It’s a new year—time to let go of the old and welcome in the new. New goals, new plans, new dreams. We’ve had a rough couple of years in the world, and our lives have changed forever, but it doesn’t mean we can’t move forward with renewed hope and the opportunity to make our dreams come true.
Many people shy away from setting New Year’s resolutions for fear they will not carry them out. I get it. I’ve failed many times—but the important thing to me is setting the goal. It gives me direction and a sense of excitement for what may come my way. It gives me purpose and a sense of optimism.
Optimism doesn’t come easily for people. We are wired with a negativity bias which is essential to our survival. It’s what alerts us to danger and keeps us safe. But sometimes it can go into overdrive, and we often don’t know how to get out of that negative mind set. Setting goals and striving to make those dreams come true can break through those barriers and open up a whole new way of thinking.
My books, all historical mystery novels, have this theme of pushing through adversity running through them. My characters have this drive, this need to make their dreams come true and make the world a better place. My protagonists, all amateur sleuths, are presented with situations that seem unsurmountable, but they have a need to find the truth and seek justice, to make order out of the chaos of the problem set before them. And through their determination and refusal to fail, they reach that goal.
Annie Oakley, in my Annie Oakley mystery series, is drawn from the real-life woman. If you know anything about her, you know she came from poverty and hardship, and rose above those hurdles to become one of the most famous women in the world. You might also know she was driven to help others, especially women. She taught thousands of women to shoot because she felt every woman had the right to defend herself. This pint-sized wonder-woman worked in a man’s world and excelled, besting all her male opponents. To me, it only made sense she would make an excellent detective—someone who is driven to rise above the adversity caused by a murder and get to the truth.
My protagonist Grace of the Grace Michelle mysteries, (a purely fictional character) has also come from adversity. It’s her past sorrows that give her the drive to make something of herself (she’s a costume designer on Broadway and then in the silent film industry) and to help others through her sleuthing skills in order to prevail above the wrongs in her world.
Ruby Delgado (also fictional), of my Southwestern mystery Bones of the Redeemed, has suffered tremendous loss in her life, her only child, and is struggling with a reason to see another day. An archeologist by profession, her work is the only thing keeping her going, but when she arrives at a dig in New Mexico, she unwittingly stumbles upon a sinister secret society and learns a young man’s life is in danger. Her need to save this boy ( because she couldn’t save her own) drives her to rise above her own suffering and expose this deadly brotherhood.
I realize that the goals of my protagonists are pretty lofty—usually consisting of saving lives or righting wrongs. Few of us are presented with those challenges. But the challenges we face in our own lives can often feel insurmountable and sometimes we can’t find a way out.
The best way to do this is to start small. Chip our way out. Set a goal. Dare to dream.
And the new year gives us the opportunity to do just that. So, even if you think you’ll fail, make a resolution. Start fresh. Get excited about what lay ahead. The possibilities are endless.
When she’s not on a horse, or walking along the beautiful cottonwood-laden acequias of Corrales, New Mexico; or basking on white sand beaches under the Big Island Hawaiian sun, Kari Bovée is escaping into the past—scheming murder and mayhem for her characters, both real and imagined, and helping them to find order in the chaos of her action-packed novels.
An award-winning author, Bovée was honored with the 2020 Chanticleer First Place in category for the Chanticleer International Clue Awards for her book Folly at the Fair. In 2019, she was awarded the NM/AZ Book Awards Hillerman Award for Southwestern Fiction for her novel Girl with a Gun. The novel also received First Place in the 2019 NM/AZ Book Awards in the Mystery/Crime category and won First in Category in the International Chanticleer Murder & Mayhem Awards. It was also a finalist in the 2019 Next Generation Indie Awards. Her novel Grace in the Wings won First in Category for the 2019 International Chanticleer Chatelaine Awards. Peccadillo at the Palace won Grand Prize in the 2019 Goethe Awards and was a finalist in the 2019 Best Book Awards Historical Fiction category.
Bovée has worked as a technical writer for a Fortune 500 company, has written non-fiction for magazines and newsletters, and has worked in the education field as a teacher and educational consultant.