I’ve been asked which character in my story gave me fits or constantly surprised me by going in directions I hadn’t intended, and the answer to that question would have to be, Colin.
I adored that feisty Irishman from the moment he sprang, full grown, from my brain. Cocky, arrogant, and utterly contemptuous of romance in any form, he was a pistol from day-one.
He didn’t seem to GET that I wanted him to fall in love with Joshua. I tried to corral him, entice him, yank and pull him. But still he resisted. Every word I wrote to try to lead him down love’s rosy path ended up sounding hollow and dishonest. It wasn’t Colin’s voice and I knew it. I had to try again because what I’d written was just wrong.
I had to stop writing and listen to what my fiercely independent Irishman was trying to tell me. I had to stop putting words in his mouth and let him speak. And believe me when he did, he had a lot to say.
I discovered that this alpha-male Irish cop wanted to fall in love with Joshua, and in fact needed to fall in love with him. But the many layers of defense that he’d built up around his heart was a roaring whirlpool that drowned out that need.
This was not a man who could easily admit to being afraid. After all he had a reputation to uphold and there’s nothing like Irish ego and pride to ignite feelings of self-preservation. Perhaps it’s not rhetoric to say that Colin was afraid to be afraid. His fears were not focused around one issue. Colin’s heart was a maze of complex questions all of which led back to one chilling answer and one horrifying childhood trauma.
He is not a one-dimensional character and at first I didn’t get that. His resistance to love and intimacy was multi-layered and breaking down one of those layers offered no guarantee that a completely different issue wouldn’t raise its head and slam the door to Colin’s heart shut tight.
I had to explore each layer side-by-side with my independent Irishman. I had to let him lead me down the paths where he feared to walk and understand why he feared to walk them. I discovered a complex, multi-dimensional man whose fears flowed from a deep well of memory, most of which had been bottled-up since childhood. I discovered that his fear of love, intimacy, and commitment came from a legitimate source. I discovered that I couldn’t force him to love. I had to step back and let Joshua lead him to Love’s Magic.
Once I took myself out of the equation and let Joshua take over, the process became easier. I didn’t have to lure, bait, or force Colin in Joshua’s direction. I just had to step back and let him choose to move in the direction he was dying to go.
Even then, it wasn’t an easy process for Joshua or for me. Colin remains frustrating, obstinate and fearful. But Joshua’s struggle to understand the man he loved revealed more about the soul of my complex Irish cop than I ever knew was there.
I hope you will walk beside Colin and Joshua on their journey. I hope you’ll cheer their victories and mourn their defeats as they struggle to find Love’s Magic.
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