In summer 2022, the second book in the “Her Journey” series, One Unexpected Adventure, is set to release. 🥳 I’ve shared a bit about the inspiration for the story’s setting in my last blog. Now, I’d love to introduce you to the main character, Ava Espinosa.
(If you haven’t read the story’s blurb yet, check it out here.)
About Ava Espinosa
On the surface, Ava is an extremely ambitious woman from Boston who’s meticulously planned her career trajectory. Fiercely loyal to the startup she joined as an intern, she landed the role of Chief Marketing Officer 10 years later by age 30 (as she’d expected), making her the youngest C-suite member at the company.
However, she’s not moving up the ranks for the prestige or because she’s money hungry. She’s doing to show her parents–who she loves dearly–that all the sacrifices they made to give her and her sister the opportunities they never had were worth it. She saw the silent struggles her parents went through and vowed to build a future for herself in which she could provide the financial security and support they never had, despite their stubbornness to accept her help sometimes.
When we first meet Ava, she seems a little anal-retentive. Intense. Competitive. Overly organized. Both inspiring and intimidating to those around her. Not one to put up with bullshit, and someone very few have gotten to know on a deeper level.
Perfect protagonist for a romance book, right? I mean, who wouldn’t fall in love with someone who seems to keep everyone at arm’s length? 🤣 For real though, when we strip away the air of perfection that most people see, we learn there’s a lot more to her.
When she cares about something, she cares about it deeply. She believes in justice and doing the right thing, even if it means putting her at a disadvantage. She’s smart, creative, and follows through. She’s willing to help, even if there’s no benefit to her. She inspires those around her to rise to the occasion, to challenge the status quo, and make the world a little better. She’s got a big heart and takes care of those around her.
And, of course, she’s the perfect person to keep the other main character, Brooks Jónsson, on his toes. 😉
Why This Trip Was Important for Her
I think many of us know what it feels like to be so focused on a path or an outcome that we sometimes miss some major signs that maybe it’s no longer the right option for us. Ava fought for her career and successes. Despite it all, she still believed she needed to prove herself constantly. As she rose to the CMO role, the pressure to keep that image of perfection only got worse. She feared any wrong move would knock her off the pedestal others had put her on and would show them she was an imposter. She also feared if she failed, she’d let down her family.
All Ava’s family wanted was for her to be happy. They didn’t want her to take on these burdens that weigh her down and force her to push herself so hard. Isn’t it funny how we sometimes put unnecessary pressure on ourselves and inflate the worst-case scenarios to be much bigger than it ever will be?
The thing with Ava is that she sensed something felt off for a couple of years. The promotion she’d worked hard for didn’t offer the sense of accomplishment she’d expected. It was all so lackluster. Assuming her apathy and restlessness were from a touch of burnout, she took a last-minute trip to Iceland (aka the first vacation she’s had in years) in hopes of destressing and finding the spark she’d need to take on her new role.
Little did she know that trip would knock her off her perfect trajectory. In a matter of weeks, she found a passion that spoke to her heart and soul, discovered a way to use her skills for something good, got comfortable going with the flow, accepted that life never goes as planned (and is more often messy than not), remembered how important it was genuinely connecting with others, and learned she was lovable even when she showed her imperfections. In fact, those “flaws” were what made it easy to fall for her.
More importantly, she learned that loyalty shouldn’t come at the cost of doing the right thing. In the story, she faces an extremely difficult situation, and I’m so proud of the choice she made in the end. Had she not gone to Iceland and gotten in touch with herself and her true values, she might not have had the courage to do it.
We also have to thank the townspeople and Brooks for helping her rediscover what truly matters to her and for showing her there’s so much more to life than a perfect marketing campaign and rising stock price. And there are better things worth fighting for, like love, for instance.
What I Love About Her
For someone who seems so put together, I loved seeing her finally let go. Let go of the expectations, the meticulous plans, the rigid rules, the judgments (and misjudgments), and the fear of the unknown. Sometimes, we can get so blinded by our habits, routines, and deep-seated opinions that we miss all the opportunities life has to offer–opportunities that could be better for our happiness and heart than what we’re doing now.
Ava is stubborn as hell, but she moved past that (maybe with the help of or in spite of Brooks haha). I loved seeing her embrace life–all the messy and unexpected parts of it–because it was more worth it for her to feel deeply and openly, even if there was a possibility of heartbreak. She faced down the fear of things ending or falling apart. She was brave even when she wasn’t sure how things would turn out. That courage is exactly what helped her find a more meaningful life and a love that set her soul on fire.
She’s an inspiration to me, and I only hope I have half the courage and will to forge through life without fear or hesitation as she has.
One Unexpected Adventure is now available in ebook and paperback formats. Get it from your favorite retailer here.
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