Perfect Men…Almost

I like my men almost perfect.

I’m of course talking about the male protagonists in my stories. And why not? The fiction I write is almost real, why not its men almost perfect? And to me, almost perfect men know how to bring me to tears—in a good way. I write for the romantics in the world. I love writing story lines and scenes that make me cry. I love when I can feel the pain, angst, elation, heartbreak, and anger my characters experience because of the situations I’ve put them in. It’s what makes me enjoy other authors’ work—stories with characters who could be real, could be living right next door, could be me.

Men I’ve created include Will Prentiss, thoughtful millionaire (Passion Fish), Paul Workman, widowed high school principal (“The Bridge”), and Tristan Saunders, British accountant on the run from the mafia (Between the Lies, due out Fall 2012).

You must understand up front that I cry at the drop of a hat. My breaking point when reading emotional passages is much lower than your average Joe. Still, every time I read Will’s speech in Passion Fish, when he’s announcing the grant winner, I tear up. When he shows Eve how much he loves her, I tear up. Yes, he’s wealthy and could buy her anything, but you know he’d give it all up just to be with her.

In my short story “The Bridge,” when Paul visits the graves of his wife and daughter, I tear up. When he tells Kate, a stranger, that the love of her life isn’t going to show up on the bridge, I tear up. And when the story comes to a close, with hope for tomorrow for both of them…yep, I tear up at that too.

In my new novel, Between the Lies, I think much of my sentimentality comes from knowing that Tristan Saunders was based on a real person I knew. Dmitry was a Ukrainian accountant who had it all: a fiancé, a great job in post-communist Kiev, plenty of friends, and lots to look forward to…until he discovered money—lots of money—missing from the company he worked for. Money that two thugs with metal pipes “warned” him to forget about…or else. The mafia had sent a message through him to his company: Stop looking for the money.

I met Dmitry five years after his encounter with the mafia, which left him hospitalized for three months. His fiancé had left him, he’d lost his job (although the company paid him a hefty settlement), and for a while his sole focus was literally getting back on his own two feet. By the time we met, he was doing better. He’d married someone else and had a three-year-old daughter he adored. We stayed in touch for a while, but then the emails across the globe eventually stopped. He’d promised me he was safe, and I assume he still is. In my novel, I put so much of the real Dmitry into fictional Tristan. Dmitry was almost perfect. What he went through made me cry. Maybe knowing that Tristan is based on a real person, you’ll ache for him when he’s hurting. Maybe you’ll even cry.

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4 Responses to Perfect Men…Almost

  1. I LOVE heroes that make me cry! That’s awesome that Tristan was inspired by a real-life man. I’m glad Dmitry is doing better.

  2. Hi Alison. God bless all the criers. The sensitivity and depth of your emotions is rare, I think. I sometimes wonder if people are becoming too insensitive. I’m not a crier but it’s because I’ve been conditioned to be a bit too reserved – that old British upbringing, you know. Feather

    • There are times I wish I could flip a switch and turn off my tear ducts (and the emotions that trigger them), but, alas, I’m meant to be a crier!

  3. CA

    Someone I deem wise, a judge, said, “Honest emotion is always appropriate.” The only thing negative about being moved to tears is eye makeup that is not waterproof.

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