As a new author, I am still surprised by how attached some readers become to mycharacters…like these people inside the pages are real. I take it as a total compliment, figuring I’ve created some pretty believable characters. They “love” Kat, Emily’s little sister…and appreciate the parents not being “dysfunctional or jerks.” But one repetitive comment I wasn’t expecting is the request from readers begging for more information about one character in particular: Alex Hibbs, the boy Emily left behind.
Alex is definitely a favorite underdog. I think it’s hard for readers to watch a likeable kind of boy spiral downward into a bad situation – the reader’s are left with uncomfortable feelings and their hands tied so to speak, only to hope for a favorable remedy. Please enjoy the following interview between me (JP) and my character, Alex!
JP: So Alex, why don’t you tell the readers a little about yourself.
Alex: I’m 5’11, weigh 155—
JP: I’m not sure that’s what our readers had in mind, Alex.
Alex: (laughs) I know, I’m just messing with you. Let’s see, something about me. I know, I love jokes. What do you call a man with no arms and no legs floating in the water?
Alex: Bob! What do you call a man with arm and no legs lying in a pot hole?
JP: I give up.
JP: You are funny! Do you tend to be a class clown in school?
Alex: Usually not. I mostly keep to myself. Can’t stand all the drama and gossip.
JP: I hear that. How do you “fill” your time away from school?
Alex: I work over at Mac’s Autobody after school, doing minor car repair. The owner taught me how to apply body putty and tape up a car area before he paints it. That’s where I got my Jeep…Mr. Winkle did some major repairs to it, and then the owner never came back for it. He sold it to me for real cheep.
JP: Cool. I’ve seen it. It’s pretty nice.
Alex: Yeah, but driving it through the garage didn’t do it any favors.
JP: Yeah, I’m not sure what you were thinking with that one.
Alex: (shakes his head)
JP: Would you like to talk about it?
Alex: It just really makes me mad, sad…all at the same time, ya know? He took the easy way out!
JP: You are referring to your dad?
Alex: I might as well just tell them the story. My family moved to Topeka when I was in middle school. We lived in Colorado but moved after my dad quit his job as an airline pilot. On one of our biking trips in the Rocky Mountains, he wiped out on some loose gravel, hit his head, and went blind in his left eye. The airlines wouldn’t let him fly after that.
JP: That’s really too bad. But he seemed to move-on with his life, didn’t he?
Alex: If you’d call managing a restaurant moving on. He wasn’t meant to have his feet planted on the ground.
JP: Where those his words?
Alex: Yeah. He didn’t keep his unhappiness a secret. But he wasn’t the only one. The whole family fell apart after we moved. My mom had an affair; Dad pretended not to know. Then about a year ago, my brother went to jail. (He laughs, but it doesn’t sound happy) My parents told me he went to stay with relatives. Like I’d never find out? But no one will tell why.
JP: This is some tough stuff, Alex.
Alex: Not as hard as the day I found my old man in the garage. There was nothing left of his fricking head. The coroner’s report stated that he blew his face off first, and had to to reload a second shot. (Tears well in his eyes) Can you imagine? (Looks away) Do you think it hurt?
JP: (Reaches out to touch his arm.) I’m really sorry to hear all this. How are you doing? Do you need someone to talk to?
Alex: I don’t want to talk to anybody. What’s done is done.
JP: You still seem to be hurting a lot.
Alex: I’ve found something that takes my mind off stuff.
JP: A girl by chance?
Alex: I wish. But I have a plan for that too.