Friday, September 09, 2011

Guest Blog - Kate Davies

Taking a Chance – On Coincidence!

My newest ebook, Take A Chance On Me, is going to be released in print in January, and recently I had the opportunity to re-read it for galley edits. Going over the galley is the final opportunity to check for errors and typos before the book goes to print. And once again, reading over the manuscript, I was struck by how closely my hero Tom resembles my favorite actor, Eric Sheffer Stevens.

That’s not unusual, I know; many writers find inspiration in actors or singers or athletes when creating a character. What is unusual, however, is that I wrote the book well before I ever laid eyes on ESS.

(Who’s Eric Sheffer Stevens? Well, if you don’t watch American soaps, you’d likely never have heard of him before. He’s a stage actor from New York who was cast as Dr. Reid Oliver on As The World Turns last year. It was originally supposed to be a secondary character in a secondary storyline, a few months of steady work between stage gigs. But his talent – and the fan response – ended up being far beyond anyone’s expectations, and he stayed with the show through the final episodes. He’s now been cast in a new FOX comedy starting in November, called I Hate My Teenage Daughter. So his relative anonymity may be coming to an end soon.)

In a way, it shouldn’t have surprised me that there was a connection to Eric Sheffer Stevens. Ever since I started following his career, I’ve found our paths crossing in some unexpected ways.

First, through a network of friends, I was able to score an interview with him for my blog. I wasn’t a soap writer, or professional journalist, and I didn’t have an entertainment-themed website. But the hottest discovery on daytime television last year agreed to a phone interview with me. Check out the interview!

Then I had a chance to fly down to California on short notice to attend the filming of the pilot for his new show. (description of that trip, including the part where he runs after us in the studio lot to thank us for coming, is here.)

Although I didn’t deliberately base my hero on Eric, once I realized how much Tom resembled him, I decided to run with the connection. When I turned in my cover art sheet, I attached a photo of Eric for the cover artist to see what the hero looked like. And when it came time to work on promo, I turned to Hayley Charlesworth, a cartoonist I knew from the ATWT days. She’d created the Reid Oliver Cartoon Saga, which gained a major following on YouTube, including the actor himself, who declared them “genius”. She made a book trailer for me, using Eric as inspiration, and it turned out fantastic. And the drawing of Tom from the video also made it onto my Romance Trading Cards for the book.

So sometimes, connections spring up in unexpected places. The challenge, for me, is to recognize and embrace them when they happen.

Discussion time! What unexpected connection surprised you recently?


Anne said...

I'd never heard of Eric before (Yes, not a soap watcher any more, weaned off a 3 1/2 soap habit from college. 1/2 because one soap overlapped with another by 1/2hour, so I had to switch channels).

I can't think of any unusual connections I've made, but this Eric looks like a younder sibling of Eric Stoltz, no?

Virginia said...

I don't watch soaps so I have never heard of him. Never have watched them unless it something in the evening, just don't want to get hooked on them. My mother use to watch them though. I can't think of any unusual connections that has ever happened to me.

Kate Davies said...

Anne - You know, with the new longer hair, he does resemble Eric Stoltz, doesn't he? :) I only started watching ATWT because a friend in Beirut told me I *had* to check out the hot new doctor on the show. One episode with ESS as Reid and I was hooked!

Virginia - I'm not surprised that he's not on most people's radar yet, but he will be! Very talented, extremely nice, just an all-around good guy. :)

Thanks for commenting, you guys!

Meg Benjamin said...

I remember when all this happened I thought, "Wow does Kate have luck or what?" But I guess it was all just serendipity. So seems like making him the hero of the book was just the logical next step!

Lucy Monroe said...

Welcome, Kate! What an absolutely fun coincidence and clever way to use it as inspiration for cover art and the book trailer. I love it. :)

Jane said...

I've read that Eric will be on a new fall show in the current issue of EW. I haven't had an unexpected connection in a long time.

Juniper Bell said...

Kate, what a fun blog post! I'm not surprised you were inspired by him, he's a cutie! It helps that he sounds like a lovely person too. I run into unexpected connections all the time --too often to list here. They're always magical to me and remind me that the universe works in mysterious, wonderful ways! Thanks for the great post

Jennifer Bernard said...

I haven't heard of ESS, but I will definitely be keeping an eye on him now! Thanks for sharing his gorgeousness. And your book looks fantastic! I can't wait to read it. Thanks, Kate!

Unexpected connections: when I met my now-husband, we discovered we had family members in the same three small towns, in three different states. Destiny!!

Kelly Jamieson said...

I remember how excited you were to meet him Kate!! I love those unexpected connections too. I recently had someone contact me through my website asking if I had any connection to another writer whose article she had recently read, she likes both our writing and noticed we were friends on Goodreads. Turns out it's my cousin in England! What a small world huh!

PG Forte said...

My most recent unusual connection came in the form of this tweet I received this morning from a reader: "No one ever surfs here. Today all over the place! Creepy!" It was creepy because, at the time, she happened to be reading the only book of mine in which people surf. lol!

BTW, I loved Take a Chance on Me AND the card AND the trailer. But you already knew that. ;)

Kate Davies said...

Meg - when it comes to ESS, I feel like the luckiest fangirl in the universe. :)

Lucy - thanks! It's been such a blessing to have everything come together like this.

Jane - yes, the show is I Hate My Teenage Daughter, on FOX starting the end of November. He plays a totally clueless dad, and is hysterical. A real departure from his brilliant neurosurgeon role on ATWT!

Juniper - I love being open to the whimsy of the universe, don't you? :)

Kate Davies said...

Jennifer - oh, that's so cool! I love stories like that.

Kelly - that's definitely a small world moment. Love it!

PG - you can clearly control the world of surfing with your writing. Which is awesome. (And thanks for the compliments!)

Laurie Ryan said...

How many times have I said "six degrees of separation" and now I can't remember a single instance. lol Someone knows someone who knows me. It happens a lot.

I LOVE the video! Well done!