Thoughts on Six Months

It's been a while since I've written a blog post, so as I'm taking a break from edits, I'm reflecting on one particular book in the Seven Series.

Six Months.

This post will be spoilery, so if you haven't read the book, go check it out and then revisit this post. Otherwise, sit back. This could be a long one. I might do this every so often for different characters - just give you my take on things and what it was like to write them. :-)

It is probably the book with the harshest criticism against a female lead (Can't please them all, right?) and the most love toward a male lead. This makes for an interesting mix. I don't know that the opinion is that of the majority based on the overwhelming support for this book, but I think it speaks to how readers will relate to characters differently.  My intention is to create unique and different lives within this series - characters who have come from different backgrounds and how they react when faced with challenges.

I knew out of the gate April would be a tough one to write, as well as a woman readers could connect to. The book begins with her running from her fears and right into the middle of the storm - a nice little metaphor.  April is just 22, and at first, I wasn't sure what her story was. Why was she such a romantic and yet awkward around men? Why did she pour her life into the shop and not go out with friends?

April isn't dumb, and she comes from a life not many can relate to. I know people who have lived her life - who came from trailer homes, drug-addict parents, and who can never seem to get out of debt no matter how hard they try. She's a bright, sensitive girl who was set up for failure. Her father (her world) dies, and she's left in the care of her mother, who is a drug addict and prostitute. She and her sister are dumped off in the care of their grandmother, who was probably not in the best health to take care of two young girls in a small trailer. We also find out later she was abused by a stranger, which has left her with lasting anxiety about men. April has a nurturing spirit, and maybe because of that she's taken on more responsibilities, leaving her younger sister with none.

What was so dynamic about writing April was how resilient she was. That despite the adversities she faced, she wanted more for herself so she wouldn't become her mother's daughter. She was almost there until she realized she was in more debt than she first imagined. Many people who don't have money are often the least willing to take it. She's too proud to accept handouts and wants to make it on her own, dig herself out of her own mess and not drag anyone else down with her. It would be so easy to have the hero step in and pay all that debt, wouldn't it? As many romance novels as she reads, April doesn't want to be saved. Nor does she want to be in anyone's debt, although she winds up negotiating a deal in the end with Maddox that seems to mutually benefit them both, as each craved companionship in different ways - her needing a father figure.

After the first draft, I completely understood April, and part of that is based on personal experience and knowing that there are women like her who continue to struggle to make something of themselves, despite the cards they were dealt. She gives more love that she receives, and because of that, she doesn't want to risk damaging what few relationships she has. We all know how toxic money can be, how it can break apart friendships, marriages, and families. And she would definitely not want to put anyone in direct danger.

What I loved about Reno was how he saw this diamond in the rough. He wanted to show her that she could find happiness no matter what kind of life she lived; it was all about perspective. Reno was drawn to April because of her ambition, compassion, and stubborn heart. He saw how much love she possessed in how she spoke about her father and sister, how she cared for animals. And despite how she saw herself, all Reno saw in her was a purity few women possess. A woman who wanted to feel the same kind of love she gave, but not if it came with a price tag. Reno's a problem-solver who helps people and fixes things, including her own trailer. But April isn't something he can put a patch on and make better. He's even willing to let her go if it means her finding happiness.

Some of the decisions she made were out of fear, and as much as it might frustrate the reader, characters need to make mistakes to grow as a person and learn life lessons. I can probably think of a dozen mistakes I've made where going in, I knew it was a mistake. But I felt like at the time I had no options. Other times, I just hoped it would have a good outcome. To imagine all I've learned from the time that I myself was 22...

One of the best parts about writing this series has been the diversity. Each story has a subject matter that is relatable. Something you can grab on to and feel; perhaps something that changed your own path in life.

Of the published books to date, one of the most touching moments for me was Reno's act of helping April without her ever knowing. He understood what it meant to her because of the kind of person she was. He wanted her to feel love and to know she was a princess in his eyes. The trust that absolutely had to happen between these two in the bedroom was a key element in whether or not this relationship could survive. Reno is a selfless man who has lived his life doing the right thing. He's not perfect. He's got a touch of OCD, he can be stand-offish and brute, and while he's the eldest brother, he'll always fall second in rank. Then we find out about his own past with a certain woman and how he's always felt like less of a man because of it. April didn't look at him as though he were less of a man; she looked at him as if he were all the man she could ever hope for.

It's hard to ever choose favorite characters or books, but Six Months will always hold a special place in my heart for the gentle love that blossomed between two remarkable people from different worlds who were willing to accept each other without conditions, and to also share a private side of themselves  they had long kept guarded.These are two jagged souls with sharp and round corners who fit together perfectly.

If you'd like to see more posts like these with my take on writing certain characters or books, comment down below!

Dannika Dark Books