How I created the character of Casey Alexander, the heroine of Angel Falls, the first book in the series.
They say, “Write what you know,” especially when you’re first learning the craft. So Casey Alexander sort-of started out as me, then morphed into herself as I wrote more of the book and learned more about her.
Like Casey, I grew up in a small town.
Like Casey, I left home early to indulge my love of ballet. (She went to New York to be a prima ballerina. I left home at the beginning of my tenth-grade year to attend a fine-arts boarding school.)
Like Casey, I came back to my hometown to teach ballet (for almost ten years). My first studio was much as I described Casey’s dance studio. It was up a steep flight of metal stairs sandwiched between the moldering brick walls of the town’s only (at that time) bank, and a fine clothing store, the studio’s downstairs neighbor.
Casey’s dog, Lizzie, is based on my first Australian Shepherd, Sheila. Casey’s cat, Chester, is based on a procession of many fat Siamese cats who have owned me at one time or another throughout my life.
That’s where the resemblance between Casey and me ends–mostly–except in the sense that all characters contain a little bit of the author that creates them. For the record, not once did my studio’s downstairs neighbor complain about the noise, though I’m sure they must have heard us jumping around up there. Also for the record, I didn’t have any ex-relationships to come back to or resolve, and no one like Ian Buchanan even drove through our small town, at least not to my knowledge.
Casey’s story came to me as a what-if. As a lifelong reader of romance, I had read a few novels in which the heroine had to choose between two men, but one was always the clear best-choice, the other usually the evil antagonist. I had never read a novel in which there were two, equally-matched potential heroes. I wanted to explore that dynamic, and also juxtapose the lure of rose-colored past memories (or “the one that got away”) against the attraction of an exciting, but unknown future.
I hope you enjoy getting to know Casey. You’ll meet her again, in the next Angel Falls book!