At this point when I make my writing collage, I go find a stock photo, because when the cover artist asks for my models, I can send them something they might actually be able to use. I worried at first I’d be limited to stock polished, boring specimens, but to my happiness, this is not the case. In fact, I’ve found some real characters in those stock photo files, and my favorite of all time is Giles.
I hadn’t fully fleshed out his character—sometimes I use the collage building as a way to find bits of the story that elude me, and Giles the stock photo guy delivered big time. In every one of his poses, he always looked a bit off the mark. His hair was a bit weird. His gestures seemed a little forced. He was not the most graceful man I’d ever seen. And I absolutely loved him for it.
As Aaron became a very hunky hero, their dueling positions on the appearance spectrum wove into the plot. As I stared at the collage, Giles told me all about how irritating it was to be skinny and awkward when he wanted to take the world by storm. He told me how he got around the shitty hand life dealt him, how he got the better of the guys who wanted to bully him. I realized how much his looks affected his character and his conflict. In the same way people assumed things about Aaron because he looked like a poster boy, people saw geek in Giles and relegated him to certain roles, ones he will be the first to tell you he didn’t sign up for.
I can definitely relate to Giles’s complaints. In my youth I was six feet tall in seventh grade, and I wasn’t a fashion plate. I wanted to be pretty and fashionable, but even if my family would have been able to afford 80s shopping, it was always hard for me to find pants and shirts that fit, and don’t get me started on shoes. People asked me, constantly, if I played basketball. My quick-growing body made me uncoordinated, so I was awful at sports. What I wanted was to be a dancer or a cheerleader. I wanted to be like everyone else, but I was always this very awkward duck on the sidelines, hunching my shoulders because I hated being the class giant.
I’ll be the first to warn you not to judge Giles for his bad hair, skinny body, and sticking-out ears. Maybe he doesn’t look great on a book cover, but he wouldn’t give any guy a complaint in bed. He can convince the toppiest top to bottom for him. He might not be big enough for the football team, but he plays a mean violin. His life thus far has made him a bit cynical and disinclined to trust, but once he lets you in, he’s loyal to you for life.
Hunky heroes are great, and they certainly have their place. But I have to tell you, I love a geeky, awkward guy more. Anybody can be pretty, but it takes some serious character to be sexy despite your appearance. Decidedly, I’m biased, but I encourage you to give Giles a try. He can definitely get you there.
Learn about Aaron’s thoughts on being judged for his beauty over his brain on October 6 at The Blogger Girls.
Book Two of the Love Lessons Series
Sometimes you have to play love by ear.
Aaron Seavers is a pathetic mess, and he knows it. He lives in terror of incurring his father’s wrath and disappointing his mother, and he can’t stop dithering about where to go to college—with fall term only weeks away. Ditched by a friend at a miserable summer farewell party, all he can do is get drunk in the laundry room and regret he was ever born. Until a geeky-cute classmate lifts his spirits, leaving him confident of two things: his sexual orientation, and where he’s headed to school.
Giles Mulder can’t wait to get the hell out of Oak Grove, Minnesota, and off to college, where he plans to play his violin and figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. But when Aaron appears on campus, memories of hometown hazing threaten what he’d hoped would be his haven. As the semester wears on, their attraction crescendos from double-cautious to a rich, swelling chord. But if more than one set of controlling parents have their way, the music of their love could come to a shattering end.
Warning: Contains showmances, bad parenting, Walter Lucas, and a cappella.
Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and ten-year-old daughter. Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and is proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at www.heidicullinan.com.
The Giveaway: To celebrate the upcoming release of Fever Pitch, Heidi Cullinan would love to give you a couple of ways to win prizes.
To enter for a chance to win an e-copy of Fever Pitch, leave a comment here on Heidi’s post by Midnight Pacific Time on Monday, September 22, 2014. One winner will be selected at random on Tuesday, the 23rd, and notified via email for prize delivery.
The second chance to win this tour’s Grand Prize is via Rafflecopter and includes the following:
* an e-copy of Fever Pitch
* a signed paperback copy of Love Lessons (ships worldwide)
* choice of a $10 iTunes gift card or one month Spotify membership
* choice of St. Timothy store item