Saturday, May 10, 2008

Chickened out

I needed to take my kids to the doctor last week and while we were sitting in the waiting room, a good looking young guy walked in to pick up a referral. He made me sit up and take notice because he looked just like my idea of one of the heroes in the book I've just finished revising and re-writing. It's very rare that I come across people who are dead-ringers for my characters. For anybody who has seen my "Quenarden" covers, my hubby and I actually went to one of the local schools to snap photos of any young teens who might be interested in being on a cover. Although the people we ended up asking looked close to the characters I had in mind, they weren't carbon copies like this fellow.

The young man I saw looked like a character named Piers from my new one, "The Risky Way Home." He was tall and slim with dark, shaggy curls and in his early twenties. As he breezed out with his referral I considered getting up and chasing him down the road to ask, "Excuse me, would you like to be on the cover of a book?" But I chickened out. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. And I could imagine the embarrassment my kids, especially my oldest son, would display if I did such a thing. Yet I couldn't help wondering if I'd let a serendipitous opportunity slip by.

My daughter asked later, "What do you think he would've said?" and I told her, "I honestly don't know. It's not the sort of situation people find themselves in often, if ever." He'd possibly would have been flattered but I couldn't do it. I'm the girl who came second to bottom on the extroversion-intraversion test we all had to do in Psychology at Uni (meaning I was way down on the introversion side). If my husband had been with us I might've asked him to do it. I clearly remember an occasion when I'd just met Andrew and we were having a country walk together. There was an artist set up with his easel along the side of the road. I'd have normally just smiled hello and walked on, but Andrew insisted that we go over to see what he was painting. Even though this was about 17 years ago, I remember how Andrew told the guy, "I always thought I'd like to be an artist," to which the man replied, "Oh, you like to starve, do you?" But I wished I had the courage to approach interesting strangers with such ease and lack of restraint.

In this particular incident, the only thing that makes me not too disappointed is that this time, our intention is to veer away from people in the pictures and do something different anyway, which I won't say much about because when we have something to show, I'll show it instead. But if this young guy had been asked and agreed, I might've considered changing my mind.


  1. I sometimes wonder what I miss out on because I was too chicken to ask.

    I don't think I would have done it either, but he may have been flattered and said yes. You never know with teenage boys.

  2. Oh Paula, I wish you had asked him. (Of course I never could have done such a thing either!)

  3. I understand how you feel. There have been times I've come across people with interesting faces and I've wanted to sketch them or at least take a picture, but I always get shy.

    Someday I'll have to do that. For both of us!

    Peace and Laughter,
    Happy Mothers' Day from the States!

  4. Hey, Happy Mother's Day from Oregon!

    Cristina gave me that idea!

    Oh, I have to say that I would have been bold enough to ask him - I'm like that sometimes, much to the chagrin of my husband and kids. On the other hand, I'm not so bold when I'm alone - I'd hate to give a young man in his 20's the wrong idea (hmmm ... on the other hand - JUST KIDDING!)

    Really, Todd (who will probably read this comment) I'm just kidding!

    Perhaps your hesitation had something to do with being at a doctor's office - it's not a social place where it would have been easy to talk to a stranger. I'll bet it was really strange to see someone in real life who looked so much like someone you imagined! Your characters probably become very real to you, since you created them. Very interesting!

    I hope you have a Happy Mother's Day. Wait, do you celebrate Mother's Day in Australia? And it's already Sunday there so ... I hope you HAD a great Mother's Day, if you do, in fact, honor mothers on this day.

    Got all that?

    Your friend,
    Kate (who is so confused!)

  5. O.k., I just read Cate's blog at "Moments of Whimsy", and she is having a great Mother's Day. She used to live in Australia (but now lives in NZ) which confirms that you do celebrate Mother's Day.

    Paula, you might think you are chicken but I KNOW I'm a dork!

    I hope you are currently having a great Mother's Day!

    Your not-so-confused friend,
    Kate (who probably should be sleeping instead of blogging!)

  6. I totally wouldn't have been able to do it! Not in a million years. At least when you went to the school, they were expecting that sort of thing.

    Hope you had a good mother's day!