The inspiration for Bentley comes from a huge list of people and ideas. My biggest concern was forming a character that I wouldn't mind my own kids looking up to. I wanted someone who was strong and confident, even though she has her insecurities and scars. Pain is real, but dealing with pain is something we can do in the right environment and with the right help.
So, first thing's first, I wouldn't approve of anyone moving a stranger into their home. I just thought I would put that out there before people question this "role model" I've written about. Obviously this is a complete work of fiction and in the real world, that's incredibly dangerous. As a writer, you write the story that comes to you. I always thought that was hogwash, because, well, you control what you write, but that isn't the case. Recently I was writing book five, or six (my lack of memory when it comes to these books is ridiculous) but something happened within the first three paragraphs and it caught me off guard. It just happened and I had to write it. I was shocked and sad, but authors truly write the story for the characters.
Anyway, now that that's out of the way, let's meet Bentley!
With long brown hair, brown eyes and the inability to run long distances, Bentley's biggest supporter is her dad. There aren't many young-adult books that put a character's relationship with her family front and center, but that was incredibly important to me. Good parents are hard to come by and great parents are even more rare. This relationship is just a huge dedication to everyone that wanted someone like that in their life and never got it.
Bentley respects her dad and all authority. Not a very common notion these days, but even at twenty-two, she knows her dad's advice is priceless. She believes in herself but isn't ignorant enough to think that because she's in the real world, she has all the answers. Mistakes are a real part of life, and she knows she'll make them from time to time.
She's a hard worker with aspirations that make sense. Anyone can dream and achieve those dreams, but her goals remain close to home. She wants to own her father's business and I think that's as normal of a job as you can find. I can't recall many YA books with a woman in a career field, to be honest. I'm not knocking YA, because I'm obsessed. I have more young-adult books than any other genre, but I really can't think of more than a couple that have their lead female in a job setting. That isn't completely realistic, in my opinion. Jobs are a very real and very needed part of life.
Bentley cares about people. She cares so deeply that it hurts her to know that there are people that struggle. Knowing Aaron is just across the street, most likely hungry, tears her up inside. She can't just let it go. She has to help. I want young people to have a passion for helping those in need. I think it's such an important quality to have and it's lacking more and more every generation. Love isn't enough sometimes, it takes action and I hope Bentley can be an inspiration to those who want to help others. Giving to local food drives and homeless shelters are just two ways to make a difference!
Last but not least, she has a disgusting habit…
“Okay, well, I have this thing with tacos, uh, I guess basically all foods when I’m home. I just throw applesauce on whatever I’m eating.”
-Bentley, chapter eleven
Thanks to a close friend that eats applesauce on just about any and all food, Bentley does, too. (I will admit that I've tried it on ravioli and it isn't awful, but I think putting it on a taco takes it too far… Sorry MV, haha…)
So, I think this is about everything I can cover without giving anything about the book away. If you have questions, comment on the post or tweet them at me, @whitmorganbooks.
Thanks for taking a look at the first of character introductions!