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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Meeting Steven

Earlier this week, a wonderful friend and incredible reviewer posted a Character Spotlight on Gracie Lang and Steven Kessler, the main characters in Ransomed Dreams. The Character Spotlight was one of Rel's (Relz Reviewz) many amazing ideas and I was honored to participate.

In the Character Spotlight, I alluded to a story that I've been asked to tell. A story that I cringe to share because it's a tad embarrassing. But it explains why I won't ever look for one of my characters in real life again. So, red face aside... here goes.

My family and I attended a mega-church for over a decade. One Sunday, well before Ransomed Dreams was published, I was sitting in service, minding my own business, and in walked Steven Kessler and his four-year-old son, James.

I about fell out of my chair. Then I nudged my husband, David, and pointed, giggling like a schoolgirl. He agreed that this man and his son looked just like he'd pictured my characters.

Well... the father and son sat right next to me. And "Steven" asked for a pen because his son wanted to take notes. He smiled and it felt like a scene right out of Ransomed Dreams. This guy was Steven.

After that Sunday, David and I would see this man every Sunday. And we'd smile and gawk at Steven being at our church.

This went on for three years.

We'd see "Steven" and smile and I'd get red-faced and giggly. David always gave me a hard time about how I should go meet my character. I always said, "No way." It got to the point where "Steven" would spot us and do the same smile and laugh thing.

Then one evening we ended up at a youth leader's social event where I saw “Steven” and found out "Steven" and his wife taught juniors. David and I co-taught high school seniors with two other couples. So here we all were.

Once again, David nudged me to finally meet the guy and tell "Steven" why we see him and laugh.

So David and I introduced ourselves and we all got to talking about why we spot each other and laugh. As I'm telling the original story, David slips away and ends up standing behind "Steven" while I keep getting myself into more and more trouble.

It all went downhill fast when I started telling this guy about how he looks just like my awesome FBI hero and how the "real" Steven is this amazing, good-looking guy.

My husband is behind "Steven" crying he's laughing so hard.

Then it gets worse.

I keep going and tell "Steven" how even though the FBI agent in my story is so wonderful and how he looks just like him, I really haven't been flirting with "Steven" at church when we've seen him. Really.

And I kept trying to dig myself out of this verbal hole. Which, as you all know, leads to a deeper and deeper hole.

Finally, my husband stops drying his eyes and rejoins the conversation. Poor "Steven" doesn't quite know what to make of me and goes to find his wife. She joins the conversation and the story gets retold.

By this time I'm so red I look permanently sunburned.

Not too long after our conversation "Steven" and his wife leave the party with a "let's get away from that crazy person" look directed my way.

Then, not two months later, "Steven" and his family moved...

Out of state....

Far away from that crazy writer.

Somewhere in the US "Steven" is now attending church and probably thanking the good Lord he no longer knows anyone who writes.

And that's why I will never look for one of my characters in real life again. Ever.


Beth said...

That is so funny. I can't believe you actually found someone who looked like the character you imagined.
I know what it's like to digg a hole and fit both feet in your mouth. So I sympathise with your embarassment.
I guess if your ever asked to give tips at a writers conference, this would be the one you'd give - "Don't EVER look for your characters in real life."

Amy Wallace said...

I will definitely give this "don't EVER look for your characters in real life" tip when I teach. ;-)

Glad you enjoyed the story. It's funny to me too... now. ;-)

Sunny said...

Oh Amy! I was hurting for you just reading that! Thanks for sharing your painful story. Just think, you might have just prevented the same thing from happening to someone else! ;o)

Tracy said...

Thank you for sharing that hilarious tale Amy. Yes, I'd suggest you go with the commitment not go to go looking for or 'meet' any other characters....although it would make for more funny stories :)

I feel all blushed and embarrassed for you!

Kim said...

Oh Amy! That makes me blush! And your husband laughing so hard just behind the "character"! Goodness!! No wonder you were flustered!

It does seem like the guy would have been just a little flattered though. Oh well, let's just stick to our fictional Steven shall we?

Thanks for sharing!


Deena Peterson said...

I can't believe he and his wife weren't flattered!! You should have given them a copy of the book and maybe then they would have "gotten it".

Amy Wallace said...

Sunny, Tracy, Kim and Deena,

Thanks so much for blushing and laughing with me. ;-) I do agree it's better to leave fictional characters in their books. LOL

And who knows, maybe the real life "Steven" will read this post somehow and then I'll get to send him a book. Real life is stranger than fiction. ;-)

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