Thursday, November 28, 2013

Guest post with author Stacey D. Atkinson

Today I'd like to welcome Stacey D. Atkinson to Pure Jonel.
Stacey is the author of Stuck.

Let's see what she has to say to us today!

Inside Odette’s World: 5 Things about Odette Leblanc’s character that make us root for her

As the author of Stuck, my characters are very near and dear to my heart. So when it comes to the protagonist, Odette Leblanc, you can be sure that her character development was well thought out and her quirks were intentional in so many ways. I thought I’d use this guest post as an opportunity to share with you some insights into how Odette came to be, and what it is about her that makes people want to root for her.

1. Odette has a strong Acadian identity, making her a unique and interesting character for many readers. From her Acadian name to her French expressions to the details of her life in the small fishing village of Pointe-du-ChĂȘne, she comes across as charming and believable. Readers also become invested in her small town, especially when they find out it’s a real place in southeastern New Brunswick (Canada).

2. Odette’s father is long gone and her mother is a nasty, bingo-addicted woman who makes life complicated for everyone. Yet somehow Odette prevails through it all, mostly because she’s driven by the need to protect her younger sister, Sophie. In a way, Odette’s journey reads like a Cinderella story and you can’t help but root for the underdog.

3. Odette tells a lie in the book and it seems to grow as the story progresses. While lying is not normally a redeeming quality in a lead character, readers start to empathize with Odette when they realize that the only reason why she lied is because of a misunderstanding and her lack of self-confidence. Odette truly feels guilty about it all and readers anxiously wait for her to resolve the conflicts she’s created.

4. Readers go on a journey with Odette as she builds up her confidence. Odette holds on to a fear that she’s not good enough to deserve the attention of Henri, a wealthy sailor, and it makes us want to reach into the book and shake some sense into her. Also, at the end of the book, Odette is faced with a life-altering decision for which she’ll need all the courage she can find to take a leap of faith. In many ways, Stuck is a book of self-discovery and triumph against all odds.

5. And finally, readers love Odette because she is kind and giving and she loves her family and friends—just like someone we’d like to be friends with. She also has a strong empathy for her co-workers, which helps them get through their own personal turmoil.

Creating memorable characters is hard to do. As a writer, I have to get outside of my own head and step into the head of my characters. I can’t rely on my own expressions and mannerisms; I have to create new ones that are authentic to the character I’m creating. I have to dig down deep and think about what it would really feel like to be that character navigating a particular situation. For example, what would I say if I lacked confidence in myself but a handsome, rich sailor started flirting with me and asked me on a date? I’d probably get nervous, stutter and say something stupid, as does Odette, which is why we love her so much. Even though she’s the star in a fiction novel, she’s very real and down-to-earth in so many ways, especially to me.

About Stacey:

I was born and raised in rural Taylor Village, New Brunswick (Canada), where I lived with my mother and sister in an old farmhouse with a pack of cats and acres of land for roaming. I later moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to attend art college and where I met my husband, David. We now live in Ottawa, Ontario, with frequent trips home to the Maritimes.

I first fell in love with words as a songwriter. I grew up playing guitar and later studied piano, which became the backdrop for my writing. I also used to write short stories and remember having a deep conversation with my grade four English teacher about the rigid rules of grammar at the time and how I absolutely had to break them because I needed to start a sentence with the word 'and'.

I love to write stories about strong female characters in memorable settings along the East Coast of Canada. My first book Stuck is a coming-of-age story about an Acadian woman growing up in a small fishing village in New Brunswick. My next project, Letters from Labrador, will be released in 2014 and tells the story of young British nurses working in the beautiful yet unpredictable northern coast of Labrador, Newfoundland.

You can purchase Stuck on or various other retailers listed on the author website.

You can follow the author on 
|  Author blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter @StaceyDAtkinson  |  Goodreads  |  Tumblr  |

A bit more about Stuck:

Odette Leblanc is promoted to night-shift supervisor at the local convenience store, but at the age of twenty-three, she already feels like her life has become a predictable routine. That is, until she meets a mysterious doryman and his cat on the beach, followed by an unexpected run-in with an American sailor. Each man will undeniably change the course of her life, and so will the selfish actions of her bingo-addicted mother, an impressionable younger sister, and a team of damaged co-workers. Their stories weave together only to unravel in a mess of lies, betrayal, and missed opportunity that will leave Odette to face an uncertain future.

Set in the picturesque Acadian fishing village of Pointe-du-ChĂȘne, New Brunswick (Canada), Stuck is an emotional journey about redefining what’s important in life and staying true to yourself.

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