Ahh … March 15. The Ides of March. For those of us who had to memorize Marc Anthony’s monologue from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, this is the day when the Roman leader was brutally murdered by those closest to him.
“Friends, Romans, Countrymen … lend me your ear. I come to bury Caesar, not praise him …”
Yeah, I got that in my head, but don’t ask me where I parked today.
That play had always stuck with me through the years, possibly because it was the story of a man’s unbridled ambition cut down by those he trusted.
When I first sat down to write Phoenix, the perfect season to launch the story was early spring – sometime when it was still cold in Chicago, but warming in Texas. So, I started it on March 15. During that very first scene, Amanda muttered, “Et tu, Brute?” And that’s when I realized that her story was all about ambition and betrayal. (Fun fact: Amanda is a bit of a Shakespeare nerd. During her first meeting with Foster she quotes Billy again).
Now, in all fairness, that line ended up on the cutting room floor, but every year on March 15, I think about that moment, about those words uttered by a character who predicted her own tale, and I give thanks to Amanda, Alex and Shiloh for letting me tell their story.