Who here has fallen deeply, irrevocably in love with a character from a novel or series you read all the time? And then, inevitably, had to say goodbye to said character? Does everybody have a hand raised? Good, ’cause mine is too. We all know the sorrow that comes from reading a beloved character’s last book, but I think it’s safe to say our heartbreak isn’t the same as the emotions an author feels when s/he has to say goodbye to a person s/he created.
New York Times bestselling author Emma Chase knows exactly what that feels like, though. And she’s stopped by XOXOAD to talk about how hard it was leaving Drew Evans from her Tangled series and how amazing it was to create the new characters in her brand-new Legal Briefs series!
The first installment in this new series, OVERRULED, is on sale April 28, so be sure to pre-order now!
I still feel a little thrill when I write his name.
Drew Fucking Evans. My sexy, irreverent, genius, foul-mouthed Frankenstein.
I love Drew Evans. I will always love him. I loved living in his head and writing in his voice. I remember the times I typed his words and shook my head, thinking Oh, Drew. I also remember typing some of his thoughts and debating, Can I write that? What I feel for Drew is somewhat similar to how I feel about my first child. I don’t love my second child any less, but there’s something different about “the first”.
Because they made you a parent.
You learned what to do and what not to do, through them, with them – because of them.
I was a writer before Drew Evans, but he made me an author.
There comes a time in every author’s life – it could be after one book or forty – when a character’s journey comes to an end. You’ve watched them grow and change, and become all the amazing things you always knew they would be. You send them out into the world – and their words and thoughts live on in the imaginations of readers who have come to love them every bit as much as you do.
And you say to yourself, now what?
I don’t know if it’s like this for all authors, but for me, there was a period of silence. Days filled with emails and time on social media – dishes and laundry and getting beat by my son in Mario Kart. Days when my laptop stayed closed, the keyboard quiet and my fingers strangely still.
But then the itch started. The niggling in the back of my mind for something new.
Stories would play out in my head when I listened to songs in the car and on the treadmill. New voices wanted to speak, new characters wanted to make me laugh out loud, grind my teeth and then sigh with a dopey, swoony smile.
And the keyboard wasn’t quiet any more.
Many times I’m asked who I envision as my characters. I’ve spent not unpleasant hours searching google images, stock photos and Pinterest, for that perfect face, body and smirk.
Stanton Shaw began as Matthew McConaughey (still not sure if I’m spelling that right). Matthew in Dazed and Confused. All right, all right, all right. Matthew in A Time to Kill. I want to tell you a story. I’m going to ask you all to close your eyes while I tell you the story. And Matthew in How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days If you are gonna name my member, you have to name it something hyper masculine. Something like Spike, or Butch, or Krull the Warrior King!
But then, as Overruled’s first scene turned into the first chapter, something magical happened. Stanton wasn’t Matthew McConaughey anymore.
He was Stanton Fucking Shaw.
With his own gorgeous look, his own swagger and humor, his own flaws…his own voice.
Stanton is confidently arrogant – with good reason. He’s ambitious and so beautifully loyal. He has a deep, instinctual understanding of respect and right and wrong, and a boundless, fierce love for his daughter. Stanton is fun and sweet, frustrating and stupid – he’s sexy and sarcastic and has the dirtiest mouth.
Once again I found myself debating, Can I write that?
And it was glorious.
Then something even more magical happened. I found myself reaching deeper – stretching farther. For me, my writing has always been meant to entertain, to bring smiles and giggles. But as I wrote Overruled I found a whole new emotional depth – heartwarming scenes of family and friendships, and the sweet nostalgia of hometowns, interwoven with themes of first loves and new loves, and the passion we all dream of. And through it all, there’s the humor that I adore as a reader and can’t live without as an author.
And without even trying, Drew, Kate and James, Matthew and Dee, Steven, Alexandra and Mackenzie, Jack and Erin and Billy, made room for Stanton, Sofia, and Presley, Nana, Jenny and JD, Jake and Chelsea, Brent and Kennedy.
I couldn’t be more proud of these characters, couldn’t be more excited to share their stories. Their journey is a good time – a great ride – and I can’t wait to take it with you.