I hope I accomplished just that. There aren't many books out there where the main character is a male and the author is a female, or vice-versa. I worried that I wouldn't be able to connect with the male mind enough to make the Jared's character believable, but I believe I was able to pull it off. It took a lot of observation on my part. I would catch myself paying close attention to how my brothers and husband would react to certain things.
I have never had to deal with addiction in my life, personally, however there are some people I know that have, and I have heard stories of people who have loved ones dealing with it. I tried to convey the hopelessness one feels when they are plagued with something so controlling. I wanted Jared's character to be relatable to many. I hoped that when people would read my story that they would grow alongside Jared and learn how to handle their struggles.
I patterned Lynn's character after my younger sisters in many ways. I took a little of all of their personality traits and lumped them together into one character, and Lynn was the outcome. I had some sisters who dealt with bullying growing up and others who struggled making friends, and me being the oldest in my family was able to see how this affected them and made them stronger.
Grandpa Miller's character is really the male version of my late Great-Grandma Ruth. She passed away several years ago, but since I could remember she was plagued with dementia. Some days she didn't have the slightest clue to who I was, but other days she would light up when my family would visit her. But, the thing I remember most about her is her stories and how she could always make me laugh, even without trying. One thing in particular that was brought up by her every time I would visit was how someone named Jack was a pilot and was flying his plane to the nursing home to pick her up. I would envision this mysterious Jack character and my grandma flying off into the sunset after his heroic rescue.
The warm springs mentioned in the last section of the chapter is a description of a place in Boulder City, Nevada. I had hiked there with friends when I was in high school and was amazed by this place. A lot of people knew about it, especially young people. I didn't know it existed until the day I went, but that trip and scenery had a big impact on me.
My favorite line in the chapter is when Jared had just left his house to go to the party, after lying to his mother, Kate. He is thinking about how he didn't feel guilty for what he had just done and how he felt nothing.
It was easier to feel nothing.
I think that when people say this and think this, they are just masking a whole flood of emotions behind a hard facade. I wrote that line knowing that Jared was in fact feeling the guilt and sadness and loneliness that accompanies his lifestyle, he just didn't want to admit it.