Does it sound strange that an author can learn something from the characters she or he creates? Maybe a little. They’re fictional characters. The author is coming up with the words, putting them on the page in a specific order. Anything that shows up is from his or her own mind, right? So how can you learn something while writing a book?
Ah, well, turns out it’s not so strange after all.
As you create these characters you have to really think about people, and their experiences, what makes them tick, what matters to them. And yes, my characters do sometimes surprise me and even teach me things.
For instance, this scene came together as I was writing it. I didn’t plan a lot of this out ahead of time. But it’s a moment when my hero, Marc, realizes—and kind-of admits— that he cares about the heroine, Sabrina, in spite of knowing about her mistakes and bad decisions. Not to mention that he challenges the “other guy” who thinks he’s in love with her about his feelings. (By the way, Sabrina is a singer/songwriter who has just come home after four years on the road chasing her dream. She thinks it’s time to settle down, even though her heart’s not in it).
“You were in love with a very specific idea of who you wanted. And you thought you could turn Sabrina into that. But that’s what she wanted to be.” He pointed at the stage. “She wanted to travel and live in the big city and let virtual strangers sleep on her pull-out couch so she could learn French and Zumba and other miscellaneous interesting things.” He took a deep breath. “If you love her, you would want her to be happy and be herself. Instead, you get jealous and pissed because she isn’t what you want. That’s not love, Luke.”
Luke was staring at him as he finished what had turned into a rant.
“You done?” he finally asked.
“I think so. For now.”
“You’re a love expert now?”
Marc tried not to react. Luke knew him well, could read his expressions and body language extremely easily. He didn’t want to be in love and refused to admit that he might be. There was a baby to think about, and that was still enough to freak him out more than he wanted to admit.
“I don’t have to be an expert. It’s obvious.” He looked at his friend. “Isn’t it? How can you resent something that makes her look like that?” He gestured at the stage again. They’d finished the song and Sabrina was flushed and breathing harder. She took a bow and smiled a smile of pure happiness. She was gorgeous. “How can you not want her to look and feel like that every day for the rest of her life?”
“I hated that something could make her look like that when I was pretty sure I never would,” Luke said quietly. Marc turned to stare at him.
“But you still want to marry her? Knowing that you can’t do that for her and knowing that you can’t let her be herself?”
“I was hoping she’d gotten all of that out of her system.” Luke sounded pissed.
Marc looked at the stage. “Does it look like she’s gotten it out of her system?”
“No. But it’s time for her to settle down.”
Marc swallowed hard. Maybe what he was about to say was overkill but… “She shouldn’t have to settle for less than everything she wants.”
Sabrina, isn’t perfect. Far from it. She’s made some bad choices and she hasn’t always been the nicest person. However, Marc, the hero, sees beneath that. He sees her vulnerability, her desire to do the right thing now. And he loves her because of that. That love leads him to want her to be who she really wants to be, instead of who everyone thinks she should be.
That’s the best lesson any of my characters have taught me: true love is knowing someone’s flaws and mistakes, and loving them anyway.
I really love that message and hope readers see that in Anything You Want.
About the Author:Erin Nicholas is the author of sexy contemporary romances. Her stories have been described as toe-curling, enchanting, steamy and fun. She loves to write about reluctant heroes, flawed heroines, sex with food and happily ever afters. She does not like to write dark moments, synopses or bios. You can find Erin on the web at www.ErinNicholas.com, www.ninenaughtynovelists.blogspot.com, on Twitter and even on Facebook (when necessary).
Suppose the solution to all your problems is the one thing you never wanted…
It figures the one time Sabrina Cassidy is determined to do the responsible thing, karma kicks in. After four years on the road chasing her musical dream, she’s stranded six hours from home with no money, a ruined credit history—and morning sickness.
Out of options, she swallows her legendary independent streak and calls the only person who won’t hang up on her. Luke, the man she left behind.
Marc Sterling’s first instinct is to protect his business partner and best friend from another broken heart. That means letting her think she’s talking to Luke, then finding a way to send her in the opposite direction.
When he shows up at her hotel room, there’s something in the air beside their customary insults. Sure, her rebellious attitude, smart mouth—and purple panties—still drive him crazy, but now it’s a different kind of crazy. The kind that has him driving her home instead of to the nearest airport.
And when Luke offers to solve all her problems if she’ll only say “I do”, Marc realizes he’s just crazy enough—about her—to forget whose heart he wanted to protect.
Warning: Contains two people who don’t like each other very much, a Toyota that can’t quite handle the road trip home, and a spontaneous proposal. Or two. Or three. And foreplay with—what else—pie filling.