Hello everyone. Thank you for having me here at The Novel Approach. I’m T.A. Chase and for those of you who might not know me, I write M/M romance for Totally Bound and various other publishers.
My newest release, Walking in the Rain, came out on the 26th. It’s the fifth book in the Rags to Riches series. The two main characters, Dayton VanHooren and Mickey O’Leary, meet at Adrien and Ion’s wedding reception. (Adrien and Ion are from Remove the Empty Spaces and Close the Distance.) A brief encounter there and an offer of a ride home out of the rain begins their relationship.
But I want to talk about character development and how—if written the right way—an author can get the reader to invest time and emotions into characters that they might not have any sympathy for in real life.
I’ve invested six seasons of my time (starting on the seventh and final season) in Sons of Anarchy. It’s been a crazy violent bloody ride from the moment Kurt Sutter, the show’s writer, introduced us to Jax Teller and the Sons of Anarchy.
As a watcher, I’ve come to care what happens to Jax, even as I cringe at a lot of things he’s done through out the seasons. I’ve hid my eyes to block out some of the scenes and I’ve shed tears as people died I’d come to care about. I’ve cheered while he exacted revenge for evils done to him and shook my head when he did evil things to others.
Some people can’t watch the show because it’s too violent and bloody, which is true, but the creators have never shied away from not making the biker’s life romantic. It’s a far more realistic take on that lifestyle than some of the books popular in romance today. (I’m not saying those books aren’t good or realistic. I’m simply saying Sutter doesn’t go out of his way to make Jax sympathetic to his viewers, which is something romance authors kind of have to do to get their readers to believe in the love story.)
Throughout the seasons of Sons, we’ve watched Jax fight so hard to get free then find himself caught in the web that the club weaves around him. We yearn for him to go legit, even while we see that it’s never going to happen. Jax’s life is a tragic cesspool that he never had any hope of leaving.
Sutter has done a good job showing to us that while Jax is a criminal and has no qualms about killing people whom he believes needs killing, he’s also a man who loves his children and his mother. He loved his wife, though his world eventually proved too much for her. (No spoilers…in case people reading haven’t seen last season…lol)
Why do I still tune in every week to see what other horrifying thing Jax has done? Why do I hate Gemma, Jax’s mother, so much? Why do I love Tig—who is crazier than everyone except maybe Happy?
It’s because of the development of Jax and all those characters. It’s the way Kurt Sutter has written those shows. As bloody and awful as some of them have been, we’ve also seen the tenderness in these men. We’ve seen them respect people most would simply ignore or treat like dirt. We’ve seen them laugh, live and love.
Sutter has made these fictional characters human and any good author should aspire to reach his level of story telling. (Maybe not quite so violent, bloody, or tragic) He’s made them real for us, making it all right for us to cry when they do, get angry when they are, or hate them for things they’ve done.
I hope that at some point, I figure out how to write characters as deeply fleshed out and flawed as the Sons are. I want my readers to hate—or love—them however they see fit. Maybe someday that’ll happen, but until then, I’ll watch Sons to the end and mourn when the last episode airs.
Thank you again for having me today. I hope you take a moment to check out Walking in the Rain.
Blurb for Walking in the Rain, book five in the Rags to Riches series:
Sometimes fate brings us the right person to make our world perfect.
Dayton VanHooren is a United States senator who doesn’t really like his job. He’s been too busy to date, much less pick anyone up for sex. Being openly gay means he doesn’t have to worry about scandal, but he’s looking for something more than a good time.
Mickey O’Leary can barely think, he’s so exhausted. Working three jobs to help pay his brother’s hospital bills keeps him going and helps him forget about how lonely he is. Mickey would like to meet a nice guy who won’t run at the first hint of Mickey’s problems.
A wedding reception and a thunderstorm are catalysts to bring these two men together. What can they do when they discover the perfect man for them but fall in love?
Like the sound of Walking in the Rain? Buy it HERE
Author Bio for TA Chase:
There is beauty in every kind of love, so why not live a life without boundaries? Experiencing everything the world offers fascinates TA and writing about the things that make each of us unique is how she shares those insights. When not writing, TA’s watching movies, reading and living life to the fullest.