I have two men I love--Alan Manzone from the Half Shell series; Jackson Parker from the Affair without End Series--and each book while the most surprising and easiest of stories to tell, have been the hardest to let go of by releasing them.
I always know who my men are, the backstory in minute detail, whether I intend to give them a POV book or not. What I don't always know is the men themselves. This may sound silly, the exist only in my head right, and they are fictional, but I never really meet the men until I start writing them and they always surprise me.
I remember as I was typing away last summer on Alan's book Broken Crown, I let shaking my head, thinking what are my readers going to think of Alan. He's funny and so darn sweet. I didn't know that, but he is. He told me flat out who he was and I wrote him the way he wanted me to.
I found the same sort of surprise and affection for Jack Parker, as he told me who he wants to be on paper and gave me a few new folksy maxims. He told me very early in his book "Men are often made by the times they live in. I sure as hell was." I wasn't sure what he was trying to tell me. Was he preparing me for the journey he would take with Lena and Linda, or explain, in his folksy way, that he was just a man and I should remember that as he guided me through the pages.
Like Alan, the story I ended with with Jack-- while the series of events exactly as mapped out in my head and the man who I knew him to be--he revealed it to me in a way funny, tender, at times heart wrenching and at other times inspiring. A real man. Good and bad. Flawed. Imperfect. Endearing. In a story that spans decades, one man, two women in a love story woven together in an unpredictable way--even To me.
They've taught me much about myself, my two favorite heroes, and precisely what a hero should be: Alan and Jack.
As ever I wish you Peace.