It Takes a Village
You may have noticed – my books have a lot of characters.
For the Faith, Love & Devotion series, for example, we have Matt and Evan and their immediate circle. The kids, Helena, Liz, Vic and Serena, Elena and Walt. Then you bring Jim and Griffin and the Heterosexual Power Cabal (and you haven’t even met Griffin’s family!) and well…
We could get a group discount at any amusement park is all I’m saying.
I’m not entirely sure why but populating the world of my main characters is almost as important to me than the main plot itself. Because as much as external circumstance influences the ups and downs, so do the people orbiting these main character’s lives.
In Faith & Fidelity, for example, Evan Cerelli struggles mightily when he falls in love with another man. He worried about what people will think in general but then there are the specifics: his children, his partner, his boss, his late wife’s family. If they were just names or barely mentioned entities or stock villains, the reader might not feel a deep sense of empathy, or understand his struggle in quite the same way.
Because as concerned as we get about “society,” and what the larger world thinks of us, the true test of acceptance starts at home. The people in your house and the ones next door – your kids and their friends. The guy you grew up with and your boss and the guys you bowl with.
What do they say when your life undergoes an enormous and difficult change?
Matt was an interesting person to place in a universe of his own; whereas Evan lived in a family, was part of the “blue” brotherhood, Matt lived in exile. He didn’t have a lot of friends, few confidantes. His entire characterization when we meet him is a man sitting alone.
Who connects with a man in a crowd who feels alone.
Sometimes, as I’m creating this populace in each book, I happen upon unexpected connections, which form relationships just as satisfying as the main romance. Matt and Katie’s banter and deep affection. Helena and Evan’s strong partnership. Jim and Matt, connecting on a level and evoking change in both their lives through a chance encounter. Would Matt and Evan’s journey been as meaningful without those people? I don’t know but I’m glad I don’t have to find out.
In another life, I clearly wrote cozy mysteries about little English villages, where the Vicar had a drinking problem and the farmer was hiding a dramatic secret. Actually, if the Vicar and the farmer starting dating – what do you think the post mistress would have to say about that?
Talk amongst yourselves, I have another village to build.
Title: Faith & Fidelity by Tere Michaels
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Romance
Length: 290 pages
Faith, Love, and Devotion: Book One
Reeling from the recent death of his wife, police officer Evan Cerelli looks at his four children and can only see how he fails them. His loving wife was the caretaker and nurturer, and now the single father feels himself being crushed by the pain of loss and the heavy responsibility of raising his kids.
At the urging of his partner, Evan celebrates a coworker’s retirement and meets disgraced former cop turned security consultant Matt Haight. A friendship born out of loneliness and the solace of the bottle turns out to be exactly what they both need.
The past year has been a slow death for Matt Haight. Ostracized from his beloved police force, facing middle age and perpetual loneliness, Matt sees only a black hole where his future should be. When he discovers another lost soul in Evan, some of the pieces he thought he lost start to fall back in place. Their friendship turns into something deeper, but love is the last thing either man expected, and both of them struggle to reconcile their new and overwhelming feelings for one another.
1st Edition published by Loose Id LLC, September 2008.
Purchase Link: Dreamspinner Press
Tere Michaels unofficially began her writing career at the age of four when she learned that people got paid to write stories. It seemed the most perfect and logical job in the world and after that, her path was never in question. (The romance writer part was written in the stars—she was born on Valentine’s Day.)
It took thirty-six years of “research” and “life experience” and well… life… before her first book was published but there are no regrets (she doesn’t believe in them). Along the way, she had some interesting jobs in television, animation, arts education, PR and a national magazine—but she never stopped believing she would eventually earn her living writing stories about love.
She is a member of RWA, Rainbow Romance Writers, and Liberty States Fiction Writers. Her home base is a small town in New Jersey, very near NYC, a city she dearly loves. She shares her life with her husband, her teenaged son—who will just not stop growing—and three exceedingly spoiled cats. Her spare time is spent watching way too much sports programming, going to the movies and for long walks/runs in the park, reading her book club’s current selection, and volunteering.
Nothing makes her happier than knowing she made a reader laugh or smile or cry. It’s the purpose of sharing her work with people. She loves hearing from fans and fellow writers, and is always available for speaking engagements, visits and workshops.