A Character Interview with Lorelai from NO BACKWARD GLANCES plus a conversation with author Kat Schuessler!

Today we're bringing something different to Writing in the Modern Age in the form of a character interview.  These character interviews, now and in the future, should prove to be very enlightening for all of us. 

We have the pleasure of meeting Lorelai (Rory) Rose Todd, a character from No Backward Glances. 
We'll get a chance to talk to the author, Kat Schuessler, in a bit, but now we have on the stage...Lorelai! 


Marie Lavender:  Hello, Lorelai.  Please have a seat.

Character Lorelai Todd:  Thank you.  It's a pleasure to be here. 
Marie:  We're going to start out with some simple questions, okay? 

Lorelai:  All right.
Marie:  So, what is your occupation? Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?
Lorelai:  I am lead nurse at Summa Hospital. Considering I’m lead, I would have to assume I’m good at it, but I just do my job. As for whether or not I like it, I absolutely love it. Every life I help save gives me such a great feeling.
Marie:  That's wonderful!
So, tell us...what is your family like?
Lorelai:  My blood family is amazing. I have two sisters I love to death, a lovable and supportive mom and dad, and a niece and two nephews that I love like my own kids. My stepmother however… well, let’s just say Mount Everest is warmer than her heart, and leave it at that.
Marie:  All right. 
What did your childhood home look like?
Lorelai:  It was a regular two-story house in Stow. It was white with a brown roof, had a huge backyard and a cherry blossom tree out front, and it was really easy to find because all of the other houses on the street faced the street but our house was turned to the side. 
Marie:  Do you have any hobbies now? What do you enjoy doing?
Lorelai:  I read constantly. I also play the flute, watch Netflix, and hang out with my two best friends Bella and Rita. 

Marie: What is your greatest dream, Lorelai?


Lorelai:  I would love to be a doctor. I’m working toward that now but I have a long way to go. 


Marie:  Well, good!  I have no doubt that you'll make it. :)


Let's try another question. 


What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?


Lorelai: You know those girls who can be dumped by a man, and just let it roll right off of them and move on to the next guy without even being bothered? I would love to be like that. I can’t seem to stop myself from falling apart every time I’m broken up with, and I hate that about myself. I wish I could be stronger. 


Marie:  I know what you mean. I'm a sensitive type as well.


So, let's try something else.


Who was your first love?

Lorelai:  His name was Brad. He wasn’t my first boyfriend by a long shot, but I was with him on and off all through high school and I truly believed we would eventually get married. Things didn’t work out and at the time it was really sad, but I’ve accepted it. 


Marie: All right.
We are curious, but not because we're morbid or anything. 
What's the most terrible thing that ever happened to you, Lorelai?

Lorelai: There was a time when I was sixteen that I had a really bad asthma attack. My parents thought I was going to die and I did too. I literally couldn’t draw breath. They quickly set up my nebulizer and I actually had to take two treatments before I was okay. It was terrifying. 


Marie:  Wow, I bet. That's scary!


Let's try something else, shall we? 


What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
Lorelai:  Growing up, my dream was to be a spy. Like, CIA-level spy. Obviously, that requires a lot of training that my asthma would not be able to handle. I couldn’t even join the army or the police force, which was a real bummer. When that fell through, Bella suggested I try medical with her, and I realized how much I loved it. 

Marie: Well, I'm glad you found something you like! :)


So, who is your role model, Lorelai?


Lorelai:  I hate to say this, but I don’t have one. I know that’s crazy but I have my own idea of what kind of person I’d like to be and it’s an amalgamation of a lot of different people. 


Marie:  No, actually that makes a lot of sense.


Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?


Lorelai:  Not really. I try to be real with everybody unless they’re patients and I have to be nice. As for everyone else, I treat them as they treat me. Luckily, I get to be nice to most people.


Marie:  (Laughs.) Okay. 


So, what is your deepest desire?


Lorelai:  To be successful and live a cliché life – husband, kids, dogs, white picket fence… Basically, I want to be happy and secure.




Marie:  And no one could blame you for that.


So, what is your greatest fear, Lorelai?


Lorelai: Being the opposite of that. I am afraid of failing at life, working my ass off only to be stuck living in a motel, having to take the bus to my two crappy jobs, unable to save anything or advance myself at all.

And spiders. Oh my god, spiders. 

Marie: (Shudders.) Eek! Spiders...yeah, I hate those too.  And I think a lot of us have a deep-seated fear of failure.
Well, it looks like we're running out of time, Lorelai. Thank you for visiting us today. 

Lorelai:  Thank you for letting me visit.

Marie:  Of course! It was so interesting getting to know you.  (Waves at her guest as she heads off the stage.)

Now, let's shift over and get the author's perspective.  We have Kat Schuessler on the stage today!  Hi, Kat!

Author Kat Schuessler:  Hi, Marie! It's so nice to be here!

Marie:  (Smiles.) Welcome to Writing in the Modern Age!  
So, we just got to talk a female character from your story...Lorelai.  Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Kat: She’s smart and gorgeous, and a great nurse. She loves to read and play flute, and she spends as much time with Bella and Rita, her best friends, as possible. She has pretty severe asthma, but is living with it as well as she can. 


Marie:  All right. 
What are your character's greatest strengths? 

Kat:  She has a huge heart and does her best to see the good in people, but when people treat her badly she doesn’t take any shit. She’s great at her job and knows it, but she’s always striving to get better. 


Marie: Certainly admirable!
So, what are her greatest weaknesses?
Kat:  In all aspects but her work, she needs to be more confident and believe in herself more. She doesn’t see how amazing she is and if she spent more time taking care of herself and thinking positively, then she would be much happier. 

Marie: What are some of her favorite foods? 


Kat:  Any kind of pork, especially ham and bacon, and her mom’s taco salad. She also loves to heavily drink sweetened tea, hot or iced.   


Marie: So, what's a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?


Kat: She has no idea how strong she really is. She thinks that her asthma and her kindness, as well as how easily broken her heart is, makes her weak. In all honesty, going through that makes her stronger and more capable to handle what life throws at her. Having her heart broken, allowing that pain to be felt, and then being able to love again and opening herself up to being hurt again shows real strength and bravery, but she doesn’t realize that. 


Marie:  Well, I agree with you. That is impressive.


So, tell us...


Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?


Kat:  I think they’ll like her. She’s very real and down to earth. She may be afraid to be hurt, but who isn’t? She’s exactly what every woman wants to be.
Marie:  I agree. Well, I definitely want to find out what happens next! :)
Now that we have a real taste of Lorelai Todd, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for No Backward Glances

Kat:  My heart was broken, and I met somebody that helped me heal and feel better about myself. Unfortunately, it didn’t end as well as the book did, so I rewrote it. 
Marie:  Sorry to hear it didn't work out, but creative license obviously helped.  And I imagine your writing was cathartic, in a sense.
So, what is your writing style like, Kat?  Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Kat:  A pantser. I’ve realized that even if I plan my book, it all ends up changing anyway.
Marie: That makes sense. We often only think we're in control of our characters, when it's actually the other way around. 

So...I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers.  Did you come across any specific challenges in writing No Backward Glances or getting it published?  What would you do differently the next time?
Kat:  My biggest challenge was definitely the fact that I started writing it long hand. I learned very quickly that handwriting may be okay for short stories and poetry, but for a novel it wasn’t going to work. I have so much respect for Margaret Mitchell, it’s ridiculous. When I finally got a laptop, things ran much more smoothly and it got done faster. Then I had to deal with editing, writing a blurb and query letter, and finding somebody to publish my book. Compared to the actual writing of the book, getting it published was really easy. I managed to find the perfect publisher after applying to only a few places. As for what I’d do differently, honestly, nothing. I just finished the rough draft and editing of book number two, and the whole process was the same, if not shorter because I typed the whole thing as opposed to handwriting half of it. I did learn the virtue of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and learned that it’s a great motivator, so I will definitely be participating every year.  

Marie:  Those are certainly some useful tips!

Well, it was such a pleasure having you here on Writing in the Modern Age, Kat. We hope you can come back sometime!  :)  
Kat:  Thank you for having me here.


Marie:  Of course! 


Readers, here is the blurb for No Backward Glances.
When Lorelai Todd has her heart shattered by her boyfriend, she vows to never trust a man again. Six months later, she’s called to the hospital where she works to help with an emergency. She speeds to get there and is pulled over by Jay, a handsome cop who will eventually threaten to break down the walls she’s built around her heart.
After giving the sexy woman a warning and sending her quickly on her way, Jay regrets not asking her out. Fate seems to intervene when he’s called to the hospital to identify a potential kidnap victim and finds the nurse in charge is Lorelai, the beauty he pulled over for speeding.
He wastes no time in asking her for a date and she accepts, but hesitantly.
They learn they have much in common – from music to movies. But the most incredible thing they share is an amazing chemistry. The sex is red hot, they can’t keep their hands off one another.
Jay is falling for Lorelai fast, but he’s worried if she’ll ever be able to let her guard down and trust him. While he's wooing Lorelai, Jay is caught up in the investigation to find the kidnapper who shot the young victim who brought them together. Lorelai finds herself involved, in more ways than one.
Their relationship is complicated by a mystery, danger and ghosts from their past.
But one thing is clear, their hearts are involved.
Can they beat the odds and find a future together?
Because there’s one thing for certain –
In the game of love – there should be NO BACKWARD GLANCES.

Here is an excerpt from the book.
“So...I'm sorry if this seems a little forward, but I've been wanting to talk to you about something,” Jay said, sounding nervous.

“What's up?”

“Well, we've known each other a while now and we've been hanging out a lot, but I'm still not really sure what we are. Relationship-wise.”

Rory immediately felt her stomach plummet to the ground. She wasn't ready for this talk yet; in fact, she'd been dreading it.

“Oh, really?” she replied. She hoped he wasn't going to push the issue, but knowing Jay, he would. She didn't want to hurt him, but she was absolutely terrified to agree to any kind of commitment.

“Yeah. And I was just wondering what you thought, because I'd really like us to become kind of an exclusive thing.”

Rory felt her throat go dry, and she swallowed and forced herself to speak evenly. “I'm not really sure, either. I mean, we're great together. I'm just not sure if we should put a label on it quite yet. I know it feels like we've been doing this forever,” she said, trying to do this the right way, “but really, it's only been like, two weeks. Maybe we should just see where we're going first. For right now, I'd just call us friends with benefits.

“To be honest,” she continued, “That doesn't even feel like the right term. We seem like we're more than that, which is why I say we should avoid labels, just for now. For now, we're just..dating.” Rory refused to look at Jay. She wasn't sure what his expression was, and if it was sadness or disappointment, then she would feel awful. So she just kept her eyes on the road and made the turns that the GPS told her to make.

“Okay,” Jay replied.

The rest of the ride was silent.

Rory pulled into the parking lot and parked next to Jay's car, they got out of the car, and they walked up the stairs and into Jay's apartment, all without saying a word. Guilt was worming its way through Rory's body, and a momentary thought flashed in her mind; was this how Matt felt when he broke up with her? Did he feel as awful about hurting her as she felt about hurting Jay?

She sure as hell hoped so.

Rory took off her coat and shoes as Jay set up the movie and popped popcorn, even though they just ate and they each agreed that they couldn't eat another bite. Now she looked at his face, and it didn't tell her much. There were no emotions, just simple focus on the task at hand. It was almost like he was on auto-pilot, going through the motions but not really focusing on them. That worried her a little bit; Jay didn't do auto-pilot, not with her. He always talked to her while he did everything, no matter what it was. This was bothering him, and she knew it.

She wanted to say something, do something to fix this, but she wasn't sure what that was, so she just sat on the couch and waited for him to finish. He split the popcorn into two bowls, as he always did, brought them over, sat down on the couch and pressed “play” on the remote control. They sat through the first ten minutes before he paused the movie and turned toward her.

“Lorelai...are you seeing somebody else?”

“What?” She gasped, putting her bowl on the table in front of her. “Of course not. Why would you think that?”

“Then why won't you commit to me? I know that's what this is about; you don't want labels because you don't want to commit. Well, I do. I want to be able to be with you and say, 'Hey, this is Lorelai, my girlfriend, and for you to be proud to introduce me as your boyfriend. I want this to be something real, and possibly permanent. Why don't you?”

Rory sighed. “Jay...I don't want to go too deep into it, but the last guy that I really committed to broke my heart. It nearly killed me, and I'll be perfectly honest; I'm terrified. Just that first dinner with you scared me, let alone the idea of fully committing to you and opening myself up to you completely. Please understand that it isn't anything wrong with you; you're amazing. I just can't shake the fear that it's going to happen again.”

Jay took a minute, and then met Rory's eyes with his own. “Lorelai, you mean the world to me. There is nothing I would ever do to hurt you, not in a thousand years. If it will take a little longer to prove that to you, then that's okay; I'll do it. But even if I can't consider you my girlfriend, I want you to consider me your boyfriend, because I'm not going anywhere. Understand?”

Rory's heart melted, and she nodded, unable to speak. She leaned forward and kissed him, and he put his arm around her waist and pulled her closer to him.

“Now that we're speaking again,” he said, picking up the remote, “Let's watch this movie and actually enjoy it. Deal?”
Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon Link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00WFEI6KA

Barnes & Noble:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/no-backward-glances-kat-schuessler/1121801834

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/5445301

Sounds like a great book!


Readers, don't forget to pick up a copy of Kat's awesome debut novel!

About Kat Schuessler:


Kat Schuessler has been an aspiring writer since she was a child, beginning with short stories starring herself as a superhero, hopping from sad stories to horror as she grew older, and finally landing on romance with her first published novel, No Backward Glances. She reads ceaselessly, plays the flute, and takes care of her two hamsters in her apartment in Ohio.


Kat's Book: 

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