Sunday, April 25, 2021

The Payoff: Patience rewarded.

The preorder is up and the wait is nearly over. The Payoff  goes live this Friday, April 30th. Thanks to all of you who have preordered already! I'm grateful to each and every one of you.

Cheetah 123 | Deposit Photos
Patience is a virtue, or so I've been told. We have all been forced to practice patience during this past year plus, waiting for our vaccinations to take effect and for the world to reopen. Some of us have been more gracious about this down time than others, it's true. But whether we grump or whine or take more drastic measures -- or sit back and resign ourselves to waiting -- it's all really just the way we choose to pass the time until the pandemic is over.

Even before the virus hit, we had a choice about how to react to waiting. There are all sorts of coping strategies available, from meditation to creative crafting to kickboxing. But really, the only thing that will fix the problem is the passage of time.

In The Payoff, Janis and Jan have had a lot of time to practice patience. Forty years, in fact. Raised together at a quasi-research facility called the Institute, they fell in love -- and then to protect themselves and each other from the woman who tormented them there, they split up. Four decades later, they have reunited to finally right the wrongs that were done to them all those years ago.

Seems like a ridiculously long time to wait, right? I received some similar complaints about Naomi Witherspoon's ten-year romance with Brock Holt in Seized. Why did she wait around so long for him to ask her to marry him? Why didn't she dump him when she realized he was a jerk? Well, to be honest, it was partly because that was the timeline that the story demanded. 

But the book's critics also didn't seem to want to give enough credit to inertia. You know, you're in this thing and it's not great, but it's really not that terrible if you squint just right, and you can manage it okay or anyway you tell yourself you can. And life happens and pretty soon you realize you've been with this guy for ten years and nothing's happening, and why is this owl dive-bombing you in downtown Denver?

Naomi was not so much practicing patience as she was practicing inattentiveness. She woke up pretty fast when Joseph showed up, though.

In The Payoff, Janis Fowler and Jan Marek are in a completely different situation. As children, they mentally granted outsized power to Dr. Tandy, who had total control over their lives. They weren't much more than children when they left the Institute -- they were certainly naive about how the world worked -- so they never had the chance that you and I have had, as adults, to recast our mental picture of the adults in our young lives as fallible people who don't control us any longer. And Jan had Seen that he and Janis would be reunited someday, and that would be the time they could finally give Tandy what she deserved. 

So they've waited. For forty years.

There are lots of true-life stories about couples who split up when they're young due to circumstances beyond their control and reunite decades later. Usually, in the meantime, they've gotten on with their lives: they've married somebody else, raised a family, worked, or gone to war. In these tales, when the couple gets back together again, they often find that while they're different people now than before they split, their reunion was worth the wait.

Janis and Jan seem to think their reunion was worth the wait. I'm hoping you, dear readers, will agree.

I don't have a link for the paperback edition yet. I'll share that next week. And not to be too much of a tease, but I might even have news about a special edition of The Payoff then, too. 

Sounds like it's a good week to practice patience. See you next Sunday.

These moments of impatient blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Keep masking up and social distancing! And get vaccinated when you can!

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