Thus far, I have never written a character like Mr. Summers. In my historical romance novel "Awakening," Mr. Summers is introduced in the first chapter and the main characters (and even the readers) take an instant liking to him. He is nothing short of a gentleman. A man of honesty, integrity, and possessing a noble nature, it is clear he would be more than worthy to win the hand of Miss Ava Miller. So, what is holding him back? And why can't Ava turn her silly little head and notice that her ideal man is right in front of her?
Human nature has its faults. Mr. Elliot Summers is tremendously proud, and moreover reserved. Being a successful banker he tends to think with his head rather than his heart. He has no time for romantic idealized fantasies like the woman that has caught his eye. Mr. Summers acknowledges the fact that he finds Miss Miller attractive, but instead of putting on the charm this intelligent man seeks to win over the approval of her parents and Ava's closest companions. Steadily he steps into her life, until Miss Miller realizes that her parents have taken a fancy to matchmaking her with their families banker.
The inspiration for Mr. Summers came about naturally, although I cannot pinpoint its exact origins. Many have compared him to Mr. Darcy and only after publishing "Awakening" was I able to see the similarities between Jane Austen's "Mr. Darcy" and my own "Mr. Summers."
If you can just ignore the male pen name for a moment, imagine a sixteen year old girl absolutely obsessed with Jane Austen. Yes, that was me! I can still recall the day that I first watched the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice; the scene where Colin Firth emerges from the water with a wet shirt clinging to his chest and dripping down his body. It was from that point on that my addiction with Jane Austen grew in strength, compounding like interest until I could recite certain passages from her novels. So, in a sense it is logical to deduce that Mr. Summers was indirectly inspired by the many love interests from Jane Austen's novels. I see something of the spirit of Mr. Darcy and Colonel Brandon in the shape of Mr. Summers, whereas Mr. Wickham and the infamous John Willoughby emerge into its truest form as Mr. Riley. A happy coincidence! I see no faults in echoing a woman I have ardently admired and worshipped since I was a late teen, especially since I took those ideas and went beyond it to explore the depths of passion, temptation and the miraculous power of the heroine finding true love.
Mr. Elliot Summers is also adorable in the truest sense. At times he can be bold enough to make his intentions known, and others he is uncharacteristically shy and unable to hold eye contact for very long with Miss Miller. Her very presence makes him uncomfortably shy and makes his logical mind churn into mush. He cannot understand the power that Miss Miller has over him, and once his best friend, Mr. Riley, makes his intentions clear that he also wants to begin a sexually romantic relationship with the young woman it only inflames poor Mr. Summers passions for Ava.
With his back against the wall, what will Mr. Elliot Summers do? He has already won the good favour of the Miller family, but he is still unable to obtain the affections of his dear Ava. It feels like everything he says is falling on deaf ears. Can't she see all the things he has done to procure her happiness? Does she not see that he has taken a vested interest in her families bookshop, even offering to lend money to Miller's Bookshop to ensure its success? All of his good intentions are seemingly miscued by Ava, and he finds that her attention is unwillingly being taken away by his handsome and undeniably sexually alluring friend, Thomas Riley. Is there any hope at all for Mr. Summers? Will he be able to conquer this impossible task of winning Miss Miller's heart? You will have to read the book to find it out.
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Ava Miller is all of us. She represents every young woman at some point in their life. Easily captivated by a man's good looks, charmed by their charisma, unwillingly falling into the trap of their devious, and yet, alluring sexual aura.
It was sometime in the fall of last year that I was reflecting on my past relationships, noticing a few where I saw the red flags but wanted to hold onto them because of the amazing chemistry. At the same time, those "good men" like Mr. Summers or David Hoff made me feel disinterested because the lack of chemistry made it feel more like a friendship. Perhaps, it was the lock down that made me rethink my personal life choices or the fact that quarantine made me feel the true effects of the absence of speaking to the opposite sex in person, but it made me realize that chemistry can in fact develop overtime. Yes, it is an amazing thing and cannot be replicated. I have spoken to countless friends that agree with me that the power of sexual chemistry can easily make a person throw common sense to the wind, much like our dear Ava. In the end, it is just one part of the flickering flame in a relationship, you need a good man with high morals to make a relationship last.
I believe that writing under a pen name helps me dive into my subconscious mind. Dig out the dirt, the shame, the heartache, and really get to the heart of the matter. In a way, Ava Miller is me- but she can also be you. Haven't we all fallen for the wrong guy at one point or another? Devastated to find out the man that caught our eye is already in a relationship? Holding on to the "what if" and "maybe it will change" sort of situations? Have we not brushed aside the good guy in favour of the luring bad boy with a seductive smirk?
Ava Miller is inspired by the untold story of all single woman. The ones that enter the courting world with starry eyes and hopeful for a romance that will replicate the books she consumed in her early adolescents. After all, don't we want to have our own "Mr. Darcy" and to be swept off our feet by a handsome man. There is a reason Mr. Summers was slightly annoyed by Ava's nativity when it came to romantic relationships; she wanted nothing more then to fall madly in love like in her precious novels. Is it any wonder that Mr. Riley was such an appealing figure for her? He is tall, extraordinary handsome and he represents the forbidden. Similar to the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden it grows into the female's character mind, growing larger and more dangerous until it consumes her wholly. The sexual chemistry only adds fuel to the fire; Ava's heartbeat accelerates at the sight of him, he licks his lips at her, and all she can ever want is to fall into his arms and be embraced by his kisses. So, can we really blame her? Well, I suppose we can, but we can also relate to the feelings that our poor Ava Miller experiences when she is first introduced to this handsome gentleman.
If we cannot fault her for the fire that is ignited between Mr. Riley and herself, we can however shake our head adamantly for Ava ignoring the red flags. How many can she ignore before common sense wallops her at the back of the head? God only knows. Still, it makes for a good read, doesn't it? Indeed, the suspense of it all- the endless tug of war for the fair maiden by Mr. Summers and Mr. Riley does make an entertaining story. Two men fighting for her affection, both determined to win her heart while going about it in entirely different ways. One is through the masterful art of seduction, the other simply an act of honour and goodwill to win her hand. Which one will Ava Miller choose, well, you have to read the book to figure that one out.
*Please note that the author "Peter Gray" writes under the pen name and that the writer is in fact a woman. Hopefully that will ease any level of confusion after reading the blog post. If you want to learn more about the reason for the pen name "Peter Gray" you can read this post here.
I have received an amazing review for "Awakening." I wanted to share these awfully kind words from a reader with all of you. Thank you again to everyone for your continual support!
Love, Hate, Passion, Trickery…. What do you look for in a story? Is It the love between two characters, people who face all the odds in their lives to find their perfect partner? Is it the suspense, that thing that keeps you going no matter what? I love the passion that a good story can stir up. It’s that thing inside me that makes me forgo everything during the day to know what will happen next. In this book, Peter Gray manages to bring something to the audience, something that has been missing in this genre for a long time. True Suspension. In this book, Peter tells the story of a young girl who is caught in the web of a dangerous individual, someone with a hidden agenda, and the reader has the opportunity to see how it folds out. For any reader, this is a scintillating story about passion, love, hate and the ultimate surprise for the main characters in the final act of the book.
Another aspect of the Awakening that Peter has excelled at is the creation of the characters. For any story to flow, there needs to have characters integral to the story, characters. The character of Ava, and her relationships with her parents, and her spouse take centerstage, as Peter addresses one of the most familiar cases in family issues, but manages to add several twists to each of the characters making them unpredictable and shocking.
This story will take you through the life of Ava, her arguments with herself, and people around her about her next steps in life. It will take you from her thoughts as a young woman, right to her just as she is about to be bitten by the wolf, the one that was in a sheep’s clothing. Be prepared to be wowed, be prepared to spend hours on the couch, procrastinating other activities to know what will happen next. Hours of your life which will be full of suspense, intrigue and passion.