As a writer, I’m generally in tune with what I see around me. I’m especially observant of people—their looks, voices, thoughts and gestures—those things that eventually synthesize in my brain to create characters of my own that (hopefully) leap off the page and become real in the mind of the reader.
I am terrible with names, so when I meet people I end up “tagging” them with nicknames based on their looks and personalities, often keeping that visual in my head long after I actually know their real names. (Thankfully, I am an introvert and these tags stay in my head and don’t come out of my mouth!)
I am extremely empathetic and often “get” people even if I haven’t spoken to them (watching body language?), but I sometimes find my perceptions change after I get to know a person better. There’s the beautiful, outgoing woman whom I desperately want to dislike just on principle, but who has a wonderful, bubbly personality to match. Who wouldn’t love her? I see a man in a picture and, for whatever reason, I assume he’s short, only to discover when I’m standing right next to him that he’s a good six inches taller than I am. So not short, then. I encounter a woman with a seemingly brash personality who is secretly hurting inside. Or man who at first glance comes off as a snob, and I wonder—could he be a Mr. Darcy, or simply introverted? Just like the picture above–do you see a beautiful woman or an old hag?
As a romance author, my books are all about perceptions and paradigm shifts. I enjoy following my characters as their preconceived notions fall flat and they realize the warmth and depth of the man or woman with whom they were once at odds.
At the beginning of my current release, The Cowboy’s Forever Family, Slade and Laney can’t even stand to be in the same room together. They each have misconceptions about the other, which are tested and upheld or discarded as time passes.
Here’s Slade about halfway through the book:
Slade was anxious to get to the Beckett’s so he could see Laney again, even if only to test his new theories about her—he hesitated to call them feelings.
Somewhere along the way, something had shifted between the two of them and Slade was at a loss as to how to describe it. He only wished he knew what had changed. He couldn’t believe he was admitting this, even to himself, but maybe he’d been unfair in his judgment of Laney. Could his perception of her have been so far off?
It was as if his eyes were suddenly opened and he was seeing her for the first time. He’d always acknowledged her outer beauty, even from the first time he and Brody had noticed her. A man would have to be blind not to recognize how pretty she was with her caramel brown hair and deep chocolate-brown eyes. He’d always assumed that was what Brody had been attracted to—her outward beauty. No doubt that had been part of it. Laney had turned Brody’s head from the very first moment he’d met the gorgeous rodeo princess.
But now Slade wondered if that was all it had been. Had Brody recognized what a treasure he had in Laney? That her sweetness extended beyond her appearance and into her heart?
And then there’s Laney, who manages despite everything to fall in love with the sometimes overbearing but well-meaning bull rider:
She’d learned to depend on his strength and the way he chose a course and then stayed on it. He didn’t just think about how to solve problems—he did everything in his power to fix them, even if he was a little overbearing at times. It was all from the goodness of his heart, and she needed his very presence in her life.
She missed him when he wasn’t with her—his amazing blue eyes, the way one corner of his lips kicked up when he was amused by something, even the way he always pulled his cowboy hat low over his brow when he didn’t want anyone else to see what he was thinking.
She loved everything about him. She loved him.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little peek into The Cowboy’s Forever Family. I absolutely adore Slade , Laney and Baby Brody and hope you will, too. The book is a March 2015 release from Harlequin Love Inspired and is now available at your local bookstore or Walmart. It’s also available online as a print or eBook at Amazon, B&N or ChristianBook.
I’m giving away one autographed copy of The Cowboy’s Forever Family. Just comment below if you’re interested.
The Cowboy’s Forever Family is trademarked by Harlequin Love Inspired Books and copyright 2015 by Debra Kastner. All rights reserved.