Creating a Character, part 2. Sometimes my characters pop in out of nowhere.
Hello good people! This is Wade Kelly. I’ve dropped by Divine Magazine to talk a little about my new novel, Bankers’ Hours. It released today! I’m so excited. I hope you’ve stopped at the previous 5 guest posts in this blog tour, or you have missed out on my characters talking about themselves. I had an interview with Grant, Tristan, and Claire. I’ve also talked about my cover design, and how I come up with characters.
In this stop, I want to talk about how the characters just show up. Sometimes authors talk about the characters talking to them, or the characters writing the book themselves. I’m here to tell you—YES! It happens.
In post yesterday on Oh My Shelves, I said a little about how Grant came to be. A really cute guy who worked at my bank briefly, inspired him. I don’t know that guy, other than his name, but he spoke to me and said, “Write a book about a bank teller!” I worked in a bank myself for a year, so this seemed like a great idea. But, the thought circled in my head, who would be the love interest? For some reason I really liked the name Tristan. It popped into my mind, shortly followed by the idea that he was an auto mechanic.
This totally just happened. I wasn’t pondering it long. I wasn’t making a list of traits the guy had to have r what he’d look like—I just knew. Tristan would be a big, muscular, commanding sort of guy in contrast to Grant being more fragile. Grant is six foot, so he’s not small, but compared to Tristan he feels like he is. Grant is prim and proper. Tristan is rough around the edges and hard working. Tristan is many things Grant could not picture himself with until it happened. All of this info appeared in my head, so I ran with it.
Another character who came out of nowhere was RC in Names Can Never Hurt Me. (Soon to be in audio.) I needed someone different from Nick and RC just showed up. I am fond of the opposites attract idea, so Nick & RC from NAMES, as well as Grant & Tristan from Bankers’ Hours, carry with them the opposite attract feel. In the case of Names Can Never Hurt Me, RC developed into quite a favorite character of mine. He much more depth than I expected. And yes, he wrote himself. RC is also a beautiful compliment to the scatter-brained Nick Jones. Though I have to say—Nick has the best character arch of growth of all the characters I’ve written.
One more character I can talk about in the “out of nowhere” sense, would be Jimmy Miller from When Love Is Not Enough. This was the first novel I published as Wade way back in 2011. I started writing that novel in 2009 when I was on the subway headed to the Mall in DC. I had my notebook with me and this image of a casket popped into my mind. I thought, what would it feel like for a young guy to be at his best friend’s funeral? The first scene I wrote was Matt Dixon running his fingers along the edge of Jimmy’s casket. How surreal that felt. What would push Jimmy to kill himself? How would his death affect the ones he left behind? All of this came out of nowhere. I wasn’t looking for a story about suicide. It was just there. As painful as the story is, the novel fell out of my head.
Again, this is Wade Kelly stopping by Divine Magazine to talk about my new novel, Bakers’ Hours. I wrote it last summer and I think it was the most fun I had writing. It flowed easily in all its quirkiness. I truly hope you all enjoy it.
Before I go, here is a short excerpt. Warning: it’s a first kiss scene! If you don’t want spoilers skip to the end.
Tristan parked. “Good night, Grant,” he said, not even bothering to look at me.
I hesitated to open the door. What was happening? We argued over this being a date or not, him calling me pretty, and now… what? It was over? I was to get out of the car and go into my house without another word? I glanced at him, and then at the door. “Um, bye,” I said feebly. I shut the door and walked to my front porch in a daze. This was not how I pictured a date would end, even if I hadn’t realized we were on one. Ten minutes ago I’d said I hadn’t wanted it to end and now I was going inside with this creeping notion I’d killed my best chance for an actual date. A torrent of emotion swelled. I’d been so stupid.
I fumbled for my keys and dropped them. “Damn it.” I bent to pick them up.
Tristan’s voice behind me caused me to bobble my keys and drop them again. I turned around. “What are you doing?”
“Grant, I… shit, are you crying?”
I stiffened and shrunk back. “No, that’s absurd.”
“Look, this isn’t how I planned it. I wanted to—”
“Humiliate me?” I countered. I was up against my front door, so I didn’t have anywhere to go if he decided to hit me for being a jerk.
His eyes twitched again. I was coming to recognize those ticks were signs of irritation or confusion. He didn’t understand me. Tristan shook his head and squinted. “No, Grant. I wanted to—”
He kissed me. He just dove in and kissed me soundly on the lips. I’d never felt another person’s mouth on mine and it took a second to react. I’d thought once two lips were pressed together they remained that way, but I was wrong. Tristan moved his mouth. He kissed with a grabbing motion where his lips grasped mine before releasing them for another position. His lips nibbled at my mouth as our noses rubbed and our breath mingled.
I felt his hands holding my face on either side, capturing me. I reached up and held his ribs, but as the kissing continued, I encircled his waist in order to hold myself up. I was suddenly lightheaded and woozier than from the beer. I couldn’t breathe. His mouth kept suckling at my lips as if determined to torture me with new sensations that traveled down my body and filled me with tingling, flushes of heat.
I groaned, pulling his body tightly against mine. Something hard pressed against my crotch and I felt a primal need to thrust. I fisted the back of his shirt and tilted my hips, but he drew back, releasing my mouth.
“Please don’t stop,” I pleaded.
He ran his eyes over my face and touched my hair. “No, I think that’s good for one night.”
“But… please? I’m sorry I got sarcastic. You can call me pretty if you want to. You can call me anything as long as you kiss me again. I’ll do anything.” I pleaded. I could hardly keep my eyes open. I still held him around the waist because I feared slipping to the ground if I let go. He made my head spin.
Tristan’s eye twitched. “Grant, I don’t think that’s a good idea. You were angry before. Don’t tell me you’re so easy one kiss can get me into your pants. I thought you were better than that.” He stepped back, pulling out of my embrace.
I reached for him. “Tristan, wait. I’m sorry. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to act.” I slid my hands up his chest and he took a hold of them and squeezed. He sighed and wet his lips. I continued, “You’re the first guy who’s stuck around long enough to kiss me. You’re right, I hate being called pretty, but that’s because there was a guy who called me pretty as a joke. It hurt being toyed with, so when you said it I guess I was shocked you of all people would toy with me. I didn’t understand you liked me, and I’m sorry I assumed you were straight, but I don’t want you to walk away without giving me a chance.”
“Will you tell me one thing?”
I nodded. “Anything.”
“Do you even like me? Or are you throwing yourself at me because I kissed you?”
“I like you. I swear I do. I’ve been dreaming about you for weeks and struggling to think about you purely as a friend because I get hard every time you’re around. I think you’re the hottest guy I’ve ever seen and I can’t believe you’d look at me twice.”
“Grant, that can’t be true. You’re adorable, and yes, pretty even. You’ve got a hotness all your own going on, and I can believe you’re shocked I’d think so. I also can’t believe I’m the first guy to kiss you.” His eye wasn’t twitching, but he was definitely confused.
I was on the verge of tears again, but I hoped I wouldn’t cry. “It’s true. I’ve made it on twelve first dates and not one guy’s walked me to the door and kissed me. A few even left in the middle of the date. I repulse people that much.” I dropped my head. I couldn’t admit how pathetic I was and look him in the eyes at the same time.
Tristan let go of my left hand and pulled my chin up. “Let me clarify a few things. I like you, a lot. You don’t need to doubt that. I do intend on giving you a chance, and I will kiss you again.” I gasped and hedged forward, but he stopped me with a finger to my lips. “Not tonight.” He smiled softly. “I don’t know how you managed to make it twenty-five years—”
“Twenty-six,” I corrected.
“Twenty-six years without a real boyfriend, but it does explain a lot about you. I’m going to take you out again next Friday—”
“But I work Friday until eight. And then I have to count out my drawer, and—”
“Stop interrupting.” He shook his head. “You’re certainly argumentative, aren’t you?”
“Grant, you’re not the only one that’s new at this. I haven’t dated anyone in fifteen years. I’m willing to take a chance on you because your obsessive compulsive need to flip those pens made my heart yearn for the first time in my life.”
“Yes. I’ve never taken the time to see people before, really see them. My life has been consumed with work and my daughter. No guy has ever snagged my attention so strongly that I was willing to alter my lifestyle for a chance at something good. You got my attention, Grant, and despite your belligerence and your OCD, I can’t walk away without trying.”
Join me at the next stop for more.
Even though bankers’ hours leave long weekends for romance, cosmic intervention is Grant’s only option when money doesn’t buy happiness and he’s got virginity in spades.
Grant Adams is a twenty-six-year-old bank teller who’s unlucky at love, yet hopelessly hopeful. After years of horrific first dates, he’s convinced he’s saving himself for true love. Surely he has bad taste in men because it couldn’t possibly be his persnickety nature that’s sent them packing.
Tristan Carr has been in a holding pattern since his daughter was born fifteen years ago, which suits his workaholic lifestyle just fine. This ex-Navy turned auto mechanic never wanted anyone interfering with being a weekend dad. For Tristan to rearrange his perfectly orchestrated life, a guy will need to be special. Or in the case of the newest employee at his bank, the guy will need to be adorable, shy, and open to the prospect of forever when it shows up at his window.
Review by Kim Hay
An Enjoyable Read
We have Grant Adams, a 26-year-old bank teller who has had lots of first dates but no repeats. His self-esteem is nil and he is still a virgin. Then we have Tristan Carr, auto mechanic, divorced father of a teenaged daughter who has been keeping a secret.
When these two meet, Grant is oblivious to Tristan’s flirting for two weeks til he is asked out to dinner by Tristan. Things move at a fast pace from this point on; they’re engaged then married all within a three-week span and still no sex.
Claire, Tristan’s daughter, is adorable who loves her dad unconditionally, ex-wife on the other hand, not.
Quirky romantic comedy with a little Cruella thrown in for good measure.
Was gifted by author for an honest review.
Rating: 4 Stars
Wade Kelly lives and writes in conservative, small-town America on the east coast where it’s not easy to live free and open in one’s beliefs. Wade writes passionately about controversial issues and strives to make a difference by making people think. Wade does not have a background in writing or philosophy, but still draws from personal experience to ponder contentious subjects on paper. There is a lot of pain in the world and people need hope. When not writing, she is thinking about writing, and more than likely scribbling ideas on sticky notes in the car while playing “taxi driver” for her children. She likes snakes, can’t spell, and has a tendency to make people cry.
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