The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before. ~ Neil Gaiman, author
To readers of the Toby & Claudia series, I send out a big, hearty welcome to you! As my ability to navigate the publishing field becomes more practiced and comfortable, I will happily entertain you with many more stories.
I began working on Saving Toby in the spring of 2010. At that time, the story was loosely configured in my head, and though I'd been writing all my life, I didn't know a lick about how to publish a book, but once I started putting this story together, I couldn't stop.
I fell in love with the my characters, and every day, I thought about how the story would unfold. I had to keep a notebook on hand at all times. Ideas flooded me day and night.
Claudia had originally started out as introverted and rather meek. But I found myself not liking her character. If you've read the Twilight series, I think you might understand what I mean when I say, I could never understand Edward's obsession with Bella. She was rather dull. I didn't want Claudia to be nondescript and boring like that. Despite my desire to make her compassionate, I found myself turning Claudia into a driven young woman who refused to have her goals sidetracked - A classic type 'A' personality.
Some readers have been surprising vocal with complaints about Claudia — that she was selfish and her treatment of Toby too tough, but I don't see it that way. Considering her life up till then — her overprotective father, her limited experiences with guys, and what Toby puts her through — her reactions make perfect sense. She never abandons Toby; she only steps back from their relationship. Whether you disapproved of the way she handled the situation or not, I stand firm in my belief that Claudia's actions were realistic and were what Toby needed to make the necessary changes in his life. If she had taken him back before he was ready, the book would have a different ending or an unrealistic one.
In my opinion, Claudia's character is a true representation of many of today's motivated and focused young women — ones who are not selfish, but who are confident and true to themselves. I've had the pleasure to watch such girls grow into young women — such as my own daughter, her friends, classmates and Girl Scouts, all whom are now in their twenties. Growing up, they were compassionate and quick to volunteer their time to worthy causes, but despite their beauty, many of them chose grades over guys, and their will to excel has always impressed me.
And Toby, what can I say? This guy ruled my thoughts for the last three years. Oddly, narrating his chapters came more easily to me than Claudia's. I knew him from day one -- the guy stole my heart long before he stole Claudia's.
If you enjoyed these stories, I encourage you to make sure you're signed up to get updates on my progress (see below), buckle up and hold on to your seats. I truly feel like "Saving Toby" and "Keeping Claudia" are just the beginning for me—the warm up for more to come.
Like small children, I currently have several manuscripts in the works, all of them begging for my undivided attention. Now if I could quite my day job, I could really turn them out.
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