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Fun Friday–This Guy Just Won’t Leave Me Alone!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Okay, so we all know that I’m supposed to be writing Follow the Heart, the first book of The Great Exhibition series. And with these two guys as the templates for the leading men, it shouldn’t be all that difficult, right?

Henry Cavill as Andrew Lawton and Lee Pace as Christopher Dearing

But I have a problem. You see, a week or so ago, I was “template shopping” on my favorite stock photo site, and I ran across this guy (click thumbnail to see larger image):

All my creative energy the last few days has been spent on the character that is forming around this template. At first, I thought his name was Preston, but then that didn’t feel right. I went through several other names (Rob, Patrick, Brian, Gary), but none seemed to be working. I think I have a name now, but I’m not sure.

Here’s what this character has revealed to me about himself so far:
He’s forty-four years old. He graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with some kind of engineering degree in addition to his Military Science focus with being in ROTC. He served in the Army for sixteen years, leaving in 2004 after two back-to-back tours in the Middle East with the 101st Airborne (I haven’t researched any of this, so if that’s impossible, please forgive me). He’s now a senior pilot with a charter-jet company flying out of Nashville. He likes to read, obviously. He’s never been married, but dotes on his nieces and nephews. He has four siblings: two older sisters, a younger brother, and a baby sister (he’s right in the middle). His oldest niece (who’s in her early twenties) is getting married in a few months and, because her own father is out of the picture, she asked her doting uncle to give her away. His parents were peace activists during the Vietnam war, so they weren’t really thrilled with his choice to go into the Army. He sings in choir at church (bass) and is good at it.

I think he finally revealed his name to me: Philip Bradford Jacobs IV—going by Brad, since his dad goes by Phil. But his mom calls him Peanut, because of his initials.

And . . . what? Who is this guy? What else does he like/do? What are his big internal and/or external conflicts? What’s the issue from his past he just can’t get over (until he meets the right woman who helps him overcome it)?

Most importantly, who is the woman who would be the right match for a guy with these stellar qualifications and experiences?

Maybe if y’all can help me figure out who he is and what his story is, he’ll finally leave me alone so I can get back to Andrew and Christopher!!!

  1. Friday, September 2, 2011 4:42 am

    Sorry, no help from me…just popping in to say, it’s so amazing how your mind works! I love it!! Happy Labor Day!


  2. Friday, September 2, 2011 6:38 am

    You are too funny, girl. 🙂


  3. Friday, September 2, 2011 8:10 am

    Okay, Kaye, with any man who has served time in a war, no matter if they saw combat or not, you’re going to have some kind of mental blocks. My husband is dealing with bouts of depression–some work related– but he spent a year in Iraq and saw some things 1 he won’t tell me about 2 I don’t want to know about. And my husband never saw combat.

    If you stick with the 101st Airborne idea–man they get all the credit–you’re going to have more deep seeded issues. You have a goldfield of conflict in just those 2 tours, especially depending on which country he was in too.

    Well, an idea struck me–taking from several incidents my hubby witnessed that he did tell me about–Iraqi kids hurt in some way or another came to the hospital on the base where my husband was stationed–it was backed up against the Chapel. What if Brad brought in an injured child and got attached to he/she and something happened–child didn’t make it, or Brad’s deployment was up and he had to leave the child behind and he can’t stop thinking about him/her?

    I could come up with ideas in this area all day. <};^)


    • Friday, September 2, 2011 9:06 am

      Ooh, Winter. You have some great ideas here!


    • Friday, September 2, 2011 10:19 am

      Winter is thinking along the lines I was – he’s seen something to do with either a child or a woman that has skewed his thinking about whether he wants to put himself in the position of caring for either. Maybe he was betrayed? Whatever it is, he sounds positively yummy. 🙂


  4. Sylvia M. permalink
    Friday, September 2, 2011 10:36 am

    Why does he have to have a major past issue to overcome? It sounds like he comes from a loving, stable, middle-class family so why would he? I think he’s just a workaholic who is focused on his career and hasn’t really had the time or opportunity to look for a wife.


    • Friday, September 2, 2011 10:39 am

      One thing I know, sometimes guys can come from great, loving families with wonderful examples of married love, and still have hang-ups. I have a friend who has great parents, siblings in happy marriages, and in his 40’s is very skeptical about the whole thing, for HIM. Basically, he’s a great guy, but a little on the selfish side. The workaholic angle could definitely work for somebody like that.


  5. Friday, September 2, 2011 10:41 am

    PBJ – Peanut. LOL I love it! He’s cute too, no wonder he won’t leave you alone. Besides, you can’t start writing one story without several others popping up too, it’s part of the creative juices working overtime. 🙂


  6. Friday, September 2, 2011 11:12 am

    Okay, second time trying to post this, hopefully I can remember everything I posted previously. 😦

    Instead of Brad, maybe stick with Bradford or B.J. As for him, we know he is a pilot, reads a lot, a bachelor, parents are peace activists, and he sings in the choir. Maybe look into fencing? Saber fighting (goes with fencing)? rock climbing? hiking? As for internal conflict: instead of a child being killed in front of him (overused) maybe he had to kill a teenager or woman who was part of Al Qaeda/Taliban/insurgents. Or saw a very close friend next to him killed by an IED. He could be an insomniac. Slightly paranoid (comes from military training–always looking over his shoulder, sitting in corner/back booth at a restaurant to be able to watch the exits).

    Oh, and there could be a part where he talks about training for the Rangers and decided that it was definitely NOT him. Vice–he tried to curb his language at times, but things kinda slip out. 🙂 get creative!!

    as for the woman: she doesn’t try to change him, understands his quirks and without him telling her, she automatically accommodates him, i.e., she chooses the chair/bench that puts her back to the door, walks on his left side to keep his firearm side free (he would have his permit to carry). She would be artistic-creative, sensitive-empathic, go with the flow type & spontaneous, loves challenges (and doesn’t care if she loses, it was the fun she loved) & spontaneous, hippie/cowgirl who believes in Ecclesiastes.

    I think I remembered everything… oh!!
    She is the peaceful stream to his turbulent river and together they create the serene pool at the foothills.



  7. Friday, September 2, 2011 12:23 pm

    For the love of Andrew and Christopher…
    Brad (my huz’s name) could be a perfectionist, and although attracted to the woman, she is very casual, all the time in the world, creative sort. He could enjoy outdoor extreme sports, but is very competitive, needs to do it the best, where she just wants to enjoy the experience. He very task/goal oriented, she more big picture/non-profit organizer type. She might feel like he is scrutinizing her. Maybe he teaches her how rock climb or something. She teaches him to enjoy life and the process. He helps her to accomplish some of her shorter term goals with more of a punch. Punch? Maybe she is a kickboxer or Zumba – can he keep up? Maybe she works for a Christian unplanned-pregnancy center, loves kids. Maybe he doesn’t want children, thinks he’s too old, too late, too ____ – why? What happened BEFORE he went into the 101st. Maybe she wants to go on a special mission trip and seeks his involvement because of his experience…maybe they need a pilot. But the experience will challenge him and cause him to face his past?
    OK, enough of my brainstorms…


  8. Charmaine Gossett permalink
    Friday, September 2, 2011 4:20 pm

    My son didn’t marry until age 40. He was busy getting his academic career on line. During that time a lot of his male friends married and went though divorces. He “nursed” three of them through the healing. He let them do a lot of talking while they went jogging every morning. Talk it out, get the mind on other things. Move on. I think he learned a lot about how to pick out a good wife because he sure got a good one.
    Personally I like strong men, not whinners and complainers, poor me, I’ve been through so much, I’m so sensitive. Life is hard. Buck up and quit wallowing in self pity. Bad things happen to everybody.


  9. Kelly permalink
    Friday, September 2, 2011 5:07 pm

    Point of clarification at some point your main hero would have to learn how to fly since the air force pilots the plans the 101 drops out of. If he did so some flying in the Army it would have had to been as a helicopter pilot.

    Secondly (this is a pet peeve of mine) is resist the temptation to put this poor guy in some sort of special forces unit (Rangers, Delta Force etc) its way over used to the point of being a stereotypical and the Army is a very large ecosystem and some of my friends had some pretty interesting jobs out side of going in and kicking doors down (ie had a friend who was a medic)

    I have had a few ex-military instructors and as far as hobbies go they were all very mechanical. In their spare time they built things. One build a wooden trenchant and was asking students to bring in bowling balls they didn’t want because he was running out of ammo for it. Another was building a radio from scratch. Both of them were computer hardware instructors. So anything that involved building things would work just fine.


    • Friday, September 2, 2011 5:29 pm

      Oh, yes, I know he’d have to take piloting lessons and qualify to be a pilot. But he has a love of being in the air—whether it’s jumping out of helicopters or flying planes.


    • Friday, September 2, 2011 5:40 pm

      Ah yes, my husband is a mechanic/welder/wood craftsman/builder. He loves to build and fix things. Unfortunately, he’s easily distracted and sometimes things are left unfinished and scattered.


  10. Charmaine Gossett permalink
    Friday, September 2, 2011 5:49 pm

    I’ve thought of more. Re my son’s friends who went through a divorce. Some of the women were beautiful and talented, but had a princess complex. Thought they were to be treated super special. Beautiful, yes, but on the inside were selfish, self-centered, and etc.
    Kaye, here is an opportunity to have the hero fall in love with the inner beauty and character of the heroine, who might just be OVERWEIGHT. He’s chased by fluff headed dumb blondes, but he is captivated by the over weight woman. Not that she is a dog to look at. Many overweight girls are good looking.
    As for being a pilot, there is a huge industry of small aircraft. My son got a pilot’s degree at MTSU and teaches aerospace there. His wife is an airplane mechanic and looks like a tall graceful ballerina. I don’t know about the military, but there are plenty of jobs for private aircraft pilots.
    Sounds interesting. Keep us informed.


    • Friday, September 2, 2011 6:40 pm

      Charmaine, it’s almost guaranteed in one of my books that the heroine will be larger than “average”—in other words, at least a size 14 if not higher.


  11. Renae permalink
    Friday, September 2, 2011 7:48 pm

    I’ve never posted before, but your idea is intriguing. My cousin is the chief of the fire dept on an air base and says the worst thing for pilots is a cockpit/engine fire. What if his copilot got caught in something like that because Brad was late or thought he did the preflight check incorrectly, thereby losing his “ability” to fly mentally? But he’s determined to forge on (or help his maimed copilot overcome his injuries to fly again.) or maybe he tries to regain his ability to pilot by retaking lessons on smaller/other aircraft (teacher is the woman or copilot’s OT?). Or he’s forced to take a female psychologist with him while he flies due to medical order?


  12. Tammy permalink
    Friday, September 2, 2011 10:26 pm

    16 years military service and getting out in 2004 means he would have probably served in the first Gulf War as well. If he had served in Iraq and Kuwait, then after 16 years he would have a rank of some kind. Either way, he has seen many things.

    The idea of a child being in the mix is intriguing. It actually could involve a child that he had met during the first Gulf War and then comes across again when he returns to Iraq. Maybe the child is now a teenager and is willing to help the man who once saved her. I believe there were locals who helped the military in the early years. Through helping the military, the child is killed by a road side bomb. Brad, knowing that the child was only there because of him, carries the guilt the youth’s death. It’s that guilt that causes Brad to leave the military shortly thereafter.

    Once home, he does everything he can to stuff the memories of the girl. He fills his life with everything from singing in the church choir to being “johnnie-on-the-spot” for anything his nieces and nephews need. Flying the charters allows him another way of staying busy. It could be that Brad is the contracted pilot for some CEO and must be ready to go at any time. The busyness of his life keeps him from making any real connections outside of family.

    Until one day . . . he gets a “happy birthday” message on his facebook account that his nieces and nephews made him set up from a girl he sorta knew back in high school or even a friend of one his siblings or the shy soprano in the choir . . . who happens share the same birthday . . . a conversation begins . . .

    As for the girl, she is a romantic yet practical too. She has seen Brad in the choir, listened as those around her talked to him about his nieces and nephews and his flying. They may have shared a passing comment or two, but never a realy conversation . . . until she decided to send her facebook message. Something that she had posted causes him to respond . . .

    I don’t know where from there.


  13. Sylvia M. permalink
    Friday, September 2, 2011 11:52 pm

    Use your personal experience with your new job. His lady is a part-time church secretary and also does house cleaning. Okay I just said housecleaning because I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where the heroine cleans houses for a living. I know lots of people who do that so why not write about it? Do his parents live in Nashville? Maybe she cleans their house (or his) and that’s how the two of them meet. You should sneak Anne Hawthorne in as the wedding planner for the niece’s wedding. Anne does do out of state events doesn’t she?


  14. Jill permalink
    Thursday, October 6, 2011 2:11 pm

    Maybe he could secretly be a father…


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