Blog Tour: Waiting For Prince Harry by Aven Ellis - Creating Kylie Reed
Kylie Reed is the heroine in my latest release, Waiting for Prince Harry. Creating Kylie was a multi-step process, and it started with her internal conflict: fear. Fear of failure, fear of disappointing people, fear of standing up for herself.
I often see young women struggle with this--fear holding them back, and having experienced it myself, I knew it was a topic I wanted to explore. I wanted to show Kylie wrestling with it, putting off taking action by filing her dreams in a “future” file to be lived later. I wanted her to grow with Harrison, the hero of the book, and have both of them learn to face their fears together.
So once I had the conflict, next I had to craft her looks and personality. Her looks came to me by chance--I was at coworker’s desk and she had a photo of her daughter-in-law on it. The young woman was absolutely stunning--with long, dark hair and brown eyes. But she radiated warmth in her pictures. Kindness. Someone you would want to meet and be around. And the second I saw this picture, I had the physical inspiration for Kylie Reed. I could see Harrison being drawn to her genuine spirit, and her espresso-colored eyes would always tell him everything he needed to know.
The next part of creating Kylie was her personality and her career. I had ripped out an article from when Taylor Swift was dating Connor Kennedy, and it was all about her “Kennedy Chic” style during that period. Her clothing was classy and feminine, and I remember at the time thinking, “I could use this for a character!” And once Kylie started coming together physically, I knew this would be her look. Here is the article if you want to see it.
And because I decided to have Kylie like fashions with a vintage twist to them, I began to think about her career. Which was inspired by two things: my own love of Project Runway, the American fashion designer competition, and my sister, who actually works as a visual display coordinator in Dallas. I thought what if Kylie wanted to be a designer, but didn’t actively pursue that dream? What if she kept that skill to herself while working in the industry like my sister did? Then I saw an article about a woman who launched her career designing cooking aprons, and that was the Ah-Ha moment! Kylie would be an apron designer (applying her love of vintage styles and fabrics in her craft.) And aprons would also make sense for her homebody style: she loves being at home, reading, sewing, and baking.
I interviewed my sister about her job, and she gave me all the details I was looking for. I also had her read behind my drafts to make sure Kylie was accurate as a visual display coordinator. Additionally, I had a friend who was on vacation in London and she took loads of storefront pictures for me for inspiration (thank you Barbara S!). You can see these pictures here: Pinterest Board
At this point, I had Kylie totally designed in my head and on paper in the character notes. She was going to be the woman who changed everything for Harrison Flynn. But at this point Harrison had no name, he was simply in my head as a ginger hockey god.
I thought on it some more and suddenly Prince Harry popped into my head--Kyle could be drawn to him, his fun nature and his fearlessness. She could see Prince Harry as the ideal man. And then she could find her own ginger prince named Harrison. She would be Waiting for Prince Harry.
And that is how Kylie was created. Through a coworker photo, a Taylor Swift fashion clipping, my own fears, my sister’s career and Prince Harry. So see? You never know what goes into an author’s brain when creating a character. :)
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