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I’ve got something a little different for you today.  Stephanie Wardrop, author of the SNARK AND CIRCUMSTANCE series from Swoon Romance dropped by with a character interview.  Well, it started as an interview, but then it turned into a mess of love advice and sneak author-ness.  It’s so mean when authors won’t tell their characters how things are going to end up!

IN WHICH I MEET A CHARACTER I CREATED AND DISPENSE LOVE ADVICE

A few days ago, I was sitting in my favorite locally-owned coffee shop, revising some odd chapters of my WIP, when one of my favorite characters walked in. I recognized him right away and was, as you could probably guess, surprised to see him in the flesh, right there in the real world, which I often forget about when I’m caught up in a fictional one. I wasn’t sure he’d recognize me, but he did, and he seemed kind of embarrassed to have run into me. Still, he walked over to my table after he got his drink and rather shyly took the seat across from me while I fought to keep it cool.

No one wants to see a soy chai latte spit take.

I said, “Hi, Michael. It’s so nice to see you!”

He nodded stiffly and looked down at his steaming cup of dark roast for a while. Just when I was beginning to think I was hallucinating, he said, “So, you know Georgia, right?”

“Of course,” I sort of laughed. I almost said, “I created you both,” but that carried all kind of unpleasant shades of Victor Frankenstein with it, so I didn’t.

I was glad I hadn’t creeped him out, because he blurted, “So what’s her problem?” He actually blushed a little, which I found completely charming.

“She wants to know the same thing about you, you know.”

He looked at me dubiously but nodded as if this made an inescapable sort of sense to him. He then leaned back a little, sipped his coffee, and said, “ Well, the third installment of Snark and Circumstance, Pride and Prep School just came out, and I don’t come off so well in it.”

“Oh, sweetie,” I said sadly, because I felt a little guilty and I wanted to tell him that it had been almost physically painful for me to put him and Georgia in one of the least romantic scenes ever written in which a boy declares his feelings for a girl.  But I wasn’t sure he would understand that. So I tried to soothe him a little with, “I don’t think that’s true. Georgia doesn’t come out of it looking too good.  In fact, she looks worse.”

“Really?” That perked him up more than the coffee.  For about a second.  Then he sighed and said, “You know how I feel about Georgia, right? Obviously you do. Maybe you could make me not like her? Because she drives me totally nuts, all of the time, but, despite my better judgment, I really like her.”

“Maybe you want to lay off the against-my-better-judgment stuff next time you tell her that,” I suggested.

He frowned and looked up for a moment, but I could tell that he hadn’t exactly become hypnotized by the ceiling tiles. Poor guy. He had it bad. I wanted to give him a hug. He looked so cute but doleful in his maroon Harvard hoodie but I’m not sure what the rules are between fictional characters and writers – especially much older writers – in public spaces.

“Trust me, “ I said softly. “She likes you. She just doesn’t know it yet.”

“Great.” His leg was getting a little fidgety; underneath his long gray track shorts I could see his knee bobbing slightly.

“Look, you guys have a whole other installment of the book to work things out,” I offered.

“So . . . do we? Work things out?”

I leaned back and I’m pretty sure I was smiling a little, in that knowing way grownups do with younger people, that way that so irritates them, and with good reason.

“Well, I can say that it’ going to get weirder for awhile, but . . . some things are worth the wait. And you’re both going to have to take a couple of risks to get there.”

He nodded and looked down at his coffee again, but there was a smile playing at the corners of his mouth.

“Hey, don’t you have a swim class to coach in Netherfield?” I reminded him and he nodded as he rose out of his chair.

“It was really nice talking to you!” I called as he made his way past a group of ten-year-old girls in lacrosse gear to the door. He waved as he pushed open the door to the cooling autumn air.

He’s just going to have to wait ‘til it all wraps up in Prom and Prejudice.  I hope you’ll be there, too, when it happens.

Visit Stephanie’s website to learn more about SNARK AND CIRCUMSTANCE and her writerly musings.

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