“I like most of your characters. I am curious about John. How did you come up with him? Why does Bunny like him so much? Why did she choose a gangster? She could have got a doctor or lawyer instead. Her workplace was full of them.”
I started typing this book in August 2015. I was pleased with how the story was turning out but there were a couple of characters that I felt needed some depth to them. I am a big fan of Mad Men, and I wanted my story to have its own Don Draper. Draper is the type of character that the ladies want and the guys want to be but he is flawed, and it’s okay. It’s the very reason why we love him and the show.
I had John’s character mostly done (by the way his name was not always John, it was originally Joseph.) But I was not completely satisfied with the end result. I felt this way about his and Bunny’s character. The flow did not seem right and at the time, I was becoming a bit frustrated.
Most of the storyline was already done by the end of September 2015, then this happened. I went to a Westchester Knicks (New York Knicks Developmental League team) event in early October. I saw retired Knick guard John Starks there. Now for the first time ever I will come clean, I’ve had a crush on this guy since the early 1990’s. I was in high school then. I hold on to those crushes you know. Everyone knows what the Knicks were in the 1990’s, it’s what made the team legendary. Anyway, I was like WOW. You know when you see something, and it hits you like a ton of bricks. Well, that happened. I didn’t go up to him at all because partly, I’m a bit of a doofus and had nothing ready back then. Instead, I went home and started feverishly changing big chunks of my story, including his name from Joseph to John. It seemed right because the details fit. The looks, the swag and the fact that John ages incredibly well in the twenty-five-year span of the story. It was just right, and I decided to run with it and not look back. I even took a photo that I saw of real life John and created a silhouette version of it on the cover and on BunnyWine’s cover.
(Lawrence’s character in BunnyWine and The Tide is High is modeled after Larry Johnson btw.)
I didn’t want to say anything this detailed until I finished the series. I feel that real life changes creativity, and it was important to me to finish this first before doing anything else.
Now to answer your question, Bunny’s character is a girl who wants her dream life. She wants to be happy. She intends to go after her interests and not feel like she is bogged down by society’s expectations. She was not opposed to settling with someone who had a regular job title such as doctor or lawyer, but she saw something in John’s character the same way I did when I saw real life, John. That is the feeling that I wanted to convey in the novel. That is the kind of stuff that I thought should be immortalized in the story. I wanted to put magic into words, and I think that I accomplished that. She likes him because he is him. His circumstances were not an influence on whether or not she had feelings for him. She does not care about all of that. If she really cared about getting a doctor, lawyer or anyone else whom the public deems as better suited, she would have pursued it, heck she would have dated the doctor that wanted her.