We’re celebrating a decade in publishing from JMS. Looking back led me to one of my past creations so I hope you enjoy this character interview written not just for amusement. Character interviews can be research and development devices for writers. Here’s a chat I had with Jay Reid from my Snow Angel trilogy, which took place between book 2 and 3.
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In the realm of the imagination, anything is possible. Jay won’t know I’m here until I let him. Readers want this interview, but he’s preoccupied, delving into a box, pulling out an old textbook. Dean used to help him with his homework. What would he think, to see Jay flipping to the back page where, amongst the scribbling most students do, three letters stand out, darker than the other doodles: J4D?
Determined to pin him down, I take the book and trace the letters with a fingertip. “Weren’t you worried about April discovering this? Dean? Another classmate?”
“All the above.” Jay’s coy smile doesn’t hide his amusement.
“When did you know you loved him?”
“How old must one be?”
A good question. “You couldn’t have foreseen a time you’d get together.”
“No.” The paltry word says much, his tone melancholy, disbelieving. “I often feel I’m dreaming. I keep thinking I can’t possibly be this lucky.”
“Lucky? Some would say Dean is the type of luck they can do without.”
“And I’m tired of hearing crap from people who don’t know him.”
I blink. This is hardly the quiet Jay we know and love, although his manner reminds me he can also be vocal.
“No one gets it,” he mutters.
“Why should we?” He looks up, everything about his posture screaming defiance. “I know what people think of Dean but they just don’t get him. Yes, half the time he’s oblivious. He doesn’t realise anything he says might hurt another person’s feelings.”
“You call this defending him?” I fail to tone down the sarcasm.
Jay laughs. “He’s oblivious because he can’t imagine anything he says being that important. He knows he’s good-looking. Deep down he sees that as superficial.”
“Many would call Dean a superficial person.”
“He’s not. Yes, he lives for fun because it’s easier and why shouldn’t he? Dean didn’t need anything else … until now. He didn’t have a reason to be serious.”
“And now he does?”
“You can’t get much more serious than this for Dean. This isn’t easy for him. I understand why he’s confused. I couldn’t believe it myself at first, but Dean loves me, wouldn’t want to change a thing about me.” He sounds pleased with that last statement. “April once accused him of being happy to screw any orifice and if marooned on a desert island with nothing but men, I couldn’t see him going without for too long. He’d screw a passing –”
I hold up a hand, not wanting to go with the image of what might be passing; Jay’s quietly laughing.
“Sex is just sex in Dean’s eyes. Love … love is something else. He loves me because I’m the one person who sees him for what he is, and I love what I see and accept him without question. If I can do that for him, he wants to do the same for me.”
“And who is he?”
“You already know, more than anyone. He’s insecure, vulnerable, has a temper. He can sulk, be sullen, likes to tease to the point of being spiteful. Crosses the line.”
I give him an expressive look. “And these are his good points?”
“Sure, he goes too far, says things he doesn’t mean, then regrets the hurt the moment he’s caused it. It’s a protective mechanism, self-preservation. He’s got a soft heart, an aggressive sense of justice. Decides something is right or wrong and sticks to it. He’s loyal. Will defend someone he cares about to the end. He’s passionate about life, sex, people he loves, can be amazingly affectionate. Dean looks at me as though he can’t believe he’s this lucky, when all the time I’m thinking the same about him. What amazes me is so many others can’t see these things. So, it’s down to me and I end up defending him.” Jay pauses. “It will be a long haul for us.”
I hate to ask, because I can’t imagine these two not being together now, and because some readers would love me to revisit them indefinitely, but I don’t see a reason, for that requires more conflict and surely they’ve been through enough. “Do you think you two will make it?”
It’s Jay’s turn to be surprised. “Dean hasn’t gone through all this to give up now and neither have I.”
“Still, you’ve grown up with prejudice. Dean is new to it and has more stacked against him. There are those who can’t believe he’s in a relationship with another man, those who don’t believe he’s serious, and those who don’t want you with him.”
Jay’s reply sounds like the most natural and obvious thing in the world. “I’ve got the one person I always wanted. My feelings have never diminished. I don’t doubt Dean for a minute.” Certainty makes his eyes shine. “We’re stronger together, but Dean is as strong as I make him. I won’t let anyone come between us, and neither will he.”
Oddly, I share his confidence. Some relationships may seem out of the ordinary, but they defy explanation, the odds, and what everyone else wants to make of them.
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