Meet the Character: Jackson St. Julien
I'm about halfway through the first revision of my contemporary romance Always, Ella, so I felt like it was as good a time as any to introduce you to my hero, Jackson St. Julien.
When considering who would be perfect for my heroine's personality, I knew it had to be someone who could show her that life isn't perfect...and that's perfectly ok. Elena Lucia is a by-the-book kinda gal. She has a specific image for her life and works hard to meet every aspect of it, no matter how many times life tries to show her it's not gonna happen. Basically, Elena tries to be someone she's not.
Funny how it doesn't seem to be working out for her. *eye roll*
Jackson is a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants kinda guy. He's broken away from his father's traditional expectations, rejecting the idea of becoming a stuffy lawyer and living a predictable life. That's not to say that he's taking risks willy nilly, just that he embraces life in a way that feels right to him. Authentic.
You would think his polar opposite lifestyle would make Elena steer clear, right? Well, the thing is, Elena and Jackson have known each other for nearly two decades. They had been semi-friends when they were younger—by way of Jackson's sister (aka Elena's BFF)—but when they got into their teenage years, they had butted heads a lot which caused a rift in their relationship.
A rift that made Elena not quite trust the guy when he offered to help her out in a high-stakes jam. Jackson had a lot going against him, at least in the eyes of Elena. Therefore, I needed to find a way to knock down her defenses so she'd let him in.
First things first: looks. I needed an easy way to melt Elena's chilly response to him initially, so he had to seem trustworthy just by looking at him. Nostalgia and familiarity aside, I had to find a few elements that made her forget why she didn't trust him in the first place. You know when you meet someone and instantly feel drawn to them but can't explain why? That's what I wanted to accomplish. Two people popped into mind when considering this: Marlon Brando during his screen test for Rebel Without a Cause and James McAvoy from Atonement.
During Marlon's screen test, there's a part where he has this slow grin that turns into a smile. It's the type of smile that people can't help but want to smile too. That was the smile I wanted Jackson to have. Then there were James's eyes. So blue. So mesmerizing. I wanted Jackson's eyes to draw Elena in, no matter how hard she tried to look away. The best way I could describe his eyes were blue like the salt flats in Bolivia. I mean, how can you not get lost in those.
But Elena's way too smart to fall over a good looking guy, even if they had some history together. An alpha male wasn't going to work in this story. It couldn't. She needed someone who had a heart, which is why I made sure Jackson was a stable support system. Not only did he stand by her side and helped her through a tough situation, but he showed her that she was perfect as she was. Elena had spent her whole life feeling like she'd never fit in or measured up, and often tried everything in her power be someone she wasn't so she would be accepted. Jackson, however, did what he could to get her to loosen up, let go of these unrealistic and wrong expectations, and embrace being herself.
I think Jackson's one of my favorite heroes to date. He's playful, adventurous, big-hearted, selfless, reliable, and knows just how to get that slow-burn lust right.
To put it simply: he's a good guy. I'm a person who usually gets a distinct gut-feeling about someone instantly (and it's often right). When writing Jackson, I couldn't help but feel like he was one of the good ones...which I guess is kinda weird since I made him up.
The point is, if Jackson St. Julien existed, I'd want him in my life because I know he's a solid person. Let's hope Elena feels the same way. *wink*
After I get through these edits, I'll likely go the self-pub route for this one, which means hiring editors and cover designers. I'm too excited to get it out into the world and into your hands!
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