Kris Bock joins me today with a post about her character's clothes. I always find that what people - and characters - wear says a lot about their personality and the way they feel about themselves. Kris gives us some insight into her character Camie from The Skeleton Canyon Treasure. Take it away, Kris!
Clothes Make the Character Monday with Kris Bock
The Skeleton Canyon Treasure stars Camie, a reader favorite from The Mad Monk’s Treasure, which revolved around her best friend. Camie is brilliant, though her academic career is checkered, and she loves the outdoors – hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking. Her casual clothes reflect her personality and the lifestyle of a small New Mexico town.
In this stand-alone novel, Camie gets drawn into an adventure by Ryan, an oversized geologist who claims he’s searching for his missing uncle. He needs Camie’s help, so the two of them try to decipher a series of clues in the uncle’s journal, which leads them to the Southeast corner of Arizona. In this scene, they’re camping out with Camie’s tough orange cat, Tiger.
… They worked well enough in tandem as they prepared dinner on her camp stove, but an awkward stiffness had replaced the laughter of their graveyard adventure. Tiger was the only one who seemed at ease as he prowled the campsite, seeming to check that everything was in order. By the time the pizzas had baked and they sat down to eat, the discomfort had the weight of a living thing.
Finally Ryan broke the silence. “Can I ask you something?”
“Shoot.” She licked tomato sauce off a finger.
“You’re obviously a genius.”
She made a face. “I don’t really like that word.” It was as often an insult as a compliment.
“Whatever you want to call it, you have plenty of brains. But people are going to see how you look, how you dress, and not expect you to be brilliant. I’m not criticizing, but why don’t you dress, well, more brainy, to give people a better idea of who you are?”
She sat up straighter, resisting the urge to pull her jacket closed over the cleavage revealed by her tank top. “So, what, I should wear a button-down shirt with a pen protector, put my hair into a bun, and wear glasses I don’t need?”
A smile tugged at his lips. “Stop, you’re turning me on. Okay, granted, nothing short of major plastic surgery is going to make you anything less than gorgeous. I’m not suggesting you go to extremes. But if I worked in the corporate world, I’d wear a suit to fit in. Dress for success, dress for the job you want, not the one you have. That kind of thing.”
“You may also have heard of don’t judge a book by its cover?”
“Sure, but you know people do. That’s the world we live in.”
“How about live for the world you want, not the one you have? People shouldn’t judge me by my appearance. It’s not my fault if they do. I’m going to wear clothes I like, that I find comfortable, and anyone who doesn’t like it can screw off. Besides, how do we change stereotypes if we always give in to them?”
He gave a soft grunt that might have been agreement, skepticism, or merely acknowledgement. They ate in silence for several minutes. Camie knew she’d made her point, but she couldn’t help thinking of all the other things she might have said. She remembered the times teachers had accused her of cheating, or of having a boyfriend do her work, because they couldn’t believe she was smart enough to do that well by herself. The times when boys tried to impress her by offering to help when she didn’t need it, when she was smarter, stronger, better than they were. And their offense – even anger – when they realized the truth.
Tiger, who had been snuggled next to her side, seemed to sense her emotions. He rose, yowled, and stalked back and forth with his tail puffed up in agitation.
Camie was about to burst out with another rant, when Ryan spoke. “I want to apologize.”
“Then do it,” she snapped.
“Okay, I’m sorry I suggested you should change to please anyone else or make their lives easier. It’s unreasonable and I was stupid to say it.”
She studied him suspiciously.
“And I should’ve known better, because I do understand what you mean,” he said.
She raised an eyebrow. “Oh, because you’re so pretty people think you’re dumb?”
He grinned. “Exactly. Okay, not that, but people make assumptions about me because of my size. Some men immediately get all defensive, like my existence is somehow a threat to their masculinity and they have to do and say dumb things to show how tough they are. And women, well, some women are interested in me because I’m big.”
Camie stared at him. Was he actually blushing? The shadows cast by the electric lantern made it hard to say for certain.
Ryan hurried on. “But a lot of them are intimidated, or even scared. Women will cross the street to avoid walking too close to me. I don’t ever want a woman to feel threatened, or a man for that matter. I know I could use my size to intimidate people, but I don’t.”
“Well … only when someone deserves it. Shoot, I kind of loomed over you the night we met, didn’t I? Well, you have to remember, at that point I thought you might have something to do with my uncle’s disappearance.”
He hesitated for a fraction of a second too long. “Now I trust you, of course.”
She shrugged off his doubt. It wasn’t like she’d laid out her whole heart and mind to him either. Instead she focused on what else he’d said. Things started clicking in Camie’s head. “So you try to make yourself less threatening, smaller, like when you were leaning on the counter at the museum to get closer to Marie’s eye level.”
“And you hide behind your charm too.”
“I guess I should be glad you think I have charm.”
“Oh, you have buckets of it.”
Blurb: The Skeleton Canyon Treasure
Camille Dagneau – beautiful, brilliant, and prickly – isn’t quick to trust, especially when a strange man has broken into her machine shop at night. Ryan McGloin insists he’s merely looking for his missing uncle, who has disappeared while hunting for a lost treasure. He believes Camie is the key to finding the treasure, and his uncle. Camie can ignore the attraction she feels, but she won’t pass up the chance for an adventure.
Following the clues in the missing man’s journal will take Camie, Ryan, and the feisty cat Tiger on a trail through New Mexico and Arizona. They’ll investigate the Tombstone graveyard at night, uncover clues in museums, and ultimately explore Skeleton Canyon, where rumor says nineteenth-century cowboy bandits secreted their treasure in a cave. To rescue Ryan’s uncle, they’ll face steep cliffs, twisty tunnels, and worse dangers in human form, but trusting each other may be the biggest challenge. And they’re running out of time ….
If you love suspense and romance, don’t miss this gripping adventure! The Southwest Treasure Hunters novels include The Mad Monk’s Treasure and The Dead Man’s Treasure. Each novel stands alone in this series mixing action and adventure with romance.
Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. The Mad Monk’s Treasure follows the hunt for a long-lost treasure in the New Mexico desert. In The Dead Man’s Treasure, estranged relatives compete to reach a buried treasure by following a series of complex clues. Whispers in the Dark features archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins. What We Found is a mystery with strong romantic elements about a young woman who finds a murder victim in the woods. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town.
Read excerpts at www.krisbock.com or visit her Amazon page. Sign up for Kris Bock newsletter for announcements of new books, sales, and more.
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