From Vague Villain to my Fav Hero
When I first started drafting "Like a Good Neighbor" I needed someone to set off the drama between Norah and Ka‘eo. I wasn't too concerned with the character, he just needed to be an obnoxious bro--someone inconsiderate to throw loud parties and frustrate K on behalf of the Hammonds' and their young keiki. Insert Jay. Or, I think he had a terrible name, like Chaz. King Bro. He was that way for the first 25% of the first draft. But I got to that scene, you know the one, where Ka‘eo calls him out. Of course, that was not in the original plan. Chaz/Jay was never supposed to be anything but the jerk roommate. But, as a character, Ka‘eo kept showing me he was perceptive and had this hidden depth people missed out on because he's so fun. I knew that he wouldn't accept the surface impression that Chaz/Jay was simply an asshole. I started seeing how K had put on the alpha guy persona to intimidate Chaz/Jay on their first meeting and suddenly all of the dialogue, about "front seeing front" started flowing. It didn't make sense in context, but I just knew that Chaz/Jay was wearing this party guy persona like a costume and Ka‘eo could see that there was something deeper there. I made myself a note to fix the first part and kept going.
The more I added him into the group, becoming friends, wishing for more in his own life, the more I wanted to dig into him as a character. What would make a young guy pretend to be this shallow, no-attachments kind of a person? What had happened in his past to make being that guy the best option?
I couldn't let go of the idea that there was more to him. And I needed to flesh his story out. The first thing to go was his name. Sorry if this is someone you love, but Chaz absolutely cannot be the hero of a romance. Not one I'm writing anyway! In that one little change, I quickly had an idea for what his family life was like, what made him make the choices he did and, most importantly, what kind of woman would be his match.
Let me tell you, Jameson Dunne is my favorite male love interest yet! He is loyal, steadfast, very family-oriented, and patient. He falls for Wren pretty quickly but this is a slow-burn romance. He values their friendship and wants to do everything he can to support and protect her, even if that means they're nothing more than friends.
I can't even imagine the stories with my original outline anymore! Thank goodness Chaz took a hike and Jameson took his place! I cannot wait for you to fall for him, hopefully as hard as I did. Jameson and Wren's story comes out February 13th but you can preorder now!
(this character art hair is not accurate but it is next to impossible to get curls on Art Breeder!)