Characters in Real Life

Please welcome guest author Lisa Hahn to the Cafe!

During my last year in the public school system, I taught college prep Freshman and Sophomore English. Conversely, my closest work friend taught Biology electives to upperclassmen. Let’s call her Mary. Because Mary and I were in different departments and worked with different age groups, we didn’t really know any of the same kids. However, my student assistant (a senior who made all my photocopies, stapled my packets, and alphabetized my grading) happened to be in one of Mary’s classes. Let’s call him Tim.

Mary and I ate lunch together every day. To avoid the political propaganda papering the walls in the teacher’s room and the constant stream of gossip and complaints from our colleagues, we usually met up in her classroom to eat. One day, Mary was telling me a story about a particularly stressful period with her seniors that left her on the verge of tears. She hid it well, though, waiting until her students were tackling some independent work to sit at her desk and take a breather. Tim, who was a kind, shy, and kind of dopey kid who didn’t have a ton of social graces approached Mary’s desk and froze when he noticed her eyes were filled with tears and rage.

I stopped her right at that point in the story. “Let me guess,” I said. “He slowly backed away without saying a single word to you.”

“You’re right.” Mary laughed. “How did you know that?”

“I see most people as characters,” I responded, revealing one of my writerly secrets. “If I were to write a story about Tim that is exactly how he would have reacted in that situation.”

It wasn’t until this otherwise unremarkable lunchtime conversation that I realized how much being a writer affects my thought process in the most ordinary of scenarios. At parties, meetings, or really any large gathering, I find myself on the periphery. This is, of course, because I’m an introvert, but it’s also because I’m perfectly content to watch how other people act.

The title character in Wrestling With Summer works at a school and is friends with a fellow teacher named Ramona. Ramona  is a conglomeration of all the middle-aged female teachers I’ve ever worked with. Because of this, the goofy elementary school teacher has a special place in my heart. It’s almost like her shared characteristics with actual people makes her seem more real to me than a character I create from thin air would.

As I openly admit that I’m almost always doing character research, I find myself wondering how the people in my life are going to feel if they happen to read this little piece of writing. Hopefully no one feels self-conscious and they continue to give me great material to work with.

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Wrestling With Summer

Wrestling with Summer coverWill Summer’s past stop her from giving her heart to a professional wrestler?

Summer Sullivan is in a slump. Her friends-with-benefits relationship with yoga teacher Drew is going nowhere, and she’s behind schedule on preparing for her upcoming art show. When she hears that a professional wrestler is scheduled to speak at the private school where she works, she’s convinced things have gone from bad to worse. After growing up with a father who changed from a loving family man to a womanizing, heavy-drinking deadbeat while he worked as a wrestler, Summer has wanted nothing to do with the industry.

But Ryan Steele isn’t like the wrestlers from Summer’s past. With boyish good looks and a lean physique, he doesn’t look like the big, bulky wrestlers she used to know. And with his kind heart and romantic tendencies, Ryan doesn’t act like them either.

It doesn’t take long before Summer is smitten with the charming wrestler, but even though Summer wants to be with Ryan, memories of her past keep getting in the way of their happiness. Will she be able to give Ryan a fair chance or will she let her misconceptions about wrestling stand in the way?

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Lisa Hahn Author photoLisa Hahn writes contemporary and new adult romance. She’s interested in characters that are smart, sincere, and somewhat artistically inclined. Her and her husband currently reside in Northern New Jersey with their cat and two dogs. In addition to writing, Lisa likes yoga, fitness, veganism, and professional wrestling.

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Characters in Real Life — 2 Comments

  1. I love people-watching. I always thought airports were the best place for that. With people leaving loved ones and returning to loved ones, there was so much emotion. However, since institution of the TSA checkpoints, it’s not as revealing as it used to be.

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