As was pointed out in Literary Titan’s review of Wheeler recently, there’s a lot of Shakespeare in the story. Graham Atherton was inspired by a mix of personages that are all classically trained actors of a particular ‘type.’ When I close my eyes, I can hear his voice disturbingly clear, and that voice speaks fluent Shakespeare. Thing is, it fits his personality.
Can you imagine Aaron Eckhart spouting Shakespeare? Nope. But you sure can Colin Firth. Definitely James McAvoy. And so, it is how my Muse speaks.
As you read Wheeler, your mind might conjure up a tall, svelte, aristocratic Englishman, with dark, purposely tousled hair and painfully blue eyes. But Graham is also nowhere near perfect. He has ugly feet. His eyebrows are lopsided. He can be selfish and insensitive. When wounded, he lets his anger fester until it blows up in everyone’s face. He is the ultimate White Knight. He will avoid his own problems in order to save those around him.
In his world, relationships are intense and short-lived. Film shoots, especially dramas, the actors are steeped in heavy emotions and become close quickly. It’s why a lot of relationships develop between co-stars, but it’s also why these relationships break up in just a few months. Real Life is not exciting and it takes both people to be all in to make a relationship work.
Graham is isolated even though he’s often surrounded by people. While he might not admit it to himself, he’s lonely and when he feels a connection with Loren and sees it reflected back, he’s like a Golden Retriever: he’s all over the place excited. Like his past relationships, his desire to love and be loved sometimes blinds him to the real person with whom he’s infatuated. Without something else to focus on, his world becomes Loren – or his perception of her.
Loren also has an intense personality, as well as being isolated, but for completely different reasons. She is focused on rising to the challenge of leading her team and her relationships with her teammates are close. They have to trust either completely out on the road and each member of the team has to put aside their personal desires to work together to win. If they don’t, the team falls apart.
When Loren meets Graham, she is blinded by her infatuation and gobbles up his attention like her favorite French Macarons. A part of her recognizes the pattern though, and she tries to hold back.
“I don’t know. Maybe this is good for us.”
“I don’t think it’s good,” Graham whined as he sat up more.
“I’m trying to be pragmatic here.” Loren exhaled, then faced him again. “I mean, we both feel like this all came on a little fast, right?”
“Perhaps,” he replied, his frown deepening.
She took his hand. “I’m afraid that if we keep going the way we are, it’s going to burn out. Nobody can keep up that kind of intenseness for long, and the last thing I want to be is a punchline.”
He flinched. “You would not be a punchline.”
“Yes, I would, you know that,” she countered, then turned back to the windows. “I’m not perfect, Graham. I can be moody and slightly condescending, and maybe a little controlling.” She winced. “They call me the Ice Queen for a reason. You just bring out the warm and fuzzy in me.”
His soft smile reflected hers. “I try very hard to be the perfect gentleman, host, actor, friend, but I fail, often. I can be insensitive and selfish and perhaps a wee bit of a wanker.” Graham’s smile dissolved. “I can’t give you a relationship without arguments or hurt feelings. We’re two souls with our own baggage. But what I will promise,” he raised his brow, “is to give you my absolute best in every moment. If you can give me the same promise, then I don’t see how we can go wrong, even when we’re more than five thousand miles from each other.”
See that, not one line of Shakespeare. They both recognize things went a little fast and as their long-distance relationship continues, their love letters reveal more than either could say in person.
As I said before in a previous post on my blog, I have read every word that Shakespeare wrote, more than I ever did back in high school. There are three pages of citations in the back of Wheeler. Damn you, Google for helping my Muse out like that. It could be a wee over the top sometimes but by the end of the novel, I toned it down.
The reason: I ran out of lines.