If any of you have followed the blog tours for my Legend Tripping series, you’ll know that, because I’m not a visual person, I like to cast my characters before I start writing, so I’ll have a sort of “cheat sheet” for writing descriptions—and just for keeping them in my head as I write.
For Stumptown Spirits, for instance, I was totally shipping Sterek from Teen Wolf. For Wolf’s Clothing, I was inspired by the young Charles Xavier (James MacAvoy) and Havok (Lucas Till) from the X-men movie franchise. For Clickbait, my inspiration was song and dance.
Back when my kids were in high school, we used to watch So You Think You Can Dance regularly. My sons are both dancers and my daughter just loves reality TV. We even saw the tour for the second season when it hit Portland. (Later on, we had a more personal connection with the series—DS A is now engaged to one of the dancers from season seven.)
I haven’t watched the show since season nine, though, because I loved the winners so much (yay Eliana and Cheon!) that I couldn’t get excited about watching anyone else. In fact, Eliana was my character inspiration for Charlie, Gideon’s BFF in Clickbait (and the heroine of the first Geeklandia book, Lost in Geeklandia.) Lindsay Arnold, who participated in the same season, was my character inspiration for Lindsay, Charlie and Gideon’s roommate and sister of Gideon’s co-hero, Alex. (Her name is totally coincidental, BTW.)
For Alex, I went back a little further to SYTYCD season four and one of my other all-time favorites—tWitch Boss. Not only does he look like my mental image of Alex, he has a lot of Alex’s other qualities too—he’s caring, family-focused, with an offbeat (sometimes goofy) charm.
It took me longer to find my perfect Gideon. In fact, when I was writing Lost in Geeklandia I used a different image altogether—Kevin McHale, who played Artie on Glee. But then I saw the Pentatonix documentary and developed a total author-crush on Mitch Grassi.
Of course, I made a Pinterest board with the pictures. If you’re interested, here’s the link:
The board also includes some pictures from the office remodel at my day job, which I used as inspiration for the build-out in the story; a house that I found in Northwest Portland that’s a perfect avatar for “the Pettygrove house” where Gideon and Lindsay live; and the house in Westmoreland that looks the way I picture the Hennings’ house.
Ah, the trials of a non-visual person. Thank goodness other people (like my amazing cover designer, L.C. Chase) don’t suffer from the same dysfunction!
After the disastrous ending of his first serious relationship, Gideon Wallace cultivated a protective—but fabulously shiny—outer shell to shield himself from Heartbreak 2.0. Besides, romance is so not a priority for him right now. All his web design prospects have inexplicably evaporated, and to save his fledgling business, he’s been compelled to take a hands-on hardware project—as in, his hands on screwdrivers, soldering irons, and needle-nosed pliers. God. Failure could actually be an option.
Journeyman electrician Alex Henning is ready to leave Gideon twisting in the wind after their run-ins both on and off the construction site. Except, like a fool, he takes pity on the guy and offers to help. Never mind that between coping with his dad’s dementia and clocking all the overtime he can finagle, he has zero room in his life for more complications.
Apparently, an office build-out can lay the foundation for a new relationship. Who knew? But before Alex can trust Gideon with the truth about his fragile family, he has to believe that Gideon’s capable of caring about more than appearances. And Gideon must learn that when it comes to the heart, it’s content—not presentation—that matters.
Now available from Riptide Publishing. http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/clickbait
About E.J. Russell
E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer, and business-intelligence consultant. After her twin sons left for college and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class, she returned to her childhood love of writing fiction. Now she wonders why she ever thought an empty nest meant leisure.
E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, the only man on the planet who cares less about sports than she does. She enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.
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To celebrate the release of Clickbait, one lucky winner will receive $25 in Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 10, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.
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