Friday, June 5, 2015

What if They Find Out?

 by Inge Saunders

Dance of Love

All roads lead to Rome when Ashley Solomons embarks on fulfilling her dream to become a world-class dancer. But there’s one person who stands in her way. “It`s a no from me,” Antonio Machiavelli.
When Antonio’s auditions for a lead principal end in wintry Cape Town, the last thing he expects is to have more than a knee-jerk reaction to an audition. Ashley not only verbally challenges him, but also translates her fire and cheekiness into an edge of your seat performance.

Can Antonio keep his distance from Ashley? Can Ashley focus on fulfilling her dream of becoming a lead principal? Or will love have its way?

Ashley Solomons, the heroine of my latest book Dance of Love, is based on a real person.  And not a friend or family member, more an acquaintance. I’d gone so far as to even derive the first name of the character from them to keep me grounded in the ‘mind’ of the person she’s based on. Of course, I can add loosely, but that wouldn’t be truthful.
From the moment I met this person I was fascinated by her, from our interactions I assumed her to be several years younger than me. As it turns out, I`m several years younger. I constantly asked myself, "how can someone be so…naïve." And I don’t mean that in a derogative way, more in an "I’m viewing an alien from another planet" way (which also doesn’t sound good).
I met her three years ago and bonded over our shared writing journey. It was fun to have someone in the trenches with me. We’d email each other updates, share industry tips and also beta read for each other. And here’s another little nugget, we’re in the same writing group *finger on lips*
Now it’s becoming juicy, right? Oh I'm so going to get it when I'm done here!
Those who follow my blog (click HERE) know I’ve shared my struggle with writing Ashley, because we are such different people. My most comfortable female characters are the strong sassy, smart, funny and confident types. Not the I’m going to barf all over your shoes because I have stage fright types. *spoiler alert* Uh yeah, that happens in the book.
As New Adult heroines go, Ashley’s at that phase of her life where she’s carving out her place in the world, trying to work out who she is and where she fits in, AND having to deal with falling in love for the first time. Tough. Certainly not easy at any age, but at twenty-three Ashley fits neatly into this category. She’s uncertain of herself, even though tremendously talented, doesn’t quite believe it.
She’s insecure and though she’s got a bit of spunk, her lack of confidence can trip her up. I literally had to hold myself back from making this character too vocal, too assured and knowing, by walking away from my laptop. I would take a walk, make coffee, watch E-News (don’t throw virtual rotten tomatoes at me), then I’d read an email from this acquaintance and the character would slot back into place.
I feel like I should write her a letter to tell her she’s the inspiration for a character that I developed a deep respect and liking for. ‘Ashley’ taught me how to write characters that are as far from each other as Princess Kate, Duchess of Cambridge aka Royal Mother of future King of England, is from Kim K from the House of Kardashian, now House of Kanye West. As a writer this is a great lesson. We’re constantly required to reinvent with every book we write. And now I’m not talking about voice and writing style, I’m referring to characters who can’t be distinguished from each other.  The heroines and heroes read the same in every book the author writes.
So how do you break from that? Base them on real people. I know. What if they find out? *whispers*
Well two things can happen: either it’s a compliment, or they kick you from here to next Tuesday. Of course, it all depends on what you do with the character. In my first novel I told my cousin, "Look I`m going to borrow your name for the man-stealing harpy, and your hair and your long legs, but not your personality." 
She sent me a text back, "Oh, okay." When she read the book, she laughed. And here’s the thing; art does imitate life. I wrote two sisters in that story too and without realizing, I gave the eldest sister some of my sister’s quirks.
I realized these ‘real life’ aspects made my stories much richer and interesting to me as the author. I love "messing" around with real people on paper *smile*
So my writing tip; use one real person, for one whole character of your story. See what happens *grin*  

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