Monday, 11 July 2011

Character Spotlight ~ Robin Jones Gunn's Bryan Spencer & Carolyn

 Bryan & Carolyn

Prolific author, Robin Jones Gunn is back with a contemporary tale set in the Canary Islands.  Enjoy meeting her latest charaacters.  Over to you, Robin:~

Brief physical description

Bryan is a youthful, midlife single dad from southern California. His only son, Todd Spencer, will be familiar to Christy Miller readers, since Todd is THE Todd in the Christy Miller series and the College Years series.

Carolyn is a young widow who feels like she fades into the background with her medium height and light brown hair.

Actor/famous person

Bryan resembles Dennis Quaid

Carolyn resembles Natasha Richardson but with darker hair

Strengths and weaknesses

Bryan: adventuresome, tender heart  - weakness: avoids conflict

Carolyn: cares deeply for others, is creative  -  weakness: doesn't take care of herself

Your inspiration for the character

I’ve often heard writers talk about how they “hear” their characters’ voices as they’re writing. I know that’s true because that often happens when I’m working on a story.  Katie seems to have one of the loudest voices in my head, but then, that’s no surprise considering her larger than life personality.

With “Canary Island Song” something different happened. I “saw” a character suddenly show up at the end of a chapter. It was Bryan Spencer. There he was, at Abuela’s birthday party, sitting across from Carolyn as if he belonged there.  That’s when I realized he did.

Here’s the interesting part. I had already written the first draft of this book and the hero was a man named Gabriel who was from the Canary Islands. He was nice and interesting but didn’t bring a lot of WOW to the book. I received all the reviews from my editors and first-draft readers and went back to work.  When I got to the birthday party scene, I was rewriting the part where Carolyn looks up to see who was seated across the table from her and in my imagination I “saw” Bryan Spencer’s face and his steady, closed lip grin.  That’s when I knew Carolyn had been pursued by the wrong man in the first version of the book!  Gabriel needed to go find himself another woman. Carolyn and Bryan were perfect for each other.

I then went through and changed the whole book with Bryan as the hero. The story came alive. I couldn’t write fast enough. It was so fun to turn in the revision and hear the chorus of “YES!” from my editors and reader.  Ahhh, love between the right two people is always such a beautiful thing to watch.

Background to the story

When I visited the Canary Islands off the coast of West Africa a few years ago with my writer friend Anne deGraaf we had several extraordinary experiences. We took Flamenco Dance Lessons from a lovely instructor, Lydia, who invited us into her home and spoke affirming, life-giving words as she taught us to "dance from the stomach up".  We visited the church where Christopher Columbus prayed before setting sail for the New World and we went for a camel ride!

The most precarious part of the camel ride is getting on and feeling the beast tip way forward and then way back as he stands under the burden of two women placed on his back.  Once we were in motion I loved the rolling feel of the ride. It was soothing and hypnotic.

After having all these amazing experiences in the Canary Islands I knew that one day I had to try to fit some of the details into a story. "Canary Island Song" is that story and I offer it to readers with a prayer that many of them, just like Carolyn, will "get your heart back".

Thanks for sharing, Robin :)

Relz Reviewz Extras
Review of Under A Maui Moon
Visit Robin's website
Buy Robin's books at Amazon or Koorong


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