The Mysterious Mrs. Brooks

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In an earlier post, I brought up that Ichabod’s wife is mentioned in conversation, but never makes an appearance.  That isn’t to say she’s a total mystery in The Life & Times of Ichabod Brooks.  You get a sense of her background, the relationship, and her reputation without her showing up.  She’s always been a factor in the stories without being involved, especially if you see that she’s mentioned in his contract/sign.  Now, there are a few reasons this works out even though the idea came about by accident.  I was still trying to decide on having her appear or not, but never found the right spot.  Part of this is because I was considering giving her a short story collection if people took to her as well as they did with Ichabod.  Still a possibility, but I also get the sense that the story she shows up in would be the last one written for her husband.  So, what are the benefits of the mysterious Mrs. Brooks?

  1. It adds a little fun and mystery to the entire collection.  You can piece together a lot about her from Ichabod’s conversations and other hints that are introduced throughout the stories.  Think of it like searching for Easter Eggs in a movie or video game.  Just a few nods to paint a picture of the woman who is considered the legendary Ichabod Brooks’ equal.  It’s almost like a puzzle, but one that you can only put together once since the fun ends as soon as she’s out of the shadows.
  2. This helps to create a division of work and home life for Ichabod.  We see and talk about this mentality a lot in real life.  You don’t want to bring your work home and you don’t want to bring your home problems to work.  By having his family remain off-screen, the separation remains more palpable and physical.  There’s a line in Ichabod’s life that divides his two worlds and having them crossover could cause a mess.  This is a worry that all of us can relate to in a way.
  3. Mrs. Brooks’s mystery helps to reinforce the idea that she works darker jobs than her husband.  There are hints that she’s been a soldier, mercenary, and assassin.  At the very least, her career path is a combination of all three.  This requires that she avoid the high profile reputation that Ichabod has.  She can be well-known within her circles, but an assassin or spy that is famous will find it harder to get the job done.  It’s a very big difference between her and her husband, which also makes one wonder how they met.  Not to mention if there’s a moral division between them.
  4. I get time to figure out who she is because even I’m not sure.  Over the course of the stories, I add pieces to his wife that weren’t there before.  Every adventure that Ichabod has helps me decide on the woman that can match him.  Whether it be thinking of how she would do it differently or mentioning that he’s using a tool she gave him, it helps to slowly paint the picture.  That way, I can be sure of what I’m working with when she does make an appearance.
  5. Ichabod and his wife could run the risk of overshadowing each other.  I do fear that her showing up will take away from him being the protagonist.  Just like if I gave her a collection, I’d keep Ichabod out of it.  Both feel like they have strong personalities, but I get the sense that his wife is the more aggressive one.

So, will Mrs. Brooks ever appear or even get a first name?  That really depends on how well thinks go for the books.  I’d love to do more collections with Ichabod since I have more stories that didn’t get into this one.  Techinally, I could keep him going forever and then branch off to stories with his wife.  Anyway, this will be part of another post.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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32 Responses to The Mysterious Mrs. Brooks

  1. In my review, I mention Mrs. Brooks from the standpoint of the brains behind the insistence on a contract for every job. I think Ichabod would take jobs just for the adventure. I’ of course don ‘t know that is the case for sure, just saying.

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    • Somebody else mentioned that. The thing is that we only see his career path, so things are skewed. It’s more that they discuss jobs with each other to make sure it’s a good decision. Ichabod being an adventurer means he has more variety and a higher chance of things going wrong. His wife’s jobs tend to be more calculated due to her specialties.

      Ichabod would probably retire if he could afford it. He’s not really interested in adventuring for the sake of adventuring these days.

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  2. L. Marie says:

    Good idea to keep her mysterious! I think that’s cool! I also have the feeling she’s the more aggressive, though Ichabod is no slouch in that department. He seems to have the cooler head.

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    • He’s definitely more laid back from what we can tell so far. I guess it’s the difference between a gradual flood and a flash flood. One hits you right away and the other kind of sneaks up on you.

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  3. You run the risk of having her seem inconsequential by not giving her a name, but that’s mitigated by Ichabod always referring to her with respect.

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    • Never thought of that, but I also found a problem with naming her. Once I do that, people expect her to make a physical appearance. I actually had a female name mentioned in passing in the original collection. Don’t even remember if it was her or not. Some of the beta readers took that as a sign his wife would be showing up before the end.

      The truth is that she is technically inconsequential to Ichabod’s adventures beyond him talking about her. If I ever reach the point where I do a collection for her, I planned on having her never mention him by name either. Almost like they do it when on a job to avoid revealing too much to an enemy. So, you’ll get a similar situation with the roles reversed.

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  4. I must have missed this one yesterday. I like the air of mystery about her, but I like everything about Ichabod. It would be cool to read some of her stories… eventually. Have you considered one where she is away working and Ichabod is minding the homestead? It might make a great comedy piece. I’m getting a vision of Tim Allen or someone and solving things in ways a woman might not.

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    • My plan is to give her a collection after his second one. This way you learn more about her and maybe even meet her beforehand. I was thinking about him being at home with his son, but that might have to wait until I do a book of joint stories. Honestly, I don’t see him having much trouble at home. He does it when she has a job. I think it was noted somewhere that they don’t take jobs that overlap.

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      • Got ya. I thought it might be fun to see him out of his element. Maybe there’s a rodent invasion or something. “Why is there an arrow stuck in my dining room table?”

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      • I might do it as a 7 section short that spans a week. Maybe his son is sick and other things go wrong. Some kind of curse from an enemy.

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      • That could be fun. There was a blogger a long time ago that used to post what she called two-fers. In two days you got the whole story. Much less risk in missing one, and you don’t mind going back for only one segment.

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      • Maybe. I might want to try my hand at parallel stories too. He could talk to his wife throughout his side. Then you see her on a job and she stops to react to him or check in.

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      • Those could be fun too. I really think you’re on to something with Ichabod. There are so many sides to him that it makes him relatable.

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      • Maybe. For now, I only have a few more plans. One solo collection, one for his wife, and a joint one. That’s going to be one of the problems too. Once I introduce his wife, people are going to want her in every story. Ichabod might lose a bit there. The only other option is to give him a few more solo collections before ending on the joint one.

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      • Sounds like time is on your side here. People might be interested in their long term relationship as it all winds down too. Don’t have to sweat it for a couple of years, it sounds like.

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      • Nope. I mentioned in another comment that next year is going to be busy with the new series.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post. Before you write her collection, maybe you could do a he-said/she-said kind of story, from both their points of view. Perhaps the how-they-first-met one, as there seems to be quite the story behind that.

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    • I don’t know. That sounds more like a two part post than a story. Unless I make one collection that involves stories of their relationship from meeting to marriage. I think the big thing is to introduce her first. Still not sure when to do that.

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