Happy New Year Everyone!
2011 has been a blast, but I'm really looking forward to 2012. Hopefully there are more great things to come in the new year, like finishing up the novel and getting it on the road to publication!
You've all been so fantastic with giving me feedback and general squee-age. I'm loving it.
Here's a new Q and A for your reading pleasure...
In reaction to my post, Prequel Contest Winner
Megan H said: I have the geekiest desire to talk about the specifics of why random number generators aren't realy random, but I'll spare you. I was a math major in undergrad, so I once had a three hour discussion about this in one of my classes and it came to mind when I read this post. :P
I've read somewhere about how they're not actually random, but it was random enough for my purposes. I just needed something that didn't know which prequel was which, not legitimately random. ;-)
In reaction to the prequel, Winning and Losing
Lela: I think this is a really important insight to understanding Alex. And his mom seriously sounds great. These two may be my favorite characters yet!
This prequel was a HUGE insight into understanding Alex and what his mindset is for tennis and for life. His mother is awesome too and I'm so glad you (and everyone else) seems to agree on that!
Megan H: Okay, I was one of the ones requesting to see the hard side of Anna's life, but I LOVED this. Just go where the words take you, hon. It always turns out great. The flashback was fantastic. One of my dance kids was like that. She didn't get so upset about losing like Alex did, but she wanted everything to be perfect about her dance and she would stick around for hours working on it. She started winning the all age-group gold when she was 7. I like Alex flawed. Perfect men weird me out because I figure their flaws must be pretty bad if they are hiding them. Alex just wears them like a tattoo on his face. And Anna handles it well, I think. She doesn't try to change him, she just let's him know that she loves him no matter what. I really don't know who I love most now. Indy was my favorite, but now I think she's tied with Alex.
Alex is definitely flawed. He's very self-centered and single minded. He goes after what he wants, on the court and off it, which is a good thing most of the time, but sometimes, it's not such a great quality. Also, like you said, he is who he is, he'd never put up a front or try to pretend he was something he's not.
In reaction to the prequel, Bastard
Claire: Awesome, as always! I love the background of the characters. I like the insight into Alex's mind, especially his feelings about the insult 'bastard', I think it adds a personal aspect to his character, makes him easier to relate to I guess. Can't wait to see the reasons Caroline acted the way she did. I love Alex's respect and love for his mother.
Ever see the movie Back to the Future? Mary McFly can abide pretty much any insult, except being called, 'chicken.' For Alex it's the word, bastard, especially when someone is using it deliberately, by definition. Someone just throwing the word bastard around isn't going to set him off, but Caroline knew better and didn't care.
LauraW89: I really really liked this... that Caroline seems like such a bitch, she doesn't deserve him (atlhough I don't know her side, and as you said she had reasons)... Paolo seems awesome to me, already like his character to bits:) How could she, dared she call him a bastard! and that was a serious disfunctional relationship, he's probably better of not being with her:) I really liked Alex's point of view, it's gives him more debt! Awesome take-out!
Caroline is a bitch, but I do promise she's a bitch with layers. Paolo is awesome and I love that you like him already! At the point you see Alex and Caroline in this outtake it was a seriously dysfunctional relationship that should have ended way before it did.
Virgo Writer: Alex is gonna be completely gutted when he finds out she's engaged. Caroline seems like nothing more than some social climber. She manipulated him into a relationship that she had no intention of making long term. And to brush off Anna like that. If there is one thing you don't do to a Momma's boy, it's disrespect his mother (on a side note, this just shows how great Anna is as a mother that she didn't try to make Alex choose between her and Caroline after that). I really liked Paolo and Alex together. They seem very comfortable around each other and have a nice, easy friendship.
Now, just to put this in perspective a little, this breakup takes place more than two full years before Game. Set. Match. So, Alex might not be as broken up about Caroline's engagement as she might expect (or as much as she'd want him to be anyway). Paolo and Alex are buds. Alex took him under his wing when he got up onto the tour about a year before this outtake. Of course it helps that Alex has never lost to Paolo. ;-)
Farfallama: I really enjoyed this. I love the peeks into Alex's brain. He's a great character: complex and a little dark, but without being a big ball of angst or depression. And I love the relationship with his Mom. Anna actually reminds me of my own Mom. Plus, Alex as a Momma's Boy is just sexy. Really, Caroline seems like the character we all love to hate, so I'm interested to see where her relationship with Indy is going to go. I'd love to know why she was so upset with Alex though. If I had a boyfriend as awesome as him, I wouldn't want to give him up over some stupid publicity spiff. This is making me want to ship Alex/Penny. Could you make a prologue with them interacting, or would that be only in the novel? Because I could see them becoming my OTP. Or maybe one about Teddy, and how he became a man slut. It's a toss up between the two right now.
You're right, Alex is a complex guy and a little dark. He'd probably end up a big ball of angst if not for his mother. Eventually she says, "Enough!" and pulls him out of it.
Sadly, Alex and Penny don't interact until the actual novel. They do spend a year on tour together before the novel begins, but Penny was way too in awe to actually approach him and Alex didn't do a lot of socializing during that year. He was pretty up in his own head and things weren't going well, relatively speaking, on the court either, so he kept to himself.
I'm loving your enthusiasm for all the characters though! Makes me feel like I'm on the right track.
Kaelyn: Oh man! This exceeded any expectations I could have possibly had. SO good! I think it's really interesting that Alex proposed to Caroline. It's one of those situations that once it happens, and she says no, I kind of feel like the relationship is doomed. And this relationship exploded in spectacular fashion. Seriously. I can't wait to see the repercusions this might have for Alex. Is he gunshy now? Or did he go nuts and sleep with every woman he could find? So, so, so good!
Ah! I'm so glad you feel that way because it was your prompt! Your comments about their relationship being doomed after she said no would normally be the case, but both of them were pretty happy with the relationship even after the failed proposal. The problem was the circumstances surrounding them, particularly Caroline's changed in a negative way and thus the way she viewed the relationship changed. I'd recommend voting for Alex for the next prequel if you want to see how he dealt with the breakup. ;-)
EllieMarie84: That was intense!! I can't wait for the book. With each prequel I get more and more wrapped up in the character's stories. I can't help but wonder what Alex's mother thought of Caroline.
I'm so psyched that you're psyched for the book. Now I just have to finish it. As to Anna's thoughts on Caroline (or any woman in her son's life) as long as he's happy she's good with it. Anna pretty much, up to this point, stays out of his relationships.
Megan H: I can't even say how much I love this. Poor Alex. It's bad enough to propose and get turned down, but then to have it thrown in his face during a break up? That's just horrible. I'm loving Paolo. He seems like a very decent guy. Caroline, on the other hand, I seem to hate more and more. I can't wait to see her side of this and see what her reasoning is. She said she didn't want to get married, but here she is now, married to a man twice her age, and it can't be about money since Alex is freaking rich. The part about calling him a bastard was just heartbreaking. Did she know how much that would hurt him and do it on purpose, or was it just a really unfortunate choice of words?
You're spot on about one thing. It wasn't about the money. Caroline's got it. Alex's got it and so does Charles Gaffney. You'll have to wait for the novel to find out! ;-)
Meghan: I really liked reading this from Alex's point of view, and I like him as a character. There's a certain complexity to his personality that is intriguing. I want to know how he reacts to what just happened; it had seemed from the start that Alex's relationship with Caroline was soon to be over, and she basically confirmed that. Alex seems to have good values and I appreciate his respect for his mother, and based on what little I do know about Caroline, she is definitely not the one for him. Overall, very well-written and interesting.
I love how you all are picking up on how complex Alex is! Now won't it be fun watching a particular character figure that out as well. (No, I won't say who, but I'm sure you can all guess!)
In reaction to the prequel, For the Birds
Magenta Moncrieff: I find it interesting how the vocabulary used to narrate changes depending on the character, despite the third person writing. It helps to create an image of the character without devoting time to in-depth descriptions.
Yes! I'm so glad you picked up on that. I don't try to do it consciously, so much as I'm trying to develop a unique voice for each of my characters. They're all very different people, but at the end of the day they all have the same goal, to be the best tennis player in the world, so it's tough to develop a different set of values etc. for all of them and even to change the words they use, when they all live in basically the same world.
In reaction to the Prologue from Game. Set. Match.
Grace: Hey, I wasn't sure whether I would like this because I am not very into sports but I thought I would give it a try and I am SO glad that I did, I love this so far and you write so well, if it is long enough in the end you should get it published !!! I can't wait to read more xD Grace xx
I'm so glad to hear this. I want this universe to be accessible and interesting to both sports fans and non-sports fans. That's the idea. The novel I'm working on right now in this universe will probably be between 60,000-70,000 words, maybe more depending upon if I decide to flesh out some scenes here and there, so the ultimate goal is to get it published.
Malpal: You have an amazing talent for bringing characters to life and I can't wait to read more!
Thank you! xo
Gefc: Cant wait to read more. I think right now I'm more interested in Penny and Indy's stories. As soon as I have more time I'm gonna go and read the prequels. Looking forward to reading more from you.
That was the idea, for everyone to fall in love with one or two of these characters and root hard for them. I know everyone isn't going to love everyone and sometimes they're allegiances are going to shift. Can't wait to hear what you think of the prequels!
In reaction to the post, Ships Ahoy! An Update
Farfallama: I really love the idea of Alex/Penny, because I feel like they would be a great pairing because of their similarities/differences. I could go into deep analyses, but in the end, they make a great pairing because they just do. The Teddy/Jasmine pairing seems like a good idea because I too love the idea of a girl finally getting the guy she's been loving for forever. It's cliche, but what can I say? I'm a romantic at heart. I think they'll work because Teddy isn't really a player, he's just become one. It's not his nature. He just needs someone like Jasmine to remind him that Amy is the exception, not the rule when it comes to love. As for Indy, I think she needs someone like Razor (from MIOBI). Someone just as crazy as she is, but in a laid back, chill kind of way. I think they'd be dynamite together. Please keep writing. You have me hooked!
I love your reasonings for both Alex/Penny and Teddy/Jasmine. As for Indy, well the guy I have in mind for her isn't exactly as crazy as she is, but he's definitely a lot more "chill" as you said.
EllieMarie84: I like both Alex/Penny and Teddy/Jasmine pairings. Alex and Penny appear to have similar values and could potentially really click. I can't wait to see them interact. I can't wait to see how the Teddy/Jasmine story unfolds. I love the idea of a girl finally getting the guy she has been secretly crushing on. Can the reality ever live up to the expectations? Is Teddy finished with his player ways?
Both good questions. We'll see!