I thought a lot about this quote from Oscar Wilde while I was writing Sweet Tea Tuesdays. My new release is the story of three best friends–Georgia, Lula, and Midge—who have lived next door to one another for the past twenty-six years. They have watched the seasons change and their children grow up while sipping tea on Georgia’s front porch. Midge is keeping a secret that could destroy Georgia’s marriage and tear their friendship apart.
I struggled with Midge’s motivations while writing this novel. I had a difficult time understanding why she’s so afraid to divulge her secret to Georgia when doing so is clearly in Georgia’s best interest. It wasn’t until my final draft when I realized, with a little help from Oscar Wilde, that Midge isn’t afraid Georgia will be mad at her. She’s afraid of seeing her friend hurt. Only a true friend, when motivated by real concern and love, can stab you in the heart while looking you in the face. It takes guts to tell a friend something they don’t want to hear. Not only will that friend be hurt, they are also likely to be angry. And that anger may be directed at you, simply because you’re the messenger. But once your friend calms down, she or he will realize that you have acted in their best interest and be grateful to you for caring about them.
Midge sucked in a deep breath. She would break the news, and then offer Georgia a shoulder to cry on. She expected Georgia to get angry. She might even take her anger out on Midge. But Georgia was a reasonable person, and when she calmed down, she’d realize that Midge was merely the messenger. Midge wasn’t the one breaking Georgia’s heart. That was all Lang’s doing.