Now that I have introduced you to the concept behind "Conversations with Characters," let me get you caught up on what you might have missed if you're not actively following Author JLynn Autumn and Jabbering with JLynn.
The biggest thing that you may have missed is I had to toss the first four chapters of Shauna's book (coming in 2021). I had a rough draft for the first four chapters before I wrote "A Woods Lake Christmas," but I had to toss it. Here's the story behind that:
I'm sitting at my comfy writing spot enjoying the quiet in the house since mini-me is back on her school site for the first time since March 13th. She's been back in school for three or four days at this point, and I still love every moment of silence after seven months at home. I'm a huge background noise person, so there's always a familiar TV show or movie running in the background or music playing, but that wasn't the case once she went to school. I was enjoying the silence.
I open my draft of Shauna's short story and start to type the name of the person I had planned for her to be visiting for Christmas, and suddenly I hear an unfamiliar voice in my head.
Him (because at this point, I don't even know his name): "Nope, stop. That's not what happens. She gets out of her car and runs to me."
Me: "Who are you? She's flying for her Christmas trip, and he's picking her up at baggage claim."
Him: "Nope, that's not how this story plays out. I met Shauna in July on the brewery tour with Brady. I didn't want to be there. I was dragged to it. I noticed her immediately and noticed how the guy she was there with ignored her. He had no idea what he was missing, but I didn't mind because I was captivated by her as soon as I saw her, and I fell head over heels as soon as she laughed. She's funny, witty, smart, and calls people on their b.s. and most importantly, she's mine."
Me: "I love all of this, but I still don't know who you are. Care to introduce yourself?"
Him: "I'm Micah. I'm 32. I own a restaurant with my brother in a small city three hours from Woods Lake. I'm the bar manager and create all the craft cocktails."
Me: "I do not want her to end up with a stereotypical bartender, aka fun time guy, like a lot of romance books tend to portray bartenders. I'm not down with that idea. She needs someone serious, who is going to value her. I'm fine with the job as long as it doesn't come with the overplayed cliche lifestyle."
Micah: "Oh, I'm serious. I'm not a stereotypical bartender from eye-roll worthy romance books. That's trope b.s. and I hate it. I own half the restaurant. I used to be a software engineer and sold my company a few years ago. I took time off work to take photography classes and learn glass blowing and welding. I've always been interested in those things but never focused on them because I was too busy taking classes for things to get me a guaranteed paycheck. I was good at my job and ran a great company, but I didn't actually like it. I think you might relate to that."
Me: "Sounds very familiar."
Micah: "I knew I wasn't the type not to work but wanted something different. I wanted something that gave me time to have hobbies and passion projects still. When my brother wanted to open the restaurant, I saw it as the perfect opportunity."
Me: "Okay, I'm sold. Tell me more about why you're the one for Shauna."
Micah: "She always says she's up for a fun week, but is she really, or is that just all she was ever seen as? Because I think she's the greatest person I've ever met, and she should be with someone who only wants her and will do anything to be able to have more time with her."
Me: "I like where this is headed. Tell me more."
Micah: "She should be with someone who will drive the three hours each way to spend a few hours with her and who will meet her halfway in the City for midweek dates on her day off. She should be with the guy who will completely rearrange his schedule if it means he gets more time with her. That's me."
Me: "I'm sold. Let's do this. She parks her car, runs to you, and then what?"
Micah's story with Shauna took off from there and is my favorite of the four short stories in "A Woods Lake Christmas."