There are many things I love about writing about Sophie and her adventures in the Nautical Namaste Mysteries.
One of my favorite of her traits is her joy. She genuinely takes joy in life, even when things are difficult.
Yes, she gets sad or upset or frightened or angry.
And then she DOES something about it. She takes ACTION.
She’s not a whiner, although she’ll talk things through with her two best friends on the ship, Roz and Harmonia, or her roommates back in Brooklyn, Fawn and Bianca.
The fact that she loves life also drives her to seek justice for the murder victims she encounters. She’s not in law enforcement. But she has a strong sense of justice, and the principles by which she wants to live her life. She has strong principles because she loves life. She loves all the complexity and beauty and passion and challenge of it.
Sophie is an active protagonist. To keep my interest as a reader, that’s vital, especially in a mystery. Passive characters or characters who don’t learn from mistakes and keep repeating them throughout a book and a series lose my interest. They lose my respect.
As a writer, then, it was vitally important to me to have a character who was active, curious, passionate, smart, and kind.
Bianca mentions, early in SAVASANA AT SEA, that people often underestimate Sophie by mistaking kindness for weakness.
Sophie’s yoga practice helps her to connect to the joy in life. As a teacher, it allows her to encourage others to find joy, peace, and a better quality of life. That then feeds back into her own joy.
Some mystery series focus on the protagonist’s search to find their path. Sophie has already found hers, at the top of the series, in spite of the challenges living it presents (which I’ve discussed in previous posts).
What I want to explore is how she overcomes the challenges to living her path and finding the joy in it. Murder dampens and threatens the joy, and having a murderer on board is a threat, both in a physical sense, and in a psychological sense.
In every book, Sophie’s sense of joy, of passion, of justice, of living her path will be challenged. I want her to find different ways to deal with those challenges each time, and build on her “self.”
She won’t always succeed in living her path, in being her best self. She will fall short, especially in her own expectations. How she deals with that and keeps trying, how she remains determined to live with joy is, to me, essential for the series.
Visit the Nautical Namaste site here.