In my last blog post, I admitted to a secret. It’s one that I share with laughing chagrin… I imagine celebrities as my main characters so that I can keep straight what they look like when I write about them. When I describe Emmie Tunstall’s sunny smile or Ciaran Halloran’s intense gaze, it is easier for me to imagine the already existing faces of Teresa Palmer and Jonathan Rhys Meyers than to craft faces and recall them reliably from the bits and pieces I’ve randomly chosen.
Is it cheating? Maybe. Is it fun? You betcha! So today, I am excited to introduce you to the main character of my latest work in progress. My dear readers, meet Ryan Mitchell.
Ryan is a young woman living in the small town of Arborwood, in the Northern Ontario district of Muskoka. She is a kind, caring and ambitious young woman who is all about the “family” of her home town. She is independent, and assertive when she needs to be, but not as a general rule. Her greatest joy in life is to bring joy to her loved ones and to nurture the sense of community she was raised with for everyone who comes to stay at the Arborwood Inn.
For her appearance, I imagine Ryan on the smaller, slender side, with an olive complexion, light brown hair, and pretty features—though she would describe herself as being on the plain side of pretty (I do love a modest heroine). In my head, Ryan Mitchell looks like:
Gosh, she’s pretty! In the story, Ryan’s main-character-counterpart, Jake Hanley, is a handsome Manhattan business mogul accustomed to dating only glammed-up women. Ryan, clearly, is far from Jake’s “usual type.” She’s the kind of girl who, without a single swipe of makeup, still looks fresh-faced and alluring… and has no idea that others see her this way. Ryan is strong without being overwhelming, and offers a calm and competent presence to any room she finds herself in. With Alicia Vikander in place in my head for Ryan Mitchell, I am enjoying the process of getting to know this character immensely!
Stay tuned, because I am excited to introduce more characters from my upcoming novel. Until then, hugs to all.
Autumn in Arborwood
Welcome to the quiet community of Arborwood. Nestled in the popular Northern Ontario lake district of Muskoka, it is a place where everyone is family, whether blood relation or not. While wealthy vacationers from around the world flock here during the summer months for some pampered rest and relaxation, the locals are happy to create for them (and their tourist dollars) a destination experience on which the district’s economic health depends.
Arborwood is where Ryan Mitchell has grown up. Ever since she was a little girl, she was raised by her father, Ed, and her “family” of friends, neighbours and fellow residents of this quaint little town. Leaving Arborwood was never in the cards for Ryan, which is why she pursued a college education in Hospitality Management – the dominant industry in the area. Now, she has landed her dream job: General Manager at the Arborwood Inn, a popular upscale resort. Life couldn’t be more perfect.
When the Arborwood Inn’s owner, the larger-than-life “Poke” Bosworth, passes away, the loss of this beloved figure is felt throughout the community. Poke has willed ownership of his beloved resort to his nephew, Jake Hanley. Jake’s world couldn’t be farther apart from that of Arborwood. The son of a billionaire real estate tycoon, Jake grew up in a Manhattan high rise, surrounded by wealth and luxury, but lacking the warmth of family. Following in his father’s ambitious footsteps, he has built a successful acquisitions and mergers empire… which he runs with ruthless precision and ice-cold calculation.
Ryan loves the Arborwood Inn. Jake wants to sell it like he does with the other failing businesses he acquires for profit. But what he doesn’t realize is that just because a business isn’t a multi-million-dollar success, that does not mean it is failing. What the Arborwood Inn offers goes far beyond the small but tidy profit it earns annually. The Arborwood Inn has priceless treasures like community, family and warmth.
Will Ryan Mitchell be able to thaw Jake Hanley’s icy corporate mind and teach him to love Arborwood as much as she does? What happens when she unintentionally thaws his jaded heart in the process?