Is it ok to admit I'm feeling just a teensy bit like a jealous girlfriend? People are emailing me and messaging me on Goodreads and posting on my Facebook Author page about how much they love Noel from Set in Stone. Like....looooove him.
“I want more Noel!”
“I miss Noel....when will the sequel be done?”
“Why can't every man walking the planet be like Noel?”
“I will come and babysit your kids so you can write non-stop!” (OK, so no one has actually told me that...but I'm open to offers...)
And trust me...I am beyond flattered. To have someone I created (although, I have my doubts about that. I think he might actually be real. But that's for another post.) speak to so many people, to elicit such strong emotions, is an amazingly awesome feeling.
I am humbled. I am proud. I am filled with love and joy.
And I'm just a smidgeon jealous.
Why? What on earth is there to be jealous about?
Because, for the longest time, he was mine. For three months, I wrote and wrote and wrote, and I was the only one who ever saw those words, who even knew Noel existed. And then for a year or so, I shared carefully, with friends and beta readers and critique partners. Even through those limited sets of eyes, it still felt like he was mine.
And even though Valerie and I are nearly as opposite as night and day (me, run? HA! Me, artistic? Just try to play Draw Something with me or ask me to sculpt something out of Play-Doh!), I often imagined that the words Noel spoke to her were for me. I mean, how could I not? When you write in first person narrative and a hot guy is whispering how beautiful you are, how special you are...well, it's easy to blur the lines a little bit.
Now, before you all start thinking I'm a little bit loopy and I secretly have a shrine dedicated to Noel in my closet, I do not. That particular honor was reserved for Michael Jackson when I was in 5th grade. I have my own real-life Noel whom I love deliriously, thank you very much. I do not ask him to stick his face in the freezer before he kisses me and I do not make him dye his hair black or wear ice blue contacts. Oh, wait. He already has dark hair and blue eyes...
I am beyond happy with my real-life man. I am not in love with any of my characters. I am happy that so many people love the book and love Noel. I want to hear what readers think and what they loved best about the story.
But if I bite my lip and nod a little tersely before commenting, don't take it personally. It's just me, acquiescing that Noel no longer belongs to me.
He belongs to whomever wants to love him.
Noel belongs to everyone.