A couple of weeks ago, the book blog tour drew to a close for my latest contemporary romance novel, This Time. In the course of this tour, I not only attracted new readers, but I garnered some favorable reviews for my novel.
I also noticed something interesting about all of these reviews. All of the reviewers took exception to one thing in the novel. What makes this so interesting is the fact that book reviewing is so subjective. Typically, you can give the same story to two reviewers and end up with differing opinions.
With the exception of one reviewer, everyone who’s been kind enough to post their review of This Time had issue with one thing; the exact same thing. All of them were put off by the fact that the female lead, a plus sized woman, didn’t have a healthier body image. Chelsea, the character in question, has always been overweight and always been insecure because of it. As a result, a great deal of what happens in This Time revolves around her feelings about her weight.
I understand how they feel. I agree with them. Chelsea should have a better body image and feel better about herself. So, if we all agree, why didn’t I write it that way? After all, I’m the author. I control the thoughts and feelings of all of my characters. The answer, in two words, is character development.
Character development is the change in the dynamic of a character. Normally, it will occur throughout the course of the story. In a nutshell, character development is about the character growing and changing, usually for the better. The idea is for the character and the reader to step back and say; look how far he’s come!
This Time is the first in a four book series. The Time for Love series follows the ups and downs of the romance of plus sized Chelsea Schumacher and Justin Jacobs who’s always led a charmed life. In the first book, Chelsea and Justin are reconnecting after having been out of contact for several years. Their relationship is just beginning. Chelsea is just learning to trust Justin and let go of her insecurities. When the story ends, it’s really just the beginning of a new chapter in their lives. It’s also the end of book one with three more books to follow.
I wanted a realistic portrayal of Chelsea and her feelings on being overweight, but I also wanted her to learn to love the skin she’s in. Rather than occurring over the course of one book, the development of Chelsea’s character unfolds over the entire four-book story. In the second book, readers will have a chance to see Chelsea’s feelings grow and change. That will continue in to the third book so that by the time the fourth book rolls around, readers will see her complete transformation.
With any luck, readers and reviewers alike will stick around to make that journey with me and Chelsea. If you do, you’ll probably find yourself saying ‘look how far she’s come!’