Behind the Scenes Don't Date the Haunted

Behind the Scenes of “Don’t Date the Haunted” Chapter 4

Just how awkward was Theo in the beginning? PLUS, how would “Don’t Date the Haunted” sound as an audiobook?

Now that you’ve been introduced to the lands of Horror and Romance, chapter four brings in some of my favorite characters from the lands of Fantasy, Mystery, Sci-Fi, and Western.

As I mentioned in chapter 3’s Behind the Scenes, Brooke is based off one of my actual roommates. The real Brooke introduced me to Muse and all the Tim Burton films; we dressed up in costumes for casual dances, movie showings, and just for fun around the apartment. We shared brainstorming conversations such as “Zombie Rights” and “Twisted:” a story where Rapunzel’s hair had a dark mind of its own. I made her a Sci-Fian because she liked to wear the coolest steam-punk/vintage clothes. Also, I wanted more characters from more places.

This is also the chapter where we meet Hank and Theo. Though the exact dialogue has changed through revisions, the actions of this scene are very similar to how I initially imagined them. Hank was always a flirty Westerner who bordered on the side of smutty Romance. He’s the shirtless cowboy on the cover of every Western romance novel. In that way, he’s the perfect match for Emma.
Theo was always “The Trusted” with the same interchangeable blue-green eyes, dark brown hair, and contagious smile as my husband. Yep, I modeled Theo after my husband. Gag at will, and be jealous. The parts about Theo that changed mostly concerned his homeland, status, and ability. Initially, his ability wasn’t to see auras. Even when I first made that change, they didn’t work as they do now. I’ll have a lot more to say on that in chapter 10.

For now you’ll have to settle with the fact that Theo was always immediately interested in Pansy, though it wasn’t always with Love at First Sight. Even still, it’s mostly because of her unique aura. This means his first words to her used to be much more awkward. They went as follows:

“Good evening, m’lady.  I am Theodore Fromm, the Trusted, but m’lady may call me Theo.”
I held back a sarcastic laugh.  “The Trusted?”  Well, thank you for telling me who not to trust.
… … …
“You are a curiosity to me, m’lady,” he said.  “I would like the opportunity to become acquainted with you.”
Um, yeah, that was awkward.  Unsure how to respond, I simply said, “Hmm,” and slipped my hand from his.

Can you feel the awkward?
If you didn’t notice, I first spelled “Theodore” with an E at the end. I later changed it when Theo’s background became less English and more Germanic.
Theo also changed status a couple times. At first, he was just an ambiguous Fantasy noble. Then I made him a Count, and he was still a Count as I finished writing the third book. Problem was that his dad was always Duke Conrad (changed spelling to the Germanic “Konrad” later). Yay for being from The United States and needing to actually research to understand royalty lines and titles. Even if it’s in my own Fantasy land within the fantasy world of Novel, I wanted Theo’s dad to be a duke, which meant Theo was either the eldest marquis, or a lord of the duchy. I bounced back and forth on his status until finishing my fourth revision of Book 2. Then I had to change Marcellette’s name because it used to be Marquise. I changed it to avoid any confusion between Marquise’s bratty character and the Marquis of Margen title (which becomes a big deal in Book 2–and if you don’t know how, finish the book, then read the sneak peek to Book 2 here!)

The Voices in My Head

Aloy’s voice is the narrator through this trailer – starting at 0:27.
Also, holy flip, these graphics are beautiful! I’ll watch my husband play it.

Now that you’ve met all the characters (except Mr. E and Jake), here’s how I imagine their voices:
Pansy Finster:  her Horror accent is hushed. I’m actually going to use a phrase from Book THREE to give Theo’s words; Pansy’s accent is “as if everything is as dangerous as a dragon, and as exciting as taxes.” I imagine her voice to be very similar to the main character (Aloy) of Horizon: Zero Dawn.

Theodor Fromm:  he’s from Margen, which is the Grimm’s side of Fairy, Fantasy.  As a royal, I imagine his accent like a German speaking Queen’s English (with a little more staccato and sharper consonants).  Theo never uses contractions, or the word “but.” He does, however, use the word “just” liberally. He’s a politician after all.
Mr. E: Mysterys speak with the inflections of questions. Even when it’s not a question, his tone is demanding and firm as if he’s interrogating. Since inflection is difficult to convey in writing, I made most of Mr. E’s comments literal questions.
Heather Appleton: British countryside (like, Bath area). She also uses very few contractions.
Emma Morales: valley girl, dumb blonde. I can say this, because I used to speak like this. Lots of sass.
Hank Hawkins: as a Western, he has a southern drawl with a flavor that’s both charming and suggestive.

Last Easter Egg of chapter 4: if you wondered who those once-mentioned Romantic Horrors are, they are references to “Twilight” characters. Paranormal Romances are Horrors in Romance or Romantics in Horror, so we get name drops of Tyler and Isabella–who was just out of high school and taken by a Haunting for love. If you’re wondering, yes, I’ve read all the books, even though I wanted to stop in the middle of the third one because of the sexual tension (this was long before I read “House of Leaves”). I have not seen all the movies for the same reason.
But just for fun . . . I killed all five of these Romantic Horror characters in my first draft. Yep. They all died as the poltergeist’s first victims in Romance. More on that in chapter 15.
Next up: Heartford University and the game night!

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