Sometimes, my life parallels the lives of the characters in my books in
mysterious ways. In the fifth Threadville Mystery, SEVEN THREADLY
SINS, my protagonist, Willow, models in a charity fundraiser fashion show.
I’d already written the manuscript when I joined an Improv group. They asked me
to participate in a fundraiser, a murder mystery dinner theater play. . .
Here are excerpts from Willow’s runway stint in SEVEN THREADLY
SINS, along with the true story of me acting the part of a rather nasty but
slightly clueless old lady.
Willow Vanderling in SEVEN THREADLY SINS: I sashayed out onto the runway with an
exaggerated sway of hips, turned, started back, and looked saucily over my
Janet Bolin in her acting debut: I stood behind another actor,
waiting for our cue to go on. I was both excited and nervous. Speaking her first
line, the other actor tripped out onto the stage. I followed, pirouetted to make
my character’s admiration of the set obvious, and responded.
Willow: I was supposed to gracefully drop a chunky faux gold
chain over my head and shrug out of the jacket to reveal the sleeveless dress. I
hadn’t anticipated wrestling with the necklace, the jacket, and a cardboard
briefcase at the same time, and my dropping and shrugging were anything but
graceful. Finally, I unsnagged the chain from my hairdo and subdued the jacket.
Janet: I wasn’t supposed to wear my glasses. Partway through
the first scene, I realized I had them on. I removed them (gracefully!) but then
had to figure out how to keep them unscratched. My character had a purse, but it
was for carrying the pie server and the rock . . .
Willow: she . . . unpinned what was left of my glamorous
hairdo after the “gold” chain had pulled tendrils from it, and arranged my hair
in two ponytails, one above each ear. Glancing into the full-length mirror near
the stage curtains, I mistook myself for a two-year-old in a fun house mirror,
the kind that stretched one to a ridiculous height.
Janet: I didn’t find a wig that suited my dotty character.
Instead, I put my hair in pin curls (strange talents can survive years of
disuse.) I planned to comb the curls out before the play, but the pin curls
looked so funny that I asked the director if I should leave them in. We finally
decided that I would take the bobby pins out, but I wouldn’t comb my hair. The
curls became springs all over my head. Yes, it was ridiculous. But so was the
character I was playing, and the jouncing curls reminded me to stop grinning
like myself (the other actors kept making me laugh) and to frown like my
character . . .
Willow: This was supposed to be a cocktail dress. It was, to
say the least, a very unusual cocktail dress. Following the sketch and
instructions that Antonio had given me, I had concocted a tiered, ruffled,
balloon-like mini-dress from white and baby blue organza, with tiny flowers
machine-embroidered at the edges of the ruffles.
Janet: It was my character’s big day. She wanted to dress up,
all in lime green. A friend found the perfect, though outsized, jacket in a used
clothing store. I made a matching full-length, elastic-waisted satin skirt, and
pulled them both over the outfit I’d worn in earlier scenes. (In theater, aren’t
you supposed to be larger than life?) My character insisted on wearing her comfy
lime green sneakers with her dressy outfit. I obeyed her.
About Janet Bolin
When she’s not reading, writing, playing with her embroidery and sewing machine,
or hanging out with people who make her laugh, Janet Bolin walks her dogs near
Lake Erie. Visit Janet at her website, Facebook, and Twitter.
About SEVEN THREADLY SINS
Fashion turns killer in the latest novel from the national bestselling author of
the Threadville mysteries…
Threadville, Pennsylvania, is famous for its fabric, needlecraft, and
embroidery, so it’s only natural that it would become the home of the
Threadville Academy of Design and Modeling. While Willow Vanderling has
certainly never wanted to be a model, here she is, voluntarily strutting her
stuff in a charity runway show in outrageous clothing, all to support the
Academy’s scholarship fund.
But the lascivious, mean-spirited director of the academy, Antonio, is making
the fashion show a less-than-fabulous affair. After Antonio plays a shocking
prank on Willow and her friends that doesn’t exactly leave the ladies in
stitches, he mysteriously winds up dead—and someone is trying to pin the blame
Now, she must do whatever it takes in order to clear her name, even if it means
needling around in other people’s secrets…
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