Friday, June 18, 2021

It's Tricky to Remember to Forget

A Man with a Past
Brothers in Arms, book #2
The hero in my soon-to-release novel A Man with a Past, has amnesia. I mean he has it through the whole stinking book....well almost. He gets his memory back at the the nick of time you might say! 

It was fun but I hope I did it alright. 

I've written one other character with amnesia and before long at all I just flat out gave her her memory back. It was just too HARD to remember to forget.

You don't really realize it until you start writing it, but a character spends a lot of time with internal thoughts. And in ways large and small those internal thoughts are concerned with who they are. How something is affecting them.

Sure sometimes they think things like, "When I was married to Betsy, I'd've never said such a thing." Or more mildly, "He'd decided to never marry again. Losing Betsy had hurt too much."

You can't do that with amnesia. No worrying because you were frightened by a barking dog as a child, nearly struck by lightning as a teenager, lost your parents in a flood as a young adult.

Nope, none of that, because YOU CAN'T REMEMBER ANY OF THAT HAPPENED.

It's tricky to remember to forget. 

You need to re-write, revised, regularly, specifically looking for oops moments when a character is acting as they normally do which includes, tiny moments of memory, the things that make a person who they are.

And that act of memory is so fundamental to writing...backstory...internal conflict...fears and joys and strengths and weaknesses. We are trained to write all of that into a character. Well forget it. My recommendation is frequent and very specific revisions looking for a character remembering or reacting based on a memory.

A bigger issue, how does having no memory affect your personality. ARE you afraid of dogs? ARE you afraid of lightning storms. Would you be? Seriously, how deep does a fear or phobia go? If you can't remember almost getting struck by lightning, then are you unafraid? I really couldn't quite decide. On this one, I just went with my own approach but I tried to be consistant about it.

Anyway, my hero Falcon Hunt isn't afraid of anything, so that doesn't apply. 

He was a fun character to write because he talks like a Tennessee hillbilly. I'd never done a book with that strange, unique accent before and I enjoyed it. 

An example of how Falcon talks from the opening of A Man with a Past:

When a man grows up in wild country, huntin’ food, eyes wide open for trouble, he knows when he’s being watched.

And that man there, back’a him weren’t out lookin’ for a place to have a Sunday picnic.

Falcon’d fought shy of a dozen towns and wanted no part of Independence, Missouri. Ceptin’ he didn’t know where in tarnation he was going and to his understanding this was his last chance to figure it out.

So he went ridin’ right smack into that beehive of a town on his old rawboned mule to find out how to get to Wyoming. And a man commenced to following.

To a lot of men, it might be right hard to spot a single man on these crowded streets full of shops and freight wagons. Everywhere he turned people swarmed.

But staying alive wasn’t easy in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee, where a man could find a way to die near every time he turned around. And yet here Falcon stood, as tall and rawboned as his mule, proving he was a tough, savvy man and he didn’t intent to trust to luck with that man on his tail.

He intended to trust to skill.

Falcon was fun to write. His main enduring skill is his utter trust in himself to take care of himself and anything else that cropped up. He had a skinning knife and his old single-shot rifle. And he has the wilderness. He can cloth and feed  himself and he isn't one speck worried about doing it.

And then a blow to the head, actually a gunshot to the head, and he can't remember a thing. And he's in the wilderness. Anyway, it was a lot of fun.

Have you ever written an amnesiac? Have you ever wanted to? Have you ever tried and gotten so tired of the stumbling blocks you just give your character their memory back for your own sanity?

Today I'm giving away a signed copy of A Man with a Past. Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing.

A Man with a Past

Falcon Hunt awakens without a past, or at least not one he can recall. He's got brothers he can't remember, and he's interested in the prettiest woman in the area, Cheyenne. Only trouble is, a few flashes of memory make Falcon wonder if he's already married. He can't imagine abandoning a wife. But his pa did just that--twice. When Falcon claims his inheritance in the West, Cheyenne is cut out of the ranch she was raised on, leaving her bitter and angry. And then Falcon kisses her, adding confusion and attraction to the mix.

Soon it's clear someone is gunning for the Hunt brothers. When one of his brothers is shot, Falcon and Cheyenne set out to find who attacked him. They encounter rustled cattle, traitorous cowhands, a missing woman, and outlaws that take all their savvy to overcome. As love grows between these two independent people, Falcon must piece together his past if they're to have any chance at a future. 


The Accidental Guardian is currently on sale in in Kindle for $1.99

Be careful when you click that the sale is still on. I noticed the NOOK book version has returned to full price so I suppose it's about over!


  1. I love the cover and storyline. You have a great voice, Mary. I remember the first time I read one of your books. I was hooked by your humor. I've read and watched many stories where the characters deal with amnesia but never considered how complicated it would be to write. That's really interesting. I'm not sure I'm up for the challenge but it sounds like a good exercise in writing.

    1. Thanks, Jamie. Why I suggested multiple passes for revisions is just to catch things, little things. But it's HARD. How do you explain their personality if they have no memory of what brought them to this point? No backstory? Tricky


  2. Hi Mary:

    The king had a similar problem as your topic today and he even sang about it!


    "You're not a nice person Jack. Reports are you used to beat your wife…even put her in the hospital twice."

    "That's pure nonsense. I would never do anything like that."

    "You have total amnesia. You can't remember your past. How could you possibly know what you'd do or not do?"

    "The memories don't make the person. The person makes the memories. I know what kind of person I am by the way I react to things without even having to think about them. The mere idea of striking a woman is repugnant. My immediate reaction is to protect such a woman."

    "Then why are all these bad reports coming in on your past behavior?"

    "Because they think I'm someone else. I've been given amnesia and a false past. But how do I prove it when I don't even know who I really am?"

    "Well, didn't you say that bits and pieces of memories keep coming back now and then?"

    "Just stray fragments. I figure most of them are red herrings planted by those who took my memories and gave me a false identity."

    "Don't mention those 'red herrings' to that pretty lady detective you seem so sweet on. She thinks your story is fishy enough as it is."

    "It's not just that I can't always remember what I forgot, I can't even forget the false memories that I need to forget."

    "In any event this whole mess makes one memorable experience."

  3. Really interesting, Vince. Cool idea to implant a past!

  4. I can't wait to read A Man with a Past! Also, this post was really interesting

    1. Thanks Angeline. It's a quiet day here in Seekerville. I appreciate you stopping in!

  5. I’m looking forward to reading the new book! My husband always knows when I’ve picked up one of your books because at some point I end up with the giggles.

    1. I hope he's not looking at you too weird, Kristine!

  6. Cant even imagine how challenging it is to write a character with amnesia! I'm not sure i want to try that. I've been waiting for the whole series to release so I can binge read. :)

    1. Book #3, Love on the Range, coming in October!!!

  7. I love binge reading your series, Mary! This one sounds like another great one, and I’m excited to read it! I don’t typically share about my books with my husband because he isn’t interested, but I can’t help but read to him some of the funny lines in yours. They’re too funny to keep to myself!

  8. That sounds like it would be really difficult writing about someone with amnesia. I trust you to have figured it out. I always love the blend of humor, action, and romance in your books. I'm looking forward to reading A Man With a Past since I really liked Braced for Love and want to read more about these brothers.

    1. I'm sort of afraid if I did figure it out. I hope I did!!!! :) Because the book is in print!

  9. I'm loving this new series, Mary. I've never really thought about how hard it would be to write a character who can't remember his past. You bring up some great points, like the phobia issue. I'm curious to see how you answered that one.

  10. I love Mary Connealy's books! I own a print copy of nearly every book and short story that she has written! I really enjoyed Braced for Love, though I'm curious about how Baker and Tuttle were able to knock Falcon in the creek when he is so much better in the woods than they are. I hope Falcon tells us the story when he gets his memory back! I miss the witty humor and clever chapter endings and beginnings from the early books like the Lassoed in Texas, Montana Marriages, and Sophie's daughters trilogies. And I miss the laugh out loud humor of the Nosy in Nebraska books. But even so, I can't wait to read A Man with a Past!

  11. This is an awesome book I loved! One of my new favorites!


If you have trouble leaving a comment, please "clear your internet cache" and try again. You can find this in your browser settings under "clear history."