Why did she do it? Why did Jess fall in love?
Make like the girls who do boys Jess, that would be fair enough: he is hot. The six-foot, out-doors-tanned, blond-haired-with-that-hint-of-curls-trimmed-in-to-good- behaviour look would have the same effect on many a hot-blooded girl.
But, I'm not talking about desire with a capital: L-U-S-T! I am talking about love and, if it isn’t love that has grown between you both, then I don’t want to be around either of you when you get to know each other better.
The question that made me wait weeks - between getting the idea, finishing the planning and writing the book - was the all important one: why?
I can’t say much about this from Caleb’s point of view because, well, it’s a first person narrative. I mostly get to wander around in Jess’ head. (However, in true Stephenie Meyer fashion, I could just as easily write NEAR EDGWARE from Caleb’s POV - *blush! You didn’t think, even for a moment, that I don’t know what Caleb is thinking; did you?)
I have read shelves full of YA paranormal romances (and quite a lot written for adults) and, sometimes, I have to suspend disbelief because I can’t work out what it is about the moody misogynist that led the woman, or girl, to feel a deep, endless and true love.
With hormones and pheromones densely concentrated in the air I created a strong female protagonist with supportive parents and friends who would be there for her. Next I made sure she was attracted, but capable of analysing her feelings. Then I wrote the scenes to make sure Jess could see more of Caleb's personality than his six-pack and smile.
I had great days discussing with teens which characteristics allowed Caleb to be seen as caring: more than strong and silent. The group was slightly unrepresentative because only 50% had read Twilight. Then I research Blogs where men spoke frankly about their feelings: desire and love were covered in detail. In that setting there was no need for any of these anonymous men to give answers that would gain them any particular advantage. I also have six brothers so I found it impossible to write unrealistically for Caleb.
I loved creating Jess and Caleb and the challenges they have to face.
The section in the planning stage is steamier than the weather we are experiencing.
Happy 18th Birthday, Jess.