Only four, I hear you say. :)
There are four things that set off my alarm bells.
1. A person who doesn't like animals. (Doesn't have animals and does not interact with animals when they are nearby.)
- Especially if my animals don't like the person. I will defer to their instinct every time. They are NEVER wrong.
If my animals ignore you, run from you, or distance themselves - that's an alarm I will not ignore.
(For clarity - fish are not animals. They don't count when I'm talking about pets. I'm talking about creatures you can touch and interact with - fish don't much care for cuddles.)
2. A person who doesn't listen to music. (Doesn't have the radio playing, doesn't seek out music during their day.)
- These people have no soul. (No pun intended.) Music is vital to life, it moves us and it connects us. I have so many favorite songs I can't even begin to list them! Music gives us clues and jumping blocks. If you and I are both singing along (badly hahaha) to the same song - that gives us an instant connection and something to build on.
Life without music is something I can't even imagine.
3. A person who doesn't read for pleasure. Has no books in their house and doesn't read on their phone or device. Doesn't even read a magazine or a comic.
Or only reads one genre or one author. I believe a wide range of books needs to be consumed including non-fiction and fiction.
- Reading is important for imagination, knowledge, pleasure, vocabulary, without written words (even the ones with pictures) you can't write. Sentence structure, the ability to tell a compelling story, and for general knowledge, come from books and a lot of the time we don't notice how reading affects us - we learn a lot through fiction not just non-fiction.
(I could write pages as to why people need to read or read more.)
Suffice to say if you only read one author or have no books ... my alarm bells are ringing.
4. This fourth thing is quite a big as far as I'm concerned.
Understanding how people feel. Feeling what they feel. If you can't understand and share someone else's feelings then I don't want to be around you. Because you have no soul and feel nothing.
Empathy is the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.
Someone who can't empathize is going to miss a lot of what happens in my books. The ability to feel what my main character feels without actually going through hell yourself is pretty important.
Also, if you can't empathize you'll never fully appreciate the joy of dark humor because you don't understand where it comes from.
Quick recap: To be in my inner trust circle you need to love animals (not in an illegal way), love music - really LOVE music, read, be empathetic.
Also ... drink tequila. And be creative. And enjoy life and laugh freely.
To be that one special person in my inner circle you need to be a carpenter called Geoff Inwood.
There is no one else and there never will be.
Our initials were carved on a tree when we were 15, we were always going to find our way back to each other.