Eden and Ash had very different upbringings, which shaped their personalities. Could you talk about getting to know both characters and how you made sure they were both fully developed?
With Eden, the character development was more natural, since there are many aspects of her story that came from my own experiences. I was raised in a rural town in the Deep South. We were lower/middle income—and college would’ve been a stretch for my parents. So, like Eden, I relied on myself, which kept me focused to get scholarships and to get out of town. There was no time to “enjoy” high school.
A second way I could identify with Eden was in her sense of isolation. After college, I became an Air Force officer. It was during the 1980s, when women (other than nurses) had only recently been allowed in the military. I spent 4 years working in a building with 400 men and 8 women. I was watched, judged, sabotaged, and ridiculed. That kind of treatment changes who you are. When I sat down to write Eden, she just sprang from my imagination fully-formed.
Ash was far more difficult to develop. I have never been male or the child of immigrants. I don’t have any experience with being in a large-but-close-knit community centered around ethnicity and religion. So I had to seek help wherever I could find it.
My daughter (a world religions major in college) became a great resource to help me understand the Hindu religion and culture. I read books by Indian authors, scoured parenting journals for Indian families, and watched movies featuring Indian casts/crews. I’m also fortunate to have a day job at a software company with a diverse workforce. My Indian colleagues were generous with their information and candor. It was one of them who pointed out that Eden’s “whiteness” wasn’t enough to disqualify her for Ash; it was that she lived in a trailer park (classism) which hurt her chances more.
But still, I had to relate specifically to Ash if I wanted him to come alive on the page through Eden’s eyes. And I found that through his need to straddle two cultures, to have one foot in the world that his family loved and the other foot in a world he wanted to create for himself. I was also able to identify with his frustration when his family/friends thought he’d lost his mind over Eden—and he had no way to show them the beauty he could see beneath her emotional armor. Once I discovered that part of Ash, I was ready to give him the voice he deserved.
About the Author
Julia Day lives in North Carolina (mid-way between the beaches and the mountains) along with two college-age daughters, one husband, and too many computers. When she’s not writing software or stories, Julia loves to travel to faraway places, watch dance reality shows on TV, and dream about which restaurant gets her business next. The Possibility of Somewhere is Julia’s first YA contemporary romance. She also writes YA paranormal as Elizabeth Langston.