How do you make a character that everyone dislikes likable?
That was my conundrum when I started writing The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Blume. The main character, Treasure Blume, has a family curse: everyone who meets her initially dislikes her (except children and old people).
She was born when I had a no good, very bad horrible day. That day it felt like everyone I talked to hated me. I remember closing the door and thinking, Wow, I’m glad every day is not like today. But then I started wondering, but what if it was?
After my children went to bed that night, I spent hours writing background on Treasure: 20+ pages of material that never made it into the novel. After that, I really felt like I knew her. She began speaking to me, and I started to carry a notebook to capture her quips and quirks. (Sidenote: writers are the only people who think it’s a good thing when they hear voices in their heads).
But how could I make her likable? And unlikable at the same time? That was the big problem. I solved it by writing from Treasure’s perspective, so the reader could see into her heart and mind, and know her good intentions, even when she blurted out awkward comments.
But writing from Treasure’s perspective wasn’t enough. We needed to see her through someone else’s eyes. She needed someone to watch her. And that’s where Dennis, the lunch lady, comes into the story. Through Dennis, we see WHY someone would be turned off by her. And because he sees her every day and watches her in action, we also see why he would begin to like her. I knew that their love story would be unique, and more of a slow-burner than most YA insta-love stories. But it was a risk I had to take; love at first sight was NOT going to work for this romantic leading lady.
I love to write about ordinary, quirky, flawed people do quiet, kind things, the kind of things I wish I would do when confronted with a problem (or a family curse). I hope Treasure accomplishes that. And I hope, that by the end of the story, the reader, like Dennis the lunchlady, has learned to love her.
About the Book
With her goofy hair, awkward manners, and love of ugly sweaters, Treasure Blume isn't your average first-grade teacher. But when you add in her family curse (or gift, as her grammy calls it), Treasure knows it's going to take a miracle for a guy to date her, let alone marry her--especially when it seems that every person she meets instantly dislikes her. That is, until she matches wits with Dennis Cameron, a divorced chef who works in the elementary school's cafeteria and whose six-year-old daughter is in Treasure's class. But just as things finally appear to be going Treasure's way, her "gift" causes unexpected problems.
Publisher: Sweetwater Books, an imprint of Cedar Fort
Genre: Clean Romantic Comedy
Release date: November 13, 2012
Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble
About the Author
Lisa Rumsey Harris grew up writing stories and riding horses in Southeastern Idaho. She received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English from Brigham Young University, where she now teaches writing classes. Lisa lives in Orem Utah, with her ancient Siamese cat, her husband (who cooks nearly as well as Dennis) and her two adorable daughters. When Lisa began writing this book, her oldest daughter was in first grade. Her youngest daughter finished first grade this year.
Links to connect with Lisa: