Thursday, January 15, 2009
Lucy Monroe and "In The Spy Who Wants Me"
You know I get asked for my favorites a lot. What's your favorite book? Who is your favorite character? What's your favorite setting? Etc. And usually, the honest answer is whatever I'm working on at the moment. But if you were to ask me for a list of my favorite heroines to date, Elle Gray from The Spy Who Wants Me would be at the top. There's just something about a woman who is trained to kill, but is emotionally vulnerable. She's not afraid of facing down a loaded gun, but gets nervous about calling her mother.
I loved living inside her head as I wrote to get her out of mine. I tell people I write the stories that are clamoring to be told and that usually means characters that are demanding attention and screen time. Elle was definitely one of those. There was no doubt that when I went to write the next Goddard Project book, it would be her story. It simply could not have been anyone else's. Imagine my surprise as the story unfolded and I realized her brother was just as attention seeking as she was. I did something I rarely do, I wrote a dual romance in the same book. Because Matej simply wouldn't wait and Elle was already kicking a$$ with bad guys in my head every day when I woke up.
I spent longer with Elle and Matej than I do with a lot of my characters because it took me longer to write their book. I had no problem understanding how they could and would fall in love with Beau and Chantal respectively, because I did too.
When I hear from readers that had the same response, I rejoice. When I read a review that didn't, I was stunned. Not that my writing could garner a negative review, but that anyone couldn't love these characters as much as I did. It's all in their portrayal...I know somewhere, some way, my writing let the reviewer down because it certainly wasn't the characters. They're amazing. They're people I'd love to meet in real life.
Especially Elle. People often wonder if I model my characters on "real" acquaintances, but the answer is yes and no. Yes, in that just as in real life, everyone we touch influences us and vice versa. So, everyone I touch influences my characters. And no, I've never consciously used someone's personality traits, physical appearance, etc. in my writing. And Elle is probably the furthest from anyone I've read or seen of any of my characters. She's unique and I'd like nothing more than to meet a person who is her real life counterpart, but I don't hang much with black ops agents (except in my books ::g::).
Watching her reaction to Beau was the most fun I've had in an age.
Well, next to watching my daughter fall in love and get engaged. Who says romance novels are the only source of drama? LOL Just watch two nineteen year olds discover they're head-over-heels. My mom watched me at the same age, but I had no idea how it would be from this side. I remember calling my mom in tears for advice - and she gave really good advice. Now, I'm the one getting the calls, or the visits to my bedroom before I'm even up in the morning. And yeah, I love it.
I love being the mom of the bride-to-be and am so honored she comes to me when she could go to her friends for insight. I guess she sees her dad and I still totally in love after more than 20 years and she wants that too. It's what I write for my characters...happy endings that are really beginnings of a life together that will bring a lot more joy than pain (or that is the hope). But that will never be perfect, or even perfectly lived.
If romance novels show nothing else, they show us that real love is worth fighting for and worth sacrificing for.
In The Spy Who Wants Me, Elle learns that fighting for love isn't at all like putting an opponent out for the count. And maybe she teaches Beau a thing or two about emotion - but to find out what, I guess you'll have to read the book. And if you're feeling really generous, maybe you'll email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know if you fell as in love with my characters as I did.
You all know I would love to meet Elle in real life, but how about you? What character (and from what book) would you most like to meet in person? And if you got to meet them, what would you do? Would you ask them questions, or would you want to do something with them? I'd like Elle to teach me how to disarm an opponent. :) Leave a comment and your email addy and I'd love to give away a signed copy of THE SPY WHO WANTS ME as well as two copies of the mass market release of Star Quality.
Hugs to all,