´Being True To Your Characters´ by Kimber Vale
I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately. How easy is it for an author to stick out her hand and manipulate characters into doing something she would, or thinking something she does? Having the author’s biases and beliefs? Too easy, sometimes. Perhaps identifying too strongly with one’s fictional characters makes them all nothing more than two-dimensional el cheapo carbon copies of the writer who birthed them. They’d all be paper thin clones of one another after a while, right?
Why am I thinking about this? Well, recently I wrote a character who has a strong reaction to another person’s body piercing. Am I anti-piercing? No. Back in my wild and crazy days I even had one not visible to the public (unless I’d had too much to drink). Do I want readers to think I’m against piercings? Of course not! So, is it okay for my character to be grossed out by some dude’s plugs?
Yes. Yes it is. The character in question is an anal-retentive lawyer. He’s a straight and narrow type (ahem, okay, maybe not so straight after all). He’s a suit and tie kinda guy, practical and pragmatic almost to a fault, and he’s absolutely repulsed by the large gauge plugs another character is sporting. And that’s okay, because that is exactly how he would react.
When I had this revelation, I thought, “Hey, that’s why I do those character profiles!” It isn’t just because they help me think of plot points or make my characters well-rounded and different from one another. It’s because they make my characters real.
And who cares about them if they aren’t real? Nobody. So, strange habits and unpopular opinions, freaky peccadillos and quirky mannerisms, that’s who I’m writing, like it or lump it. Because come the last call, it’s the real ones you want to walk you home, not the cardboard cutouts.
In my book Double Takes, I feel like I know exactly who my lead character, Gio Savale, is. He’s imperfect, yeah, but he’s genuine—real enough to walk off the page. Personally, I’d love to hang out with him. I hope you’ll check out Double Takes and see if you feel the same.
Ah, the life of a rock star. Everyone thinks it’s nothing but sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
Not for Giovanni Savale.
For the lead singer of Three Deaf Mice, a band that reached its pinnacle in the late nineties, it’s nothing but an ugly divorce with a custody battle, money trouble, and now the nightmare exposure of starring in a reality television show. When his producer decides to cash in on an infamous interview Gio did years ago, and give the self-confessed bisexual rocker an onscreen boyfriend, things really hit the fan. Gio is certain his sexual experimentation back in his drug-abusing days meant nothing — after all he’s been married for nine years, clean and sober for nearly as long, and he has a son. And Gio is not remotely attracted to Kyrie, the funny, flamboyant actor they choose for his love interest. Of course, Lance Garrett, the mysterious and sexy owner of the local antique shop, Double Takes, is a whole different story. The guy has Gio planning out a future he never imagined. With the threat of losing all custody of his ten-year-old son, ghosts from the past returning for revenge, and the cameras rolling, can Gio keep his head above water and his heart from getting broken?
“Holy shit. I can’t believe you’re here.”
Lance’s face lit up with a warm smile.
Gio grinned. Holy shit was exactly what he had been thinking. Holy fucking shit. Lance is a god, to be exact. Gio’s gaze swept appreciatively over Lance’s broad chest. His pecs were chiseled and sprinkled with blond hair. Movie star abs rolled down in waves of muscle bracketed by defined ribs. Gio had the urge to count them with his tongue.
“Sorry to show up in the middle of the night. Were you sleeping?” Gio forced his gaze back to Lance’s face. The smoldering hazel eyes and deliciously furry jaw did nothing to reduce the flow of blood to his stiffening cock.
“No worries. Just watchin’ TV. My wild and crazy Friday night.” Lance stepped aside and beckoned Gio in, closing the door behind him.
“Come on up.” He turned and started up the stairs like Gio visiting was an everyday occurrence. Gio followed and examined the tattoo on the guy’s right shoulder as he climbed. It was the top half of a male angel, with shoulder-length hair and outstretched wings. In one hand he held up the scales of justice. Gio couldn’t make out the content of the pans on either side. The words Never Forgotten were scribed inside a sash along his waist.
“You hungry?” Lance asked over his shoulder.
“I just ate a platter of bar food.”
“You were out partying?”
“I had a date.”
Lance stopped in front of his door and unlocked it with the key he had tucked in his palm.
“Can’t be too careful, huh?” Gio said. Cities were cities, but still it seemed a little paranoid to lock your door just to walk down the stairs. Maybe he had an undesirable neighbor.
“Just a creature of habit, I guess,” Lance answered as they stepped into his place. He dead bolted the door behind them. “Too many bad guys out there.”
“And yet you let me in.”
Lance turned to Gio with a serious expression. “Are you a bad guy, Gio Savale? If you are, tell me now.” His face broke into a faint grin. “Yeah, it would shatter a decade-long fantasy. But if you’re here to spend the night, it’ll hurt much worse tomorrow.”
Gio’s stomach flip-flopped. Was he here to spend the night? And was he a good enough guy to live up to whatever Lance made him out to be?
I’m just a guy. Not a god. Not a hero. Hell and gone from perfect. Gio raked a hand through his hair as he searched for the truth. “My life’s a fucked-up mess.” He coughed a laugh. “I’m totally conflicted about even coming here…” He shook his head, asking for understanding with his eyes. “But I couldn’t stop myself.” Gio stepped closer to the man he’d inexplicably wanted since the first moment he saw him. “I’m just a guy who can’t get you out of my head. Is that good enough?”
Lance closed the distance between them. Their bodies nearly touched, and his warm hands reached up to frame Gio’s stubbled cheeks. “That’s perfect,” he said.
Lance’s mouth came down on Gio’s. Exactly how Gio remembered, the same soft strength in those lips called to mind the hot dreams and sleepless nights since their last meeting. When Gio’s nose brushed against him, the same scent of minty soap was on Lance’s cheeks. The smell teased while the kiss deepened and their tongues sought to share a single space.
“Uhhmm…” Lance groaned. The spike of blood to Gio’s dick rivaled a pounding headache, and this man was the only medicine that could save him. Lance’s hands still cupped Gio’s face. They massaged him from outside as his tongue did the same within. Gio slid a hand around the back of Lance’s head, combed fingers through his hair, and pressed their mouths together in a near-brutal meeting.
Lance had a few inches on him, but Gio could still detect hot iron as it rubbed against his lower belly. He pushed up on his toes to meet it with his own thick wood. Gio swayed his hips against Lance’s, ground and thrust into his hard-on while their tongues paced the movement.
Lance broke from the kiss. His mouth trailed rough nibbles across Gio’s jaw and down his neck as he murmured against Gio’s skin.
“Can’t believe this is real. You’re really here.” Lance’s hands slipped under Gio’s shirt and skated over his back, tickling and making him grow harder. Gio pulled the thin cotton over his head and breathed a sigh as skin met skin, the fiery peaks of his nipples teasing against warm flesh and soft fur. He spread his hands over Lance’s ripped torso, palmed a muscled pectoral, and tweaked the erect bead between his thumb and forefinger.
He couldn’t believe it either—couldn’t believe how much this guy turned him on, couldn’t believe this could feel so natural. Without a single mind-altering substance in his body, he still had the guts to follow his fierce instincts.
Gio bent to flick his tongue over Lance’s nipple. That same scent assailed him. Body wash, maybe? Made him want to get in the shower and soap him up. Jerk him off. Or it could be lotion; Gio pulled the hard crest between his front teeth as he imagined rubbing Lance down with a handful of slippery lotion. He sucked the tip into his mouth and Lance arched into him with a guttural sigh. Gio snuck his hands around to grab the guy’s ass and pull Lance’s full cock against him. Fuck. He wanted to taste him everywhere. See if that Irish Spring smell mixed with the musk between his legs for the ultimate aphrodisiac.
With a deft hand, he slid the elastic of Lance’s PJs down the man’s long, full prick. No underwear. A tremor erupted through Gio. It shivered from his neck, down his spine, puckering his nipples. In Lance’s foyer, Gio sank to his knees.
Also watch the “Double Takes” Book Trailer at youtube
Kimber Vale writes romance of all stripes, from hot hetero stories to mouthwatering men falling in love (under the name K. Vale). Keep up with Kimber’s news and follow all her tour stops on her blog: http://www.kimbervale.me and friend/follow her on Facebook and Twitter @KimberVale. Come for the sex. Stay for the story. http://www.authorkimbervale.com