The Women of 1929: Working with Maura

Working With Maura

I should word that working for Maura. That's what it feels like sometimes. I've talked before about how Maura was originally not much more than a cameo. After she helped the Garrett's move out, we had no plans for her. Boy, we're we wrong. We had no idea that a character created on a whim with no established backstory would imprint herself into the story the way she did.  

It was shortly after they moved that it became clear Maura wasn't going anywhere. I was muddling through a scene and it was going nowhere. Then Maura marched in and we had a little talk. It went something like this. 

Pointing finger, takes deep breath. "Let's get somethin' straight, Miss Writer. Those people need me. They won't make it wi'out me and I'm thinkin' ye might want to reconsider havin' me go away fer good because if ye do, Miss Arianna will be drunk by nightfall, streakin' through the streets neekid with Caleb after her, wringin' his hat in his hands. Mr. Aryl will kill himself tryin' to keep this group together and Mr. Jonathan will be lost until he finds somethin' to throw all his energy into and Miss Ava will have no idea how to handle him when he's not at his best." 

Stands tall, folds arms. "Now. I have a man and a babe. They'll be comin' wi' me of course. I don't care where you place us, so long as I don't have to leave this bunch. I'm tellin' ye, if ye get rid of me, ye might as well end this story now because it's just going to fall apart." 

Pulls out a freshly plucked chicken I didn't realize she was holding. "How about I take this to 'em and I'll guide you through the rest. They'll be needin' to learn how to live lean and I'm the MIss of that, my dear." 

So, as you can see, I really didn't have a choice with this one. Maura's scenes were some of the easiest to construct. Like the formula "Need drama? Just add Arianna." It was the opposite with Maura. She came in when situations needed to be diffused.  She knew exactly what to say and when to say it. Something that surprised readers as much as it surprised us is the fact that Maura is only a few years older than Ava. I assumed her to be middle-aged when the book opened but as each scene went by she seemed to appear younger in my mind's eye. I imagine her hands are work hardened and she has a few more worry lines than the other women, but her words and wisdom are well beyond her years, for certain. 

It was only after the series and into the serial that she became somewhat difficult to work with. She didn't shut down, but it was hard to get her to talk. I couldn't figure it out for the longest time and then it hit me. She's tired. She put on one heck of a show for several books and now she'd just appreciate some down time. Some time to relax into her life in Rockport without any major crisis. A chance to just be. We've granted her that.

For now.

There are events transpiring in Season Three of Purling Road that will require some of that spit-fire attitude that made us love her. I'm looking forward to that, aren't you?