When I wrote my book, I never had any intention to make my male character, Elijah, a bad boy. There are enough of them in fiction right now. I know the appeal…brooding, dark-eyed, walks crooked, smiles crooked, (what is it with all the crookedness)?? bossy, punches people out for no apparent reason, may smoke or drink, wears black all the time (that is NOT flattering) and thinks that his female lead is just another bolt in his motorcycle frame. I grow tired of them, even though they are fun to read sometimes. I prefer dysfunctional male characters over dark, chauvinistic ones. Give me a messed up head over huge biceps any day.
I’ve had some good feedback on my good boy in The Sharing Moon. Elijah is no angel, despite what the novel portrays. He has a huge secret. But he is loyal and sweet and very protective of those he loves. He wears typical teenage clothes with color and plays sports that he really doesn’t want to play. He is both gorgeous and emotionally tormented. And he does punch someone out. But I still know inside that he won’t sell like the rebels do. I know that as I write the follow-up about Damian, the bad guy, I may get more readers.
Writing someone refreshingly compassionate however, was easier than I thought. As long as he was beautiful on the outside too. So Elijah is. He’s tall. He’s dark-haired. He’s long-limbed and clear skinned and his only flaw, which doesn’t count, is a gap in his front teeth. (Thank you Taylor Swift). Unfortunately in our human psyche, characters have to be beautiful or most young adults won’t read about them. By going the young adult route, I took a risk in creating someone who is handsome but cares about his female counterpart right away, instead of later on. He smiles at her with that smile, instead of shooting her daggers and undressing her with his really blue not brown eyes. As a mother, I found it inappropriate for me to write Elijah as a sex crazed machine. I have a nearly thirteen year old daughter. But he’s still a normal, formerly dead, hormonal boy. I just wrote the those parts in a very respectable manner. YA authors that I typically read have done a wonderful job making the hero and heroine the focal point rather than sex. The books that I’d let my daughter read or that I’d recommend have no sex scenes in them at all. Or if they do, they are married by the fourth book and have earned honeymoon sex. (it’s been thousands of years for Edward, the poor guy).
Elijah is a stand up young man with all of the qualities mothers and fathers want for their daughters. If I’d made him out to be bad, it would have spoiled the entire experience for me. I compromised instead, and gave him the things that girls love and the things that parents do too. By the time I was done, I fell in love with him myself. My husband won’t mind my saying so since some of Elijah at eighteen is Chris then too. Except Elijah didn’t spend hours in jail when he forgot to pay an old speeding ticket. (Shh!) The point being that a little bit of swag with the giant bonus of caring still makes Elijah hot. At least, that’s what some of my readers have told me. A balance is good. So although my main character is the type you could bring home to Mom and Dad, you still might not want to, since he used to be dead and all that stuff.
Nice boys and bad boys win hearts, depending on whose heart it is. But in the end, each of those guys has a little of both in each other. Neither one of them will ever finish last.
Til next time,