SWELL, is currently on blog tour through Candace's Book Blog and ripping a hole right through the hearts of edgy contemporary lovers. After being around the block for one week, there is something I've noticed that I want to share with you: readers love Jesse.
Who the heck is Jesse?
Jesse is the boy that appears halfway through SWELL who sits next to main character Beck in art class. He is real. He is funny. He is cute. He eats too much beef jerky. And he shows Beck the side of life that she can have if she reaches out for help and grabs hold of it. Many SWELL readers are swooning over this guy, which is exactly how I felt writing his character into the book. So where did Jesse come from? Two places.
First, Jesse was inspired by a story/movie by infamous University of California Irvine writing teacher, Ron Carlson. His story, Keith, featured a lovable, funny, and terminally ill boy who charmed the pants off (literally) of the most popular girl in school. His humor and upbeat attitude, in spite of his dire situation, was the catalyst for Jesse. I highly recommend you check out Keith.
Secondly, Jesse is not Keith, but a part of my own personality. The sunny-happy-trouper who keeps up the laughs no matter what kind of blood bucket is being poured upon them. I could write Jesse's dialogue so easily because it was how I would speak. I was lucky because it flowed right through me.
If Jesse is such a hybrid kinda guy, then why are readers falling in love with him? Because he's what we all want - cute, artistic, sensitive, funny, friendly, and ultimately romantic. What more could we want? Too bad Beck gets with Christian first, but at least she has Jesse at the end. That's all that really matters.
Check out the tour when you have a chance!