss and put her on the road to healing, but will any good come from resurrecting Harry? 

About Constance:
Constance Phillips lives in Ohio with her husband, two ready-to-leave-the-nest children, and four canine kids. Her perfect fantasy vacation would involve hunting Dracula across Europe with her daughter, who also digs that kind of stuff. When she's not writing about fairies, shifters, vamps, and guardian angels, she's working side-by-side with her husband in their hardwood flooring business.

Constance is actively involved in her local Romance Writers of America chapter (MVRWA) and the Southeast Michigan chapter of the United States Pony Club. When not writing or enjoying the outdoors, she loves reality television or can be found at a Rick Springfield concert (just look for the pink Converse high tops).

Constance blogs regularly at You can also follow her on Twitter or friend her on Facebook. 

Buy links

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-- Lynda Again,
    How interesting! I hope you all enjoyed today's post. What a fascinating take on Harry and Beth.

    Have a Blessed Day!


Lynda K. Scott said...

Welcome, Constance! I remember Harry Houdini had a real fascination with the afterlife and with trying to make a connection to that world. Your story, even though fictional, sounds terrific!

Thanks for being with us!

Constance Phillips said...

Thank you so much for having me, Lynda.

You are very right that Harry had a fascination -- obsession maybe -- with the spiritualists. Later in his life, he worked very hard to disprove their communication with the dead.

Bess, however, held seances for ten years on the anniversary of his death.

Rose Anderson ~ Romance Novelist said...

As a child I LOVED the idea of Harry Houdini. Still do. Your book sounds like one I'll definately track down on Amazon. :) Best luck with it.


Rue Allyn said...

Excellent discussion of how to blend research and fiction. Love the story you tell about Houdini.

Constance Phillips said...

Thank you so much, Rose. I've always been fascinated with the persona too. I always wondered what off stage life was like, and it's what I tried to imagine here. I hope you enjoy the book.

Constance Phillips said...

Thank you, Rue

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. I tweeted.

Constance Phillips said...

Thank you, Ella!

Pat Lee said...

This sounds like such an awesome book. I can't wait to read it, Constance. Great post ladies!

Constance Phillips said...

Thank you, Pat. I appreciate it!