When Ben Wilder is given a second chance he focuses on the one thing he’s always been good at: running. After walking on to the University of Florida Track and Field team he begins to quickly move up the national rankings, paving a path towards the NCAA Championships. Everything is going the way he planned, until the day he bumps into Casey Taylor.
New to Gainesville, and focused on her first year out of medical school, Casey is initially hesitant to let Ben into her life. But the truth is she’s worried about letting a guy near the one thing she loves most: her daughter, Emma. After one fun and fateful night Casey can no longer bury her feelings behind these excuses, and takes a chance on a guy she is slowly falling for.
Casey’s relationship with Ben starts to gradually build into a love that she has never felt before. But more importantly, Emma has taken a particular liking to Ben. As they all spend more time together Ben is forced to confront painful memories when he starts to notice something hauntingly familiar in Emma’s eyes.
After a local journalist uncovers the secret of Ben’s past their lives begin to converge on a single promise that Ben Wilder has long since made: to never give up…no matter what.
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Ben took a seat in one of the blue leather chairs across from his desk. To Ben’s right was a brunette lady sitting against the adjacent wall, wearing a black pantsuit with a white blouse, and clutching a leather bound notebook.
“You wanted to see me, Coach?” Ben said, ignoring the woman in the room for the moment.
Coach didn’t say anything at first, he just leaned back in his chair and folded his hands in his lap. He looked annoyed about something.
“Ben, this is Claire Stewart,” Coach said. He didn’t motion at the woman, or even look at her. He just stared straight ahead at Ben.
Ben looked over at Ms. Stewart. She looked middle aged, maybe late thirties. Her hair was pulled up in a ponytail with long bangs cropping her face, and a pair of glasses tucked into her blouse. Ben was unsure if he should cordially introduce himself or half pretend she wasn’t even in the room like Coach. The woman flashed a quick closed lip smile, and he chose to do the same.
“Miss Stewart here is a journalist for the local ABC affiliate.” Coach paused again, seemingly forcing his sentences out through gritted teeth. “She plans to run a story in the near future.”
Ben tried to remain expressionless as his hands clamped tightly around his legs, as if he were bracing for impact. It hadn’t been abnormal for reporters to request interviews, but Coach was making this particular one seem like a big deal.
“She is here out of the kindness of her cold, black heart to let us know in advance,” Coach seethed.
It would be an understatement to say Coach definitely did not like this woman, or the reason she was here.
The woman who had been sitting silently in the corner of the room began to speak: “Ben.” Her voice didn’t seem hurtful or mean. In fact it was soft and slow and poured out like a stream of cool water. “I want to tell your story.”
Ben looked over at the woman’s dark brown eyes but didn’t respond.
She continued. “I want to tell the story of the young man who returns to running to shatter several collegiate records, after overcoming the tragic loss of his daughter and wife…”
The woman kept on talking about something, possibly even asking Ben questions. Ben still stared in the woman’s direction, but he didn’t see her. He didn’t hear her. All he heard was Grace’s voice. All he saw was her aquamarine eyes.
The Single Reason It Was Easier to Write the Female Lead
Just seconds ago I finished writing a post about the difficulty of writing romance as a guy. But if I’m being honest, it was a lot easier to write the female lead in In Her Eyes than the male lead.
Your readiest desire
Holbrook Jackson once said, “Your readiest desire is your path to joy, even if it destroys you.”
When it came to writing the character of 24-year-old Casey Taylor, I knew her readiest desires. Her life was committed to two things: raising her daughter Emma, and becoming a doctor. It was simple. Well, as simple as raising a daughter and becoming a doctor could be.
But the bottom line was I knew deep down that Casey would do anything to protect Emma. I knew that for her, dating a guy was a risk. A risk that would affect her daughter and possibly her career.
On the other hand Benson Wilder was conflicted. Giving a second chance to run at the collegiate level was a dream come true. And if he had never met Casey Taylor things may have been a lot simpler.
From the moment he saw her things changed. His past and his future collided, and forced him to make a decision between the girl he was falling for and a promise he made to never give up…no matter what.
Knowing your characters
While writing In Her Eyes I didn’t always know the decisions that Benson would make. Yes, I had an outline and a general direction. But as the story unfolded his conflict became my conflict.
Once I got to the final scene I remember sitting at my computer staring at the screen, thinking about the choice he had to make.
Ultimately I think some of the best authors know their characters inside and out. Somewhere during the first draft and the final edit you’ve got to come to know your characters as deeply as you know yourself.
I once read the following:
“When faced with two choices simply flip a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you, but because in that brief moment when the coin is in the air you suddenly know what you are hoping for.”
To know the hopes of your characters is of the highest order for authors.
About The Author
Wesley Banks was born in 1983 and grew up on the west coast of Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Civil Engineering. After spending over 7 years building movable bridges from Florida to Washington he decided to focus on his true passion: writing.
Wesley recently moved from Florida to Oregon to get back to the great outdoors that he loves so much. He lives with his wife Lindsey, and his two dogs Linkin and Story. Most of his time these days is spent writing, with as much rock climbing, hiking, or skiing as they can fit in.