Last Monday was the second anniversary of the Dream Date series. I self-published the first book (of the same title) on August 15, 2014. I’d always wanted to be a published writer, and that was the first time I achieved my goal. Technically, it’s the second book I wrote, but I no longer count the novella that came before that. The reasons for this can be found in my FAQ section. Anyway, Dream Date was my first foray as a published author. I chose New Adult romance as my genre because, well, I like women very much and wanted to write about a gorgeous one.
Since one book wasn’t enough to tell the story of Amanda Tilley and Nathan Ferland, I released a sequel titled Devoted to Her. It allowed me to introduce new characters (which was exciting) and flesh out some of the supporting characters. One of them in particular really struck my interest: Kayla Moran. I want to write a book about her, but I’m busy with my sci-fi ideas now. And also, I don’t want to rush with a half-hearted story. If I’m writing that book, I want to do it right and have a decent story.
Today I’m going to post some trivia about the Dream Date series. This includes character inspirations and other stuff I haven’t written about before. Here it is:
- Dream Date was originally going to be a standalone book. I grew very fond of the characters, so I decided to write at least one more installment.
- Amanda Tilley is the first character created for the book. I wanted to write a story about a seemingly unreachable woman, someone like a Rosalie Hale but without all the bitterness or smugness. Also, I wanted a book that ranted about the dazzling looks of the female protagonist. Most romance books do this for the male protagonist, which I personally was fed up with.
- Ashton Robards and Grecia Nichols, the main supporting characters, had their story expanded in later drafts of Dream Date. I’d planned to write them a book, but chose to tell their story alongside Amanda’s and Nathan’s.
- On a related note, Ashton was meant to end up with Judith Vawer, Amanda’s best friend. However, I had an Adjustment Bureau situation. Ashton decided that he wanted Grecia. I swear that does happen. Characters do take on a mind of their own.
- For the character of Amanda Tilley, I took inspiration from a few real-life people. Ashley Benson and Gigi Hadid inspired Amanda’s looks, while Alexis Ren inspired her personality and her career. If Amanda Tilley was real, her modeling career would be almost exactly like Alexis’s. They’re very popular but not as well-known as the likes of Gigi Hadid or Miranda Kerr.
- Hilbert Melendez went from being a drug lord to the leader of a kidnapping ring in early drafts of the book. He’s the character I had most difficulty with. I didn’t want to be cliché, so I turned Hilbert into a sexual offender. That made him a much better fit for the story. Hilbert being a drug lord or something would have been odd.
- Phillip Hayden, a private detective, is also one of the oldest characters written for Dream Date. I was reserving him to star in his own mystery/thriller series. After I shelved those plans in favor of the Dream Date series, I introduced Hayden to help take down Hilbert.
- The setting for this series was Syracuse at first. I changed it to Ithaca because I needed a city within reasonable driving distance from Manhattan. The city also needed to have a university that offered the courses of study that the major characters wanted to pursue.
- Amanda Tilley is blonde because I find blondes really attractive. It’s not one of my must-haves for a woman, though. Ironically, my biggest celeb crushes (Lily Collins and Hailee Steinfeld) are brunettes.
- I made Amanda be technologically savvy because it’s a quality I prize in women. It would frustrate me if the girl I dated couldn’t keep up with me in that area. I’m not as skilled as, say, Daisy Johnson from Agents of SHIELD, though. That girl runs circles around me. 🙂
- Kayla Moran’s surname was changed from Delaney in Devoted to Her because I didn’t really like the sound of it. Delaney also rhymes with Tilley, and I sought to differentiate Amanda and Kayla. It was important to me, and I hope I went about the change in a tidy way.
- Kellan Hughes was originally meant to be a love interest for Amanda. It would have made the story crowded, so I shelved that idea.
That’s it for today. If you have any questions, you’re welcome to ask them in the comments. Have a good day!