When I'm beginning a story, I always do a few specific things. The first is mapping out my characters. If you know me at all in real life, you've probably heard (ad nauseam, sorry) that I'm obsessed with the enneagram! I find it fascinating and freeing. More than any other personality test type thing, I love that the enneagram isn't an "excuse" to be a certain way. It's all about what motivates your decisions and interactions with others. You can be unhealthy or healthy, mentally, but those motivations stay the same.
If you're into the enneagram too and are curious, I'm a SOLID type 4. 4w5 to be exact with a social subtype. Learning about the realities of being a textbook introvert and then finding the enneagram helped me to finally accept who I am as ok. If you're also an introvert, a naturally quiet person, an observer, or shy, you've probably experienced some of the same things I did. I heard so many times that I was "backward," that I needed to come out of my shell and try harder, that I should smile more and so on. I internalized that who I was, at my core, was wrong and I spent most of my life trying desperately to be someone else, anyone else, that people might like. It was exhausting. And miserable. So, all that to say, I will forever LOVE the enneagram for giving me permission to be who God created me to be, unapologetically.
Because of that love and my personal experiences, I always use the enneagram when I'm creating my characters. I think about what characteristics I want them to have, what drives them. I also like to consider how they'll interact with their love interest. What will push their buttons? How can they help each other to grow? Sometimes these things are obvious from the get-go and sometimes I have to think about it for a while.
With the characters in "Like a Good Neighbor," I knew immediately that the naval officer would be a classic type 3--driven, ambitious, and very focused--and the love interest would be their opposite, a type 7--adventurous, fun, optimistic and spontaneous. I wanted that struggle in their dynamic.
Fun fact: originally, "Like a Good Neighbor" was going to be a male lead and a female local neighbor! My husband, when I was telling him about my idea, said it would be more interesting if the officer was a woman and I love the addition of her power to their dynamic. He flipped the gender and my heroine, Norah Pierson, was born!
If you've read my prequel novella, "One Night in Waikiki," you've already met Norah. Norah Pierson is a Naval Surface Warfare Officer, serving on a ship based out of Pearl Harbor. She's over 6' tall and very athletic. I imagined her looking like the top right photo, except she has an edgy pixie cut that falls within Navy grooming regulations. I love a strong, bad ass heroine!
Norah meets her match in her neighbor, Ka‘eo Maheloha. And they do not get off on the right foot! Ka‘eo is a 6'5" wall of native Hawaiian muscle with a broad nose, charming smile and long, curly hair. He's a photographer, a property manager, and doesn't have a lot of patience for people who are inconsiderate to anyone he's claimed as ‘ohana.
Together, Norah and Ka‘eo are combustible! Their combined passion could be amazing, if they can ever see eye to eye.
I hope that their story, with so much of what makes real Hawai‘i magic, is the perfect introduction to this series. I love them so much and am counting down the days until I can share their journey with you!