Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Destination Life : : Traveling Companions

Anne McAllister is working on her book and discovering that life – even in fiction – is full of surprises.lifes journey bigger_thumb

Back in May when I wrote my Destination Life column I was just beginning to assemble the pieces – and the people -- for my new book.  I had a hero in mind, Lukas Antonides, and he had just met The Woman Of His Dreams.  It was lovely.  I thought, Great. Here we go.

But he was wrong. And so was I.

Grace wasn’t the woman of his dreams after all. She’s a really nice woman. She’ll make some guy a great heroine. But not Lukas.  He’s finally beginning to figure that out. And fortunately for both of us, we didn’t get to page 140 before we made the discovery.  In fact, we barely got any distance at all because, well, she bored him. And he terrified her.

Okay, not terrified, but sort of . . . intimidated her.  He was a little too ‘larger-than-life.’ Maybe a lot too ‘larger-than-life.’ She liked the idea of Lukas.  But the reality of him was, frankly, exhausting.

He has been having trouble understanding this. Lukas is a hero, after all. He should know his own mind.  Certainly he should know who his Heart’s Desire is. Shouldn’t he?

Turns out, when the chips are down, when he doesn’t have any place else to go, and no one seems likely to understand him, he discovers that one person does: Holly.


squabblinThe bane of his youth? The scourge of his childhood?  The girl who once laughed when she saw him naked!  The same girl who had married his best friend?

Ye gods.  It didn’t bear thinking about. 

And yet . . .Holly makes him feel alive. No danger of falling asleep around Holly.  No danger of being a hero, either.  Except . . . maybe . .  . 

Lukas is trying figure that out.  So am I.  It’s way more interesting than watching him and Grace.

There might actually be a book in Lukas and Holly.  (My editor certainly hopes so)   They are sparing now.  Feinting. Testing. Can battles be far behind?  I hope not.

couple on beachI have a feeling they’ll make good traveling companions for each other on the journey through life.  They’ve already been through a lot together.  And they are about to go through a lot more.  They’re about to learn more about each other than they ever thought possible.

I hope they’re up for the challenge.

Sometimes we get to pick the companions we travel with.  Sometimes they are our parents, our siblings, the kids who move in next door. Sometimes they are the people who annoy us more than anyone else, but who we know we can trust.  Can you tell I’ve been watching Common Law?

We learn about life from them.  We learn about ourselves from them.   Even characters we write about are traveling companions.  We learn what matters to us – as writers, as people – from the people we choose to write about.  We influence each other. 

It seems like that, as writers, we ought to have complete control over the characters in our books.  Some people may. I don’t.  Just ask Lukas. And Grace. And Holly.   We are muddling along together, learning about each other – and about ourselves. 

With luck, Lukas and Holly will get a happily ever after with the right person, Grace will someday down the road find the right man for her own happily ever after, and I will have learned a bit more about what I think really matters in life (plus, I’ll have a finished book).

Early days yet.  Stay tuned . . .

Who have been your favorite traveling companions through life? 

Anne is off to Pittsburgh next week for a family history institute.  Dead relatives are often no more cooperative than fictional characters, but they, too, make interesting traveling companions.  Her next book, Breaking the Greek’s Rules,  is coming out around Christmas. It’s the story of Alexandros Antonides and Daisy Connolly – the woman he tries to hire to matchmake for him. They were so interesting at times she wanted to strangle them! 


  1. Oh please write Lukas and Holly! I love how real they sound. I want to know what happens to them. And I wish my characters would step up and talk to me like that :0)

    1. Charlotte, I will definitely be trying to writ Lukas and Holly -- and praying that they cooperate with me if not with each other (at least at first!).

      Kick your characters. Or tell one of them that if they don't start talking you'll think they have the wrong hero/heroine and threaten to take him/her away. If they don't object, you might have the wrong person, too. And then maybe you can find the right one. But if they do object, hey, they're talking. Go with it!