I held a 'group discussion' between 3 of my female characters last week; now it's the guys' turn! Since I swore back in 1987 I would never be seen in a hotel with two or more men, I've chosen to interview them in the comforts of my imaginary spacious office. Eric Timmons is five feet, ten inches tall; very solidly built for an ex-football player. He has brown hair and eyes, with the aura of someone who's very much at peace with himself, and in control of situations. Matt Slagal, on the other hand, arrives wearing a striped polo shirt and blue jeans, carrying a pack of cigarettes in his hip pocket. His short, sun-streaked blonde hair is tousled, and his lanky, six foot, one inch frame drops easily into the nearest chair.
I realize you two have never met. Eric Timmons, this is Matt Slagal, the male lead in Love Finds A Way. Matt, meet Eric, who captures Elicia's heart in Love Is Sober.
E(extending hand): Hey, man.
M(clasping hand): That's Lieutenant Matt Slagal...hey, what's up?
Matt, I've got a few ground rules. Please watch your language and please no smoking during the interview.
M: Sh--! You're as bad as Amy!
I created her, didn't I? Eric, I'm going to start with you. How did you like the way your book turned out?
E: I thought you rushed the ending a bit. And I loved the scene where she realized I'm not that bad of a guy.
M: I don't read anything except aircraft manuals and my personal letters. Can you give me an idea here?
E: Sure...I took her to a party and watched some drunk chase her around the bonfire. She came over to me and asked me to play along that I was her boyfriend, and by the end of the night, she was all mine.
M: Wait a minute...Elicia, you say? What's she look like?
E(fishing picture out of wallet): Here.
M: Hey, I did meet her! She and some other dude were in a car accident a couple of weeks after I met Amy! She's your chick? She's hot!
E: Thanks. I think so! (Replaces picture and puts wallet back in pocket)
M: No offense, dude, but how'd you end up with her?
Brent died in the crash, Matt. Elicia developed a problem with alcohol and met Eric in AA.
M: No sh--?
Matt...So Eric, did you like the way I wrote you?
E: Pretty much...although Elicia told me I'm not mentioned in #3...what's up with that?
I'll have to write you in. There's a few details I left out, because you didn't exist, other than an unnamed boyfriend...
M: I'm confused. If he doesn't exist in #3, then how come he exists here?
I wrote the books out of order. First was you and Amy; then Gretchen and Troy; Keri and Kyle; Caitlyn and Bryan; Elicia and Eric.
M (sputtering): Troy? As in my best friend?
Yes. You'll meet Gretchen in #4.
M: I'll have to warn him...if she's anything like Amy, that relationship won't last long.
E: Why not? Gretchen's pretty, and she's smart!
M(shaking head): Anderson's in for a shock. The women he usually dates are airheads.
You never know...people change. Look how you and Amy turned out! You didn't think she was your type, yet you fell in love with her...
M: You didn't put in that embarassing proposal scene, did you? Oh god...please say you didn't...
Which one? I thought they were both rather touching.
M: Do you know what you're doing to my reputation? I'll never be able to look my fellow airmen in the eye again!
E: At least you proposed. I'm trying to outshine a ghost!
(Knock at the door, and Troy enters, closing the door behind him and stands, hands on hips. He's dressed in khaki slacks and a bluish-gray polo shirt. His chocolate brown eyes are flashing a warning...he's upset, but in control of his emotions)
T: Molly, I want to ask you something.
Oh hi, Troy...Eric, this is Troy Anderson, Matt's best friend.
T(nodding at the two other men): Gretchen told me about the interview last week. What I want to know is, why did you feel it necessary for me to approach Amy in the bedroom? I never touched her!
M: I forgot about that! You put that in too?
(sigh) I knew I'd catch some flack for that scene...I did it to prove Amy's loyalty, and I wanted to establish a strong connection between you two. What better way to establish a strong, platonic friendship between two people of the opposite sex, something totally alien to your way of thinking?
M: I'm not following you.
T: Neither am I.
Okay, let me put it this way. You were drunk; she hadn't been drinking. She felt a strong attraction to you, but didn't want to betray the man she loves. So she intentionally hurt your feelings in order to make you leave before something happened you would both later regret. And look...you're good friends; your friendship with Matt is intact; you'll rely on Amy's friendship in #4...trust me.
T(relaxing and sitting down): Okay. Oh, and Matt, don't forget I'm the one who planted that seed in Amy's head about moving to California.
M: I know...and you shelled out the airfare for her and Caty...
T: Yeah, about that. Where the hell did I get the money for that?
You won big at cards? Independantly wealthy? You tell me...I didn't even invite you to this, and you show up anyway!
T: Actually, I owe you big time. That girl you had me paired with turned out to be a psycho.
See there? I did you a favor. Okay, gentlemen, we're out of time. Thank you for coming to talk to me!
M: I want a cut of your royalties. You wrote my f---ing life story!
Language, Matt. I run a clean blog around here.