Ellie Overton, my viewpoint character in Who Killed ‘Tom Jones’?, is twenty-eight years old, never married, and longing for one of those white-hot romances she’s read all about in romance novels. So, Ellie is intrigued by each man who crosses her path. And I made sure I threw as many men into her path as possible. That meant creating male love interests with different personalities and motivations, which required doing some research about men—a tough job, I know, but someone had to do it.
Here are some of the things I learned:
1. The most important factors men look for in women are a positive outlook and self-confidence. Women who think knock-out looks are their greatest asset are probably putting way too much pressure on their physical features at the expense of developing other desirable and enduring qualities. Besides giving Ellie fulfilling relationships with the senior citizens she worked with, I also gave Ellie an essentially upbeat outlook on life and the chance to improve her self-confidence.
2. Men's feelings change much faster than women's. There are more points at which men may fall out of love with their wives and girlfriends and fall in love with someone else as compared to women. The men in Who Killed ‘Tom Jones’? fall hard for Ellie, and initially, she has trouble accepting their feelings. Of course, Ellie will make mistakes, but I did give her the chance to learn an invaluable lesson during the book--not to take a man or his feelings for granted.
3. Men want their women to talk less about the relationship they’re in and simple enjoy being in it. It isn’t Ellie’s tendency to dissect a man’s feelings or beat the proverbial horse to death. Still, she hasn’t had many enduring relationships in her young life, so she has to learn it does no good to make a relationship harder than it has to be.
4. Men have different ways of expressing love. Not all men speak the same love languages. Many are either hard-wired or conditioned to express themselves using another love language besides words, the language women very often use. Some men say "I love you" by doing things for their women. Some do so by giving them things. Ellie has an extraordinary chance to learn all the wonderful and peculiar ways of not just one but three men in this novel.
5. Ninety-three percent of men would marry the same woman all over again. That statistic says a great deal about the value and importance of the institution of marriage today. No wonder my protagonist Ellie Overton hasn’t given up on the idea of getting hitched to the right guy.
Gale Martin is an award-winning writer of contemporary fiction who plied her childhood penchant for telling tall tales into a legitimate literary pursuit once she hit midlife. She began writing her first novel at age eleven, finishing it three and a half decades later.
Her first novel, DON JUAN IN HANKEY, PA, is a humorous homage to Don Giovanni, Mozart's famous tragicomic opera about the last two days of Don Juan's life. It was named a Finalist in the 2012 National Indie Excellence Awards for New Fiction. Her second novel GRACE UNEXPECTED is wryly witty women's fiction featuring Grace Savage, a 30-something protagonist with a heart of gold, wrapped in lead.
Gale would commit a misdemeanor to score some Babybel cheese and goes weak-kneed for hummingbirds. She is a wife and mother of one and a communications director by profession.
She blogs about opera--the art form, not the platform and is an opera reviewer for Bachtrack, an online site featuring classical performance worldwide. She can name any aria in three notes. Okay, five notes, perfectly sung, with full orchestration.
She has a master of arts in creative writing from Wilkes University. She lives in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, which serves as a rich source of inspiration for her writing.
In Gale Martin's newest novel, Ellie Overton is a 28-year-old rest home receptionist with a pussycat nose who also happens to be gaga for the pop singer Tom Jones. Regrettably single, she is desperate to have a white-hot love relationship, like those she's read about in romance novels. Following an astrological hunch, she attends a Tom Jones Festival and meets an available young impersonator with more looks and personality than talent. Though he's knocked out of the contest, he's still in the running to become Ellie's blue-eyed soul mate--until he's accused of killing off the competition. It's not unusual that the handsome police detective working the case is spending more time pursuing Ellie than collaring suspects. So, she enlists some wily and witty rest home residents to help find the real murderer. Will Ellie crack the case? Must she forfeit her best chance for lasting love to solve the crime?