The Always series by Cherie M Hudson is a hard hitting series that sees the characters dealing with major medical issues and breaking my heart. We asked her to write us a guest post and she decided to tell us a little more about Unforgettable leading man Brendon the Biceps.
When Good Characters Get Treated Badly By Their Authors
I created the character of Brendon Osmond basically to avoid doing burpees. Back when I wrote Unconditional (Always, Book One) I was working out with a personal trainer who I called Brendon the Brutal. Thanks to Brendon the Brutal, I lost a lot of weight…and gained a lot of story ideas. Brendon was young, optimistic to the extreme and…well, incredibly well built. But man, was he a hard trainer. There’s a reason I lost a lot of weight and most of it had to do with how hard he pushed me.
Brendon was fascinated by the life an author leads (crazy insecurity, feverish hours of writing, equally feverish hours of freaking out because the words wouldn’t come, sleepless nights, way too much coffee) and would spend quite a bit of my sessions talking about it with me.
One day he asked if I’d ever based characters on people I know. My answer was yes (all authors do, even if they tell you otherwise). Now this question came about while I was in the middle of what felt like a million burpees. I paused mid-burpee (the bit where I’m lying on the ground, just about to explode upward in a maniacal star jump) and suggested I’d base a secondary character in Unconditional on him if I didn’t have to do any more of the torturous exercise.
He agreed. I leapt up and didn’t do a single burpee again. That session.
When I got home and got back to work on Unconditional I introduced the character of Brendon Osmond, aka Brendon the Biceps. Brendon was meant to be a minor character who made an appearance at a party and who was then not meant to be seen again. But boy, did he have other plans. He became a vital part of Unconditional and the story was so much better for it.
I received many emails about Unconditional and in all of them I was asked if Brendon the Biceps would be getting his own story. I knew he would, and I knew exactly what it was going to be.
Brendon is an optimist. Nothing rattles or shakes him. He rolls with whatever life throws at him and deals with it with a smile and a relaxed laugh. That is Brendon Osmond, and that, as an author, is a challenge.
You see, part of the job of an author when it comes to characters is to see them evolve. How do you evolve a character who pretty much has it totally going on? Who has his life planned, who knows the course he is on and is travelling that path with no trouble at all? You tear him apart. You unmake him. You give that character a challenge so insurmountable, that character doesn’t know where to go, what to do, what to think.
I did that to Brendon. I took this character that everyone loved in Unconditional (quite a few readers loved him more than Raph, the hero of Unconditional) and I made his life hell. I made him question the very essence of his life philosophy. I did that to him, and in doing so, helped him evolve. Truly, I did.
I didn’t do that to him just because the inspiration for his character kept making me do burpees every work out session I had. Honest. It may have been the reason to begin with (we authors can be very vindictive when we want to be), but as Unforgettable unfolded in my mind and on my computer screen, I realized I was doing it because the story was the most powerful story I’ve ever written.
That is why a good character had to suffer at the hands of the author that created him. Because when a character like Brendon evolves, I think the reader evolves with him. And in writing Brendon’s story, I evolved as well. Not just as a writer, but as a person.
That’s worth all the burpees I think. Just wish it didn’t hurt so damn much.
Unforgettable is available through Momentum from October 22nd.