When young, I elevated my mother’s sister Alice to a status higher on the pedestal than a mere aunt. She was a superwoman who managed each day as proficiently as the sun manages darkness. When Alice was there, nothing could go wrong. When she said, “March,” I followed.

Thinking about characters for my first O’Shaughnessy book, I immediately decided that Aunt Alice should take center stage. I wanted to keep my book’s characters as similar to their real-life inspirations as I could. With Alice, that was no problem. Alice, called Ruby in my stories, provided a multifaceted character who could romp through the pages yet manage a calamity with the competence of a surgeon. And I had her do both.

Ruby could play whatever role that I put her in—and play it with competence and spirit—while honestly representing Aunt Alice.

This served my purpose well through the first three O’Shaughnessy books. Ruby fulfilled her responsibilities while adding humor and muscle to each story. Then, I began writing Strawberry Summer. It progressed nicely until about halfway through when I got this insane idea to make Ruby a villain. Ruby, my Aunt Alice, a villain? How could I ever have dreamed up such a preposterous idea?

I must have lost my mind for a while. But I did it, and I let it go to press before recovering my sanity.

Now I’m worried. I want to get to heaven, but I dread facing my intrepid Aunt Alice. How can I tell her? What should I tell her? I certainly have some apologizing to do. And I’m not sure that I’m up for the task.

I did that lady wrong, and I probably can’t rectify it. I need some help. Do you have any suggestions?