After meeting Nate in my first novel, You Belong with Me, I knew there was a story to tell there, and I couldn’t wait to tell it. But as I interviewed Nate, I began to ask not just what his wild past had cost him, but also what had it cost those around him. It was then that I realized that the real story lay with the older brother, Austin. Just like in the biblical narrative of The Prodigal Son, Nate had moved on from his past, but the older brother had not.
In fact, just like the “older brother” in the Bible, I needed Austin’s livelihood to have been affected. And since the town was in the market to landscape the new square with the newly acquired grant money, his vocation was born. He could come to town to landscape the new square.
As I took the time to get to know Austin, I couldn’t help but love him and hurt with him. But that became a huge challenge in writing it. How do I write two characters I love who are in such conflict? And that is when I remembered that it was the love of their father that united them.
I hadn’t originally planned for the father to be suffering with early onset Alzheimer’s, but when I started writing this, both my parents and my in-laws were dealing with ageing parents, one of whom had Alzheimer’s and it just seemed to come out of my experience.
So, after I had the hero figured out, I had to decide who would be the perfect fit with him and why. I fell in love with Libby in the first book as well, so she was the logical choice, but I just needed a reason to move her to town.
. . . see what Tari does in Part 2 tomorrow, the 17th.
Tari Faris is the author of You Belong with Me. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers and My Book Therapy, she is the projects manager for My Book Therapy, writes for learnhowtowriteanovel.com, and is a 2017 Genesis Award winner. She has an MDiv from Asbury Theological Seminary and lives in the Phoenix, Arizona, area with her husband and their three children. Although she lives in the Southwest now, she lived in a small town in Michigan for twenty-five years.