Monday, January 5, 2015
MEET WILLA TOBIN (TWIN PIQUES)
The release date for Twin Piques is fast approaching (Two days and counting!), so I wanted to introduce you to the characters who populate this book. Hopefully, you'll enjoy spending time with them as much as I did! Let's start with the eldest (by six minutes) of the Tobin twins, Willa . . .
One might say that Willa is a little eccentric. She's a pet psychic by trade, enjoys wearing retro fashion, always carries a silly, smile-inducing purse (ladybug, Hello Kitty, and banana split handbags all have a place in her wardrobe), and is an unrelenting optimist in a world full of cynics. Described by others as "charming, "adorable," and "delightfully whimsical," Willa is liked, if not understood, by everyone she meets. Because of her "gift," she's very empathetic and strives to see the good in all people, even going so far as to make excuses for those who've wronged her, which drives her less forgiving sister crazy. Willa does have a long history of being taken advantage of by men, but she wants to believe in love and happily-ever-after so badly that she keeps on risking her heart in hopes that one of the frogs she kisses will turn out to be her prince.
Author's Notes: Willa is the sweetest character I've ever written for, which proved to be a challenge as I am not naturally as kindhearted and non-judgmental as she is. It was fun to shift my brain into a different gear to get into her perpetually sunny mindset, though. I feel like I really learned something from this character. A positive attitude can take you a long way, and if you project happiness, it will usually reflect back on to you.
The one aspect of the Willa character I related to very strongly was her deep and abiding love of animals, especially dogs. Like Willa's canine bestie, Cicero, my dogs are colorful characters who are full of personality and have a variety of unique quirks. I am always wondering what they're thinking, and that's why I thought it would be fun to write for a character who believes she can read animals' thoughts (Whether or not Willa can actually do this or if she just imagines she can, I will let you decide!)
I should note that I did visit a pet psychic with two of my dogs as research for Twin Piques. I'm sorry to say that it was an underwhelming experience. I was expecting a Patrick Jane (The Mentalist) type psychic who would put on a show and "wow" me with her observations, but what I got was someone who just asked a lot of questions, then made innocuous comments that really didn't help me gain any insight into my furry friends. So, I decided to take creative license and ramp up the fun factor when I wrote about Willa's unusual ability and her sessions with clients in the book.
Willa Quotes (non-spoilery): "I don't plan things like my sister does. I just follow my heart."
"I'm elated, ecstatic, on cloud nine, can't stop smiling, have been dancing around the apartment for the last half-hour; Cicero thinks I've lost it."
"Just because casual hook-ups aren't my thing, it doesn't mean I can't grasp the concept of them."
"Last time Cicero and I came by for a visit, the mean, old guard in the lobby wouldn't let us up, even though I promised to carry Cicero the whole time we were in the building. It was very upsetting to encounter that kind of canine prejudice."
Casting: Willa (and Sloane) are slim and leggy, with big eyes and long, dark hair. It's hard to think of an actress who could convincingly play sweet, friendly Willa as well as brainy tough cookie Sloane, but I think Thor actress Jaimie Alexander could pull it off.
Since there are several flashback scenes to the twins' childhood and adolescence in the book, I feel like I should cast a Teen Willa/Sloane, too. I vote for former Nickelodeon star Victoria Justice.
I'll be back later today to give you the scoop on Willa's sister, Sloane. Remember, Twin Piques will be out this Wednesday, January 7th, and you can read all about the Tobin twins then!
Meanwhile, I invite you to check out this Pinterest board I created for Willa. Here you'll find a variety of images, including lots of retro fashion, that inspired me when writing the character.