Thursday 23 May 2013

Guest Post - Chanda Stafford

Falling in Love- One Book at a Time
Chanda Stafford
“Hey, Handsome. Yeah you, over there by the bar. Why don’t you come over and sit with me for a while? I have a main character’s shoes to fill, and you’re just the tall, dark, and handsome bloke to do it. Interested?”
Okay, I’ll admit it. I routinely fall in love. All the time, in fact. My husband would probably be alarmed if all the men I’ve loved actually existed in real life. As it is, if we ever run into a younger version of Harrison Ford or Hugh Jackman (preferably dressed like Wolverine), he’d be in trouble, and he knows it.
As both a reader and a writer, I love meeting the leading man. Not necessarily for the steamy romance, but the archetypes he represents. He’s got to be strong, protective, have a great personality, and a wonderful sense of humor doesn’t hurt, either, and he has to have his own teeth. Wait. That’s a real life dating rule. Sorry. But to be honest, my real life and imaginary lists are pretty much in sync. What I love in books, I also often love in reality as well.
The opposite, however, is also true. I know I’d have a hard time falling in love with someone who has poor personal hygiene, who lives in his mom’s trailer, or who thinks a hot night out is the drive-through at McDonalds. I’ve had enough personal experiences with dating (pre-husband, of course) that could make your hair stand on end. There was this one guy who… never mind. Let’s just say meeting random guys who walk up to you while you’re pumping gas and ask for your number, then actually giving them your number is never a good idea. The end result often includes the wonderful boys in blue and one heck of a lecture telling you never to do that again.
In First, the first book of my Live Once trilogy, published through Red Adept, there are three prominent male characters. Two of them are drool-worthy. The other is an eighty-eight-year-old man, but if you’re into that sort of thing, more power to you. He’s not such a bad guy when you get to know him, either. One of the younger ones, Tanner, is Mira’s first love. Right before she’s set to leave her home, she finds out she and Tanner had been given permission to be married. He’s strong and handsome, but he’s keeping secrets from her and doesn’t seem to trust her to tie her own shoes without his help. But he’s trying to save her life, so that has to count for something, right?
Mira meets the other male character, Will, when she gets to her nation’s capitol, now housed at the Smithsonian Institute. They form a deep, passionate bond, even though Will knows what’s going to happen to her, but is not allowed to say anything. He kindles in Mira a fiery hunger that definitely merits a one-true-love kind of feeling and promises to be there for her, no matter what happens. She starts to imagine a life with him outside the confines of their society, but like Romeo and Juliet, these star-crossed lovers face some pretty monumental obstacles.  He breaks the law to help her, but stands down when she makes a final decision, even though he doesn’t agree with her choice.
Creating the perfect leading male (or female) character is a monumental task. Some writers draw from people they know, be it boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses, family members, or coworkers. Heck, if I started drawing from my family members, I’d have to write a modern rendition of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, with no one sane enough to play McMurphy (including myself).  I know I’ve done it right when it looks seamless and the reader doesn’t see the agony I went through to give my characters the best positive traits and flaws.
Even though they’re not perfect, the leading men in my stories will never ask you to pay for your own dinner, beg for a ride in your car on the first date, or take you home to meet their mothers, who happen to look just like Ted Bundy. Wait. That’s not completely true. If he’s the bad guy, then I’ll probably have him steal some old person’s fake teeth, rock a mullet, and spend his days playing Super Nintendo in his parents’ basement.  But if you’re into that sort of thing, the perfect guy is out there waiting for you, too. 
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Chanda Stafford said...

Thanks for letting me write a guest blog post for your site!

tashtastic12 said...

Great Post!