Author Confessions Round 1

I’ve accepted a 31-day author confessions challenge. The day to day challenges are listed below.

I’ll begin with the first challenge-Who is your favorite character in your WIP?

My favorite character in my current work in progress is my main male, Roger Zellers. Roger has been a professional actor, singer, and dancer on Broadway for the last eight years. He was born and raised in upstate New York and spent his whole life taking dance classes, theatre training, and voice and piano lessons. He’s performed on stage since he was five years old and has earned a couple of Tony nominations, winning one for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical.

Roger is my favorite character in my current book for several reasons. First, he’s a down to earth guy who enjoys life and is fun to hang out with. He’s also multi-talented, has a playful sense of humor, and randomly blurts out showtunes or tap dances down the streets of New York City. Although he’s recognized for his immeasurable talents, he’s humble and goes out of his way to support other entertainers rather than promote himself. Most importantly, he’s benevolent and compassionate. It’s not unusual for him to donate large sums of money to various charities. He’s actively involved in the Broadway Cares Foundation, donates toys to the Toys For Tots program, and is often seen providing food, blankets, shoes, and jackets to the homeless. He sings Christmas songs with sick children at children’s hospitals or the children’s shelter and volunteers his time and talent to various fundraising efforts. He even adopts an abandoned dog to keep him from freezing to death.

Roger does have a past, however, which he doesn’t like to talk about. His biological father died before he was born, he had a bit of a reckless youth, and he’s been in his fair share of bad relationships. He’s friendly and kind, but has a hard time trusting people. It takes a long time to get him to open up to you. Once he does though, he’s loyal and supportive.

Roger is first introduced in the first scene of Center Stage, where he’s returning to the Ambassador Theatre to retrieve the cellphone he had mistakenly left behind. That’s where he encounters Lauren, one of the main female characters in the last book of my series. Here’s an excerpt:

Theater is a calling, an art, and the Juilliard School in New York City was one of the most respected and renowned places in the world to perfect this art. Known for its rigorous program and extensive admission requirements, Juilliard only accepted eight to ten new candidates into the actor training program each year.  Ever since she was a little girl, Lauren Hanson dreamed of singing on a Broadway stage. Gaining admittance into Juilliard led her one step closer to fulfilling that dream.

This year’s incoming freshmen had the opportunity to go on an educational tour through various theatres in New York City. While touring the Ambassador Theatre, Lauren and her classmates were invited to act out impromptu or monologue on the stage if they wanted to. But Lauren didn’t do either of those things. Instead, she confidently stood before an empty house and belted out the song ‘Defying Gravity’ from the musical Wicked.

Roger Zellers, a professional Broadway actor, was backstage retrieving his cellphone when he heard Lauren’s heavenly voice echo through the theatre. He roamed onto the stage wing to investigate. Standing center stage, singing her heart out, was an incredibly attractive young woman wearing a Juilliard tee-shirt and jeans. He watched in rapt attention, mesmerized by the intense emotion she projected through her performance. He had to find out who this woman was.

When the class was about to exit the theatre, Roger intercepted her at the door. “Excuse me, Ma’am?”

Lauren turned around. “Yes?”

“I’m sorry. I know you don’t know me, but I just heard you sing, and you have the most beautiful voice I have ever heard.”

She offered him a small, shy smile. “Thank you.”

“I am correct to assume that you’re a student at Juilliard?”

“Yes, I am.”

He extended an open palm and graciously shook her hand. “I’m Roger Zellers, and if you’d allow me, I’d like to offer my assistance.”

“Assistance with what?”

“I would like to provide you with an opportunity that will help you gain exposure and allow you to meet and work with people in the Broadway community.”

She asked for clarification. “What do you mean?”

“I’m an actor currently doing a show here at the Ambassador. I happen to know that the manager of this theatre is looking to hire theatre arts students as interns. You’ll be behind the scenes during productions, you’ll get to work directly with Broadway performers, and you’ll learn a few tricks of the trade. It’ll get your foot in the door, and people will get to know you. I’d like to give your name to the manager. You certainly captured my attention, I know you’ll capture hers as well. You interested?”

The chance to meet and work with Broadway actors and be backstage during shows was a once in a lifetime opportunity toward fulfilling her dream of performing on Broadway. As excited as Lauren was about this opportunity, she was a bit apprehensive because she knew nothing about this man and didn’t know if she could trust him.

Sensing this woman’s reluctance, Roger offered her an alternative. “Tell you what, why don’t you stop by tomorrow afternoon and talk to her.” He pulled a business card out of his wallet and grabbed a pen to write something on the back. “We have rehearsal tomorrow at 3:30. When you get here, go around the back and enter through the stage door. Show the security guard this card and tell him Roger sent you.”

He handed her the card and she carefully examined it. Printed on the front in huge block letters were the words Roger Zellers, Broadway Vocalist/ Actor/ Dancer. A phone number and website followed.

“So will you stop by tomorrow?”

She smiled with satisfaction. “I’ll be here.”

Character Interview

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I recently had a  character interview from my main man, Dr. Randal Hanson, featured on Mary’s Bookcase. It was fun to answer interview question from his point of view.

Although she included biographical information about me,  links to my books, a synopsis, and a excerpt (see above link), the interview itself is posted below.

Now for the interview…

MY: Welcome to the blog. Firstly, would you please introduce yourself to my readers.

RH: Certainly.  I’m Dr. Johnathan Randal Hanson, but my friends and family call me Randy.  I recently graduated from UCSF Medical School and am currently doing my OB/GYN residency at the University of Washington.  I’m planning to practice medicine with my father when I finally finish all of this.

MY: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

RH: My home is and always will be Seattle.  I can kinda picture myself living the life of a beach bum, though.  Water is my home away from home.  I certainly wouldn’t mind soaking up life in the sand and surf.

MY: What would you consider to be your greatest strength?

RH: Oh man.  That’s a tricky question.  I think I would have to say it’s my ability to communicate with people.  Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been a pretty social person.  I make friends easily and seem to connect with people.  I’ve found that this ability has made me a better doctor.  I establish rapport with my patients, and I think because of this, they find me easy to talk to.  When my patients feel comfortable with me, they open up more, which makes treating them easier.

MY: What is your biggest regret?

RH:  I wish I would have established a closer relationship with my brother.  He’s always been a mixed up kid, but if I would have put forth more of an effort to connect with him, he might not have some of the problems he has today.  There were times when he needed his big brother’s guidance, but I was always so wrapped up in myself and medical school that I kind of neglected him.  I think that if I would have had a stronger bond with him, he wouldn’t feel so lost now.

MY: Describe your perfect day.

RH: Hanging out at the beach with my wife.  The sound of the waves splashing on the shore relaxes me, and conversations with my wife take my mind off the pressures of work for a while.  I can’t think of a better way to spend a day.

MY: Have you ever swum naked?

RH: Oh yes.  On my honeymoon in Bermuda.  That’s all I will say about that.

MY: What is your most embarrassing memory?

RH: Medical School was loaded with embarrassing moments.  But I think the most humiliating thing that ever happened to me was on the first day of my Psychiatry rotation.  My attending physician threw a patient file in my face and demanded that I give him a diagnosis.  Took me completely off guard.  Mind you, I had barely walked in the door and had no time to even look at the patient’s symptoms.  When I couldn’t give him an answer, he reprimanded me right there in his office.  Totally embarrassing.  I spent the whole night researching symptoms to come up with a full report for this guy by morning.  I’ve never been so humiliated in my life.

MY: Fine dining or a picnic?

RH: Depends on who I’m with.  I love taking my wife out on romantic dinner dates, but at the same time there’s nothing more fun than packing up a picnic lunch and hanging out at the park.  Definitely love to mix it up.

MY: What makes you angry?

RH: You mess with my wife, you mess with me.

MY: If you could choose a magic power, what would it be?

RH: Flight, without a doubt.  I love to fly.  In fact, it’s always been a dream of mine to learn to fly an airplane.  That might be something I pursue in the future, if my schedule ever dies down.