Out of all of the bonus content type posts that I write, the top ten list I do for each book is my favorite. It’s an opportunity for me to share some insight into why things ended up the way they did in the finished product. I also try to limit the spoilers, but add to the anticipation of what’s to come. Whether I accomplish any of that is up to you to decide.
So without further ado, here’s my top ten list for Changed:
1. The very first sentence in Chapter One does poke fun at Book Three. “Flashbacks suck.” If you’re reading along in the series sequentially, you already know that Blake’s book was full of flashbacks. If you read the top ten list for Designed, you’ll know that I was hesitant to include as many of them as I did, but couldn’t really see any other way around it. So leave it to Gracie to say what many people were probably thinking – right before she flashes back, though to just a few hours prior.
2. After I committed to the name for Book Four, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it sounded more fitting for a paranormal romance rather than a contemporary one. I named the installments fairly early on and have regretted some of them ever since. Shattered because everybody and their brother seems to have a book with a similar title, and Changed, because it evokes a picture of someone falling in love with a werewolf or something. I promise Will does not shape shift in any way. Changed, as the cover art suggests, is a nod to Gracie’s job as a bank teller.
3. Gracie and Will are the first characters whose appearances I’ve actually based off of real people. It’s a big thing nowadays to have a dream cast, and I haven’t been able to do that with Matthew, Lauren or Chris. Blake is so unique, I have a picture of her that I don’t think could be compared to anyone else. For Gracie, I’ve always imagined a cross between Katy Perry and Zooey Deschanel, except with brown eyes. Will’s doppelganger is way more obscure, but when I saw him on a YouTube video, I knew I’d found him. The goatee was inspired by him, because I never really mentioned facial hair in any of Will’s previous appearances.
4. Gracie’s obviously read 50 Shades. There’s a lovingly snide remark that I threw in there. Can you find it?
5. I usually listen to music when I write, but during this book I kept turning to two songs in particular. Which are? “Twinge” by Chevelle and “True” by Amaranthe. I guess I like songs that begin with T. But really, take a listen to both of them because they’re pretty awesome in their own right.
6. Gracie is the only main character that hasn’t cried yet. Definitely of the girls and likely of the guys, too. We all know that Lauren and Blake have turned on the waterworks. It’s also been hinted at that Matthew, Chris and even Eric (!) have gotten misty-eyed once or twice. Will doesn’t count, since he hasn’t been a main until now. So will Gracie’s dry spell end?
7. Gracie intimidated me to write as a main. In her supporting role, you could always count on her for the best line in each book. This was intentional, because I always had her be the voice of reason, saying the things you as the reader wanted to say. And she always had an off-color, unfiltered way of saying it. The pressure was on to make her that witty throughout this book, balancing humor and seriousness, because not everything she’s up against has been or will be a joke.
8. I so wanted Gracie to buy a coppery orange luxury car. I could have sworn up and down that there was either a Lexus or Volvo out there that fit the bill, but when I did my research, I learned that they were apparently no more. I did have fun car shopping though, and for several months I got ads in my Facebook feed for overseas Volvo delivery.
9. Try as I might, I couldn’t find a reason for Matthew to get naked in this one. It’s been a tradition in all the other books to have the original Intoxicated book boyfriend in some state of undress somewhere within the story. I tried to think of a reason for him to lose clothing here, but it just didn’t make sense. He is still, however, quite hot.
10. The Grace/Christopher friendship just kind of wrote itself. I had so much fun writing the two of them together. They establish a brother/sister kind of relationship during this book, and they engage in a bit of oneupsmanship as far as giving each other a hard time. But when things go awry, Gracie can count on her Chris.