When I tell people about my book, inevitably the question, "How did you come up with the idea?" is asked, primarily about the main characters.
Today, I am going to give a sneak peek into how Julie was developed.
There were two shows that I watched repeatedly on DVR that really started the whole thing: "Buffy the Vampire slayer" and "Angel."
The dynamic between Buffy and Giles, the young student and her mentor in the guise of a school librarian really intrigued me as an aspiring teacher and coach. Then watching Angel training Cordelia for battle, especially in the episode, "Offspring," solidified my desire to write a story about a young girl who learns that she is the protector/savior of another dimension. Her teacher (Giles) a quiet, unassuming bookworm type who is actually a dangerous warrior (Angel) in his world. Once I had this relationship figured out, everything else fell into place.
At the time, I had been coaching girls' track and field for over 10 years. I used the language, attitude and behavior I witnessed by those who I coached. It made my dialogue pretty acceptable as a forty year old writing as a teenage girl.
Julie's look comes from a mixture of Sarah Michelle Gellar's, Buffy Summers; powerful champion fighting against odds stacked against her but learning to overcome and learning more about herself everyday. Charisma Carpenter's, Cordelia Chase; popular girl in school, forced to do the impossible. Valerie Bertinelli; bubbly personality and someone everyone cheers for to come out on top. And Adriana Lima; a great looking Hispanic girl. I knew she was going to have brown hair and brown eyes, and have a hint of Hispanic blood in her. I openly admit, that when I first saw Selena Gomez for the first time, about three or four months ago, I said aloud, "That is Julie!"
Too bad Selena will be too old to play Julie in the future movie version...(just me daydreaming).
Julie's name is a different story. As I said before, I have coached girls for over ten years, I did not want to use a name of a girl I have coached - that would just be awkward. I actually use this same method for nearly all of my characters.
I knew Julie was not going to be a "damsel in distress." I also knew she wasn't going to solve all the worlds problems in one single act, or that she wasn't going to be an outcast or socially awkward. I purposely wanted her to be pretty, popular and outgoing. I made her a cheerleader to make the point of being all three of those things, and added basketball to make her even more athletic, not that cheerleaders aren't - I just wanted to reinforce the idea. The reason I avoided track is self-explanatory. Having a main character run track, would give a wrong impression.
So, that is Julie. I hope you get to know her and love her as much as I do.