I am super excited about this #CharacterSpotlight today … Debut author, SarahJane Ford is one to watch this year and she joins me to introduce us to Ryan, the best friend of her main character in her upcoming novel, I Give You My Heart.
So, SarahJane, when did you create Ryan?
I created Ryan once I’d got the concept, plot, and other two main characters, Alice and Alex, mapped out in my mind. The story has some heavy themes through it – terminal illness, losing the love of your life, and loss – so I wanted a believable but bright light of a character to create periods and scenes of joy and lift for the reader (and for me as I wrote the story). I felt that Alice needed her best friend to be a strong feature of the book – being such a warm and loving person herself, she has deep bonds with the people in her life. Ryan also ends up fulfilling a key role in the development of the plot and timeline. I wanted to tell a story that only projects love, so Ryan, who the reader can’t help but adore, became an important of that mission.
Did you write the book to accommodate Ryan or Ryan to accommodate the book?
I wrote Ryan to accommodate the book – he was a final (glorious and dazzling) piece of the puzzle.
What do you like most about him?
Can I say ‘everything’?! I love his personality – his flair and radiance alongside his depth and love for Alice, as well as his strength and loyalty to her.
What do you like least about Ryan?
That it’s hard to keep up with him – he is all energy and momentum and sometimes as the writer I found it hard to do him justice.
Did your early readers/editorial team like him to start with or did you have to change him in any way?
They loved Ryan – he was always commented on as a reader favourite. One of my early readers, who doesn’t usually read romance, said they wished they could have him as their best friend – and that seems to be the consensus. I was very nervous when my Nan (who did one of the proofreads) read it, as I wasn’t sure she would get on board with Ryan fully with all his drama, but she absolutely loved him (though I’m under strict instructions not to tell my Gramps just how deep her Ryan adoration runs!). I haven’t changed him in any way since he was first born in my imagination – I feel like it would be impossible to anyway – he’s such a defined individual I wouldn’t dare!
Does he have any similarities with anyone real?
Unlike the rest of my characters, yes. During my teenage years I had a few gay friends, and they were all inspirational. A few of them had a very strong sense of self and identity and I remember that standing out during a period when most of my peers were very lost and confused– so I think Ryan’s inner-strength comes from my experiencing that in them. Since then two people have come into my life who were so ‘fabulous’ in how they phrased things and their mannerisms/body language that they were the ultimate lift. Knowing them gave me the confidence to write Ryan’s dialogue the way I did.
Would you be friends in real life?
If he’d have me, 100%! I would love that more than words can say. Oh, the adventures and fun we would have. I think he’d be a friend that would make you feel like you were standing in the sunshine when he was with you. Every little piece of everyday life would be transformed from the grey of washing dishes to the technicolour of kitchen sink discos – he would light life up and I would bask in that with complete delight!
Thank you so much for joining me today, SarahJane!
Want to know more about Ryan and his friends? Of course you do, here’s the blurb …
A terminal diagnosis. A life-saving sacrifice. A love letter written on the walls of her heart.
Alice Richards looked forward to watching the seeds of love she and her husband planted bloom and grow well into their old age. But her plans for the future shrivel up and die when she learns she has an inoperable brain tumour.
Determined that she won’t die in vain, she decides to become an organ donor. With a few precious months left, Alice begins documenting her fairytale romance—from their first meeting to the children they dreamed of having. She’ll pass on every detail to her heart’s next owner… along with careful instructions to send her husband reminders of her undying love. Before her time runs out, Alice must find the perfect candidate to guide her husband through unimaginable grief and hold the memory of their love in her heart.
I Give You My Heart is an emotional romantic fiction novel with an uplifting message. If you like strong-willed women, undying love stories, and honest portrayals of coping with a terminal illness, then you’ll love SarahJane Ford’s heart-warming epic.
An unmissable love story full of warmth, beauty and with a huge, beating heart. Perfect for fans of Cecilia Ahern’s ‘P.S. I Love You’ and Jojo Moyes’ ‘Me Before You’.
I can tell you, I’ve had the pleasure of working with SarahJane on this book and let me tell you, I ugly cried the whole way through! It’s bloody brilliant and you NEED to get it pre-ordered NOW ready for it to land on publication day on 1 September.
You can also join SarahJane’s Facebook page to be in with a chance of winning a paperback copy BEFORE publication day! Just follow the link and get liking!
About the author …
SarahJane is the debut writer of ‘I Give You My Heart’. SarahJane was born in Scotland but grew up in the Cheshire countryside, which is home to her. After a few years living in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, where she went to secondary school, she has now settled back in Cheshire in a quirky flat surrounded by trees, birds and rolling fields. A marketing professional since finishing her formal education SarahJane is delighted to be following her writing dream. She still works part-time as a Marketing Manager, whilst furiously penning her next novel. SarahJane loves to read (ideally by the sea!). Her favourite writers include author Mitch Albom and poet Beau Taplin. Harbouring an adventurous spirit, she loves to travel and be surrounded by the wilderness, or riding Cornish waves, when she’s not cosied up at home spending time with her family, friends and books.