I’ve mentioned once or twice that my husband will never find himself as a main love interest in one of my stories. I don’t know about my readers out there, but I know for a fact my friends and family always try to connect dots between fiction and reality.
And the truth is, it can be a very fine line. In my first book, the dedication page says, “To the Real Life Elle…” As I wrote the manuscript, the character of Elle took on the personality of a person whom I have valued and treasured for a very long time. Something inside of me wanted to grab my dear friend’s hand and take her on an adventure. So I did.
I won’t deny I’ve borrowed personality traits from my inner circle. I have a whole world to create full of siblings, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. The natural assumption of a lot of people is that the leading man is my man. To be honest with you, I think my husband was a bit disappointed to not be able to find a character walking around my fictional world that acted, talked, and well….ya know, like he does.
But as I’ve said before, my husband is the good in every book.
A friend of mine who beta reads my books and who has read my yet to be published Waiting for Autumn asked me what it was about men who built things that I liked so much. Dean was a furniture maker, Max was an Architect, and Nick (who you will love) spends his time building a fortress of solitude deep in the woods. I don’t think I realized that I constantly put tools in my men’s hands, but when he pointed it out as a pattern I knew exactly why.
My husband builds things. He’s a very busy guy so projects are few and far between, but I love that he can. When we bought our first house, it was nothing short of a crack den. Without proper training, or any practice, my husband went to the library and checked out every how-to book they had. He gutted our house down to the studs, and built me a happy little home to bring our new baby to. Still to this day, though we no longer live there, when I look at pictures, I feel the pride I had in him. In the years since there have been dozens of little things my children and I have asked him to fix or build. Knowing that he can, and watching him work is one of my favorite things about him.
One of my first public appearances was at a book club that had graciously decided to read my book and welcome me as a guest. One of the members mentioned how what surprised her the most about the male characters was how each of them were different, but they were all traditional in their own way. It was very clear to her that each man in Rising Ridge had a deep set of core values.
If I had to pick a favorite thing about my husband, it would be this.
When we met, we were very young. He had long hair, drove a motorcycle, and had a ridiculously wild personality. He was that guy at the party. But what I discovered as I spent more and then all of my time with him, is that how the wildest guy I’ve ever known is the most traditional guy I’ve ever known. Whenever we’d go out on a date, he opened doors for me. To this day, he still does. He waited until he had a college degree in hand, a roof to put over my head, and a job to support me before he asked me to marry him. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to get married all that time, it was that he wanted to make sure he could give me the life I dreamed of. He didn’t want me to regret my choices. He’s financially supported me since the day we got married, and though it means the world to me, I think it means so much more to him to be a provider. He is a very active, hands-on father and he drives the value of education and honesty into our children’s little minds. He believes in being a valuable member of society, and spends the bulk of his free time in a volunteer capacity for one of our town organizations. He’s a patriot, through and through. He believes in the value of being not only an American, but making yourself of value to the cause. While his uniform only includes a suit and tie, I will leave you with this: One time, that man kissed me and our child and left us standing in safety as he ran back into a burning building.
If it’s the right thing to do, he does it. No short cuts, no taking advantage of situations.
Character development in a story is a big thing. At the beginning of the story you’ve got a girl who, whether she knows it or not, hasn’t come into her own just yet. There’s always a voice of reason. A song of encouragement. A reminder to step back, and breathe. In Rising Ridge, my sweet Rohan was as sexy and as chill as they came. Rather than direct Olivia down a path that would only serve selfish wants, he reminded her to find her own way. To stop asking why, and start asking why not?
My husband always reminds me the importance of why not…
In The Dreamer, Claire idolized the love that her grandfather had for her grandmother. She wanted that for herself. Her grandfather was super silly and still kissed his wife of fifty years on the cheek and told her he wished for fifty more.
When I was little, there was an episode of The Cosby Show that defined what I wanted to find in a marriage. A simple little moment set to the tune of In a Sentimental Mood.
My husband has twelve other place he could sit or lay in our house. But he will pass an empty couch to lay with me while I’m reading a book. I hope that never changes.
He has given me a life time of moments set to the tune of In a Sentimental Mood.
In my latest book, my main character is hell bent on doing things for herself. Except nobody can take on the world alone. If you’re very lucky, you have a person or two who hold you up. A person who knows what you need, and makes it happen. A person, who when the world turns its back, has always been on your side. And a person who moves heaven and earth to fix the unfixable.
For more than half my life, my husband has been the fixer of the unfixable.
One single character could never hold the value of this man.
Happy 15th Anniversary, my love.