Zoe Oliver never wanted to be on another reality TV show… until Chip Cormack made an offer too good to refuse. He’s guaranteed her a payday this time and a chance to redeem herself in America’s eyes. But Zoe worries she won’t be able to focus as her desire for Chip grows and her strength to resist him weakens.
When she learns she’ll be roughing it in the woods with Chip and without luxuries like indoor plumbing and electricity, she’s instantly on edge, feeling naked and terrified that her scars will be exposed and her secrets revealed. When Zoe’s past turns up on the show, she fears she’ll lose not only the life she’s sacrificed everything else to have, but also the affections of the only man she’s ever trusted with her heart.
When the Bad Girl Goes Good
What do you do when you’ve created a character that everyone loves to hate and suddenly you need your readers to simply love them?
In my case, this character is Zoe Oliver. We originally met Zoe in Falling for You. She was the blonde bombshell who seemed to have it all, the looks, the confidence, the men… the ability to make us hate her to the deepest depths of our souls. In Stuck on You, she took on a bigger role as the teammate to Paige. Suddenly, we started seeing little bits of Zoe that weren’t as grouchy as we expected them to be. A vulnerable glance here, a quivering breath there, a hint that there was something more to her than we thought. We still wanted to hate her, but she was making it more difficult. It’s hard to hate someone who has a soft side for the guy with the leg amputation.
But it wasn’t until now, in Lost Without You, that we really get to learn who Zoe is. Sure, she’s still a b*tch, but now she’s one with a reason. We just don’t know what it is right away. All we know is that as much as we want to hate her, it’s becoming more and more challenging to do so. Now instead of rooting for her to fail, we’re yearning for her to succeed.
Honestly, when I wrote Falling for You, Zoe’s entire purpose was to be the girl you hate. I wanted her to be that girl you recognize on reality TV shows as the one who will instigate the drama. She’s the pot stirrer. When I started thinking of the idea for the second book, I thought it would be so fun to have Paige and Cassidy be teammates on the show. But I quickly realized it would be hard to make conflict between best friends. So I became the pot stirrer and decided the worst thing that could happen to Paige in that moment was to get stuck with Zoe as her partner last minute. Now that I had Zoe as a bigger role in the book, I knew I had to figure out why she acted the way she did. I couldn’t let her go through another book so one-dimensionally. I had to make her real. So I started dropping hints and clues about who she was and what her history had done to shape her into the person she was now. Luckily, at the time of this discovery about Zoe, I was also in the middle of edits on Falling. I was able to sprinkle little hints and nuances about Zoe into that book so the reader would start picking up on the fact that Zoe wasn’t all she seemed to be.
By the time I wrote the third book, Lost Without You, I was itching to tell Zoe’s story. I’d figured out why she purposefully made us hate her and I couldn’t wait to tell her story. It was so much harder than I expected! Right from the beginning, her pain was evident. I actually had to pull back on her inner turmoil a bit so that it didn’t overshadow the actual point of the book, which is falling in love. As challenging as it was to try and find that balance of pain and happiness throughout the book, I felt emotionally satisfied by The End. After being with Zoe for three books, I hope readers are satisfied too!
Have you ever read a series where you’ve hated one of the characters only to find out that in the newest release you were suddenly supposed to like them? Did the author succeed? Did you go from hating a character to rooting for her in the end? I hope if you’ve read the entire reality TV romance series that your answer is yes!
Thank you so much for having me today!
"Heather Thurmeier's hunky heroes and feisty heroines will have you laughing out loud, falling in love ... and coming back for more!" ~ Carly Phillips, NY Times Bestselling Author
"Heather Thurmeier writes sweet, funny romances that capture your heart!" --NYT and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Probst
Heather Thurmeier is a lover of strawberry margaritas, a hater of spiders and a reality TV junkie. She was born and raised in the Canadian prairies, but now lives in New York with her husband and kids where she’s become some kind of odd Canuck-Yankee hybrid. When she's not busy taking care of the kids and pets, Heather’s writing her next romance, which will probably be filled with sassy heroines, sexy heroes that make your heart pound, laugh out loud moments and always a happily ever after. You can find out more about Heather and her books by checking out her website at: http://heatherthurmeier.com.