In the final episode of one of my favorite TV series, Six Feet Under, something quite extraordinary happened. It’s been 11 years since that episode aired, so I’m going to give away what it was: everybody died. It was a magical way to wrap the series and, to be honest, I walked around devastated for about two weeks. I remember everyone I knew who’d seen it seemed to have the same reaction. It made us think about ourselves and then, at least on my end, my nieces and nephews, and how there would be a day when they would be talking to their kids and grand kids about, “Crazy Gay Uncle Frank.”
The Nick & Carter books, like the others that I’ve written, are channeled. I sit down and watch the unfolding scenes, interpret what I’m seeing, and transcribe the dialogue. I never know what is going to happen. Sometimes I do get visions of what’s coming. And that hit me a couple of days ago when I sat down to write the first chapter of 2008: When Nick & Carter Got Married.
You may know that 2008 was when the California State Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal in California. This only lasted until the next election, but that’s a whole other story.
In this first chapter that I wrote out, an 80-something Nick wakes up to his assistant Robin telling him that same-sex marriage is now legal and that it’s time to go to City Hall and get married to Carter. As Nick is getting dressed and as they’re all driving down there, he reminisces about the past.
At first, I thought this was just really interesting. Then, the next morning I realized this was the start to the final (in chronological order) book of all the Nick & Carter books because this is the one where they die.
Then the tears started. And I don’t mean an occasional tear & sniffle, I mean the full-on ugly, wrenching, I-might-break-my-face kind of crying. I finally had to call in some help so I could uncover what was really going on (and that’s another story altogether).
It feels right to share this experience. Everyone dies. And, in the light of today, I’m going back and re-reading the 1947 romance book where Nick & Carter meet. It feels wonderful to be able to see the beginning and the end and to know that filling out the middle is going to be a delicious experience!
I love these characters. And, underneath the notion of writing a book, I feel like I’m simply transcribing Nick’s story. In fact, I had a vision that… Whoops! Will save that tidbit for the book.
One last thought I’ll share:
Terry Gross: So, isn’t it a bit unusual to write a book where the main characters die before you’ve written all the other books?