Lessons I Learned From My Characters by A.J. DeWall – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $25 Barnes & Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. A free download of an Interlude Press eBook title or an author/book swag pack (US ONLY) will be awarded to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter at each stop during the tour. Click the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Lessons I learned from my characters

When I started writing Forever Man, it was a story about two old friends who have been in love with each other for years, but never had the courage to tell each other. They’ve settled into their lives, accepting the fact that they will never be together, when they meet by chance in Santa Fe and suddenly those feelings rise to the surface. In this odd little romantic city, they very quickly realize their love and attraction for each other is like a force of nature.

Forever Man was supposed to be a love story, but it’s so much more. As I edited the novel, I came to realize that the love Ren and Cole had denied themselves for so many years prevented them from living a truly fulfilled, vibrant life. They both made compromises, and generally settled into a muted version of the life they knew in their hearts they were meant to live. They both stopped doing the things they loved most. They stopped dreaming. Even though they were both successful, it was as if they lived on the periphery of their own lives.

Ren tries to build an amazing life for himself without Cole. I applied his decision of the heart to my decisions about career, and ultimately came to the decision that no amount of success is worth it if you’re not doing the thing you’re supposed to do. I’ve had a successful career as a ghostwriter, but it’s just work. It’s soulless. Writing the story of Ren and Cole brought me so much joy, and even though it’s scary to give up something that works, to give up a career other people would like to have—just as people look up to Ren’s relationship with his powerful fiancé, Paul—it’s the right thing to do.

Cole, on the other hand, doesn’t try very hard to find a substitute love, even though he has boyfriends. He won’t say ‘yes’ to life—he even turns down a record contract. From Cole I learned that at some point you have to show up for your life, and take a chance.

I’ve heard from people who read Forever Man in early stages that the story inspired them to take up writing, or start writing, or try something else they were afraid to try. I certainly have made big changes after writing his book—all inspired by Ren and Cole.

A bond forged in Catholic school, an unspoken attraction that outlasts years of separation and other relationships.

Ren and Cole never acted on that thing that always bubbled beneath the surface of their friendship, not until a chance encounter in a Santa Fe bar and a song that would tip the scales forced them to confront their feelings. Will the influence of a music superstar, a New York socialite and a mystical property manager finally bring them together, or will a history of missed opportunities, their own fears and an impending wedding keep them apart? Can they just have one night, and then walk away?

Forever Man is a story of the consequences of the choices we make, and how the courage to change can last a lifetime.

Here’s an excerpt:

Ren turns to see Cole standing not five feet away, a bit out of breath.

“Did you mean it?” Ren asks.


“You’re in love with me?”


Ren doubles over again, trying to catch his breath. Cole crosses to him, rubbing his back but saying nothing. After a moment, Ren straightens out and asks, “How long?”

“I want us to be together—”

“No. How long have you been in love with me?”

The answer to this one question is all Ren needs to know. Because this man, this friend, this lover of his has always given in to whims and drama and intensity, and Ren has to be sure that he is not that. He has to be sure that this is not new.

Cole steps into Ren’s space, tilts his chin up and kisses him. The kiss is firm, an answer, a promise.

“I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t in love with you.”

About the Author: A professional writer for more than 20 years, A.J. DeWall began her career as a playwright. She is the ghostwriter behind dozens of nonfiction books, including several award-winning bestsellers. As a writer of fan fiction, her online titles have hundreds of thousands of reads. Forever Man is her first novel. She lives in New York with her wife and son.

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  1. Thank you for hosting!

  2. Rita Wray says:

    I enjoyed the author post.

  3. Nice lessons

  4. Enjoyed reading the lesson learnt by the author whilst writing the book and her looking back on her characters and how it relates to life. Thank you 🙂

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