One of my favorite novels is Wuthering Heights. I know it’s incredibly depressing and not really happy at all, but I took something important away from Bronte’s writing; aside from the last name of Thrushcross.
True love is forever.
When I wrote Evan and Elizabeth’s love story, it was different from the others. They met way before the story began and unlike any of the other couples, they were apart. Worse- they wouldn’t even speak to each other.
Scratch that- Evan wouldn’t speak to Elizabeth.
I can’t talk about Evan without Elizabeth or vise versa because they are one of my favorite couples.
It’s weird. I wrote them as a secondary story to Amber and Jason’s love story, but like a lot of things in life, their popularity was unexpected. It wasn’t just the readers who asked for more. I found myself falling in love with their story and I wanted to know more. I needed more from them.
I can’t talk about them without going back to Beautiful Disaster. Evan was created much like Tommy was- as a sounding board for Jason. The idea that Evan had a broken heart came to me when I met Elizabeth.
Again- I get it- I’m the writer. I don’t meet the characters, I create them. Well, it’s kind of a combination of both.
Elizabeth is a combination of a few people. My Uncle and cousin are both pilots and she is a pilot to honor that part of the family. I also know how hard it can be for a woman to break into a “mans” world and she had just the attitude to do it.
A little fyi- Evan’s fear of flying is all me 🙂
Elizabeth is a strong and self sufficient woman who grew up with a twin who was always the best at everything. It was clear to me that Liz took care of Jason by shielding him from things he didn’t want to see. Her breakup with Evan and subsequent miscarriage was done completely without the knowledge of her family.
That was hard for me to write because Jason adores his twin and he would have wanted to be there. I needed to establish the Evan and Liz story through Amber and Jason finding out about it because it needed to seem real and it needed to be as shocking to the rest of the characters as it was to Evan when he found everything out.
Bringing Evan and Elizabeth back together was a struggle. They are both hard headed and I knew they wouldn’t easily let the other in. I had to shock them into talking and that’s where Beautiful Disaster and A Forever Love began.
Showing Liz and Evan’s story was important to me, as were Jason and Amber and Ben and Greta. I never intended on bringing any of them into the Family by Choice series until I began to seriously consider having a guard for Brittany.
I could introduce another character with no ties and have him come in, but then I would run the risk of many people wondering if he was a plant. Maybe he was a bad guy and they were opening themselves up to danger. I didn’t want that. I needed someone who would guard them with his life and someone who would be trustworthy and welcome. I needed someone who had the experience of working with someone famous and someone who could handle the pressure of Tommy, Jack and Bill.
I already had that guy.
I also had a great way to bring Liz with him.
When we left A Forever Love, Evan and Liz were happy, but they weren’t able to have children.
I could bring Evan in as Brittany’s guard, introduce Liz to the family, and have them help each other.
There are a few moments between Evan and Liz that are my favorite in the series. I love the guinea pigs. I love when Evan had to give his “sample”. I love when they found out they were pregnant.
But I truly adore how much they find comfort in each other.
I also love writing Elizabeth as the smart and savvy woman she is. This scene is from book 12:
“I don’t even know you, and I don’t think I want to get in the middle of this,” Elizabeth said. “Maybe you should talk to someone about things.”
“No, please, you need to help me,” the woman grabbed Elizabeth’s arm.
“Let go of me,” Elizabeth said and yanked her arm back. “You should leave or I’ll call security.”
“I’m not leaving. I have every right to be here.”
“Right, so good luck with things,” Elizabeth rubbed her arm and turned to walk away.
“Her name is Jade. If you see her, pull the plug,” the woman said and smirked.
Elizabeth felt her blood boil. She turned to the woman.
“Rebecca is it?”
The woman smiled. “Yes, how did you know?”
“I work for the government and you’re on our watch list. You should leave before we take you in,” Elizabeth glared at her.
“What? What do you know about me? Who are you?”
Taking advantage of how Rebecca didn’t know who Elizabeth was, she pushed things.
“I told you. I work for the government, and when you mess with someone who has served our country so well, we take notice, of everything. To be honest, I believe it was you who cheated on your husband and I believe it was you who threatened Jade. Now that I find you stalking her outside the ICU, I feel we have enough probable cause to bring you in for questioning.”
Rebecca paled and turned to look around.
“There’s no one here to do that.”
“I don’t need anyone. In fact, I think you might need the deluxe treatment. How are those taxes? I think an audit might be a really great idea,” she pulled out her phone and began to dial.
“What are you doing? I can’t be audited. I can’t tell Nick I caused this. You have to stop. I’ll leave.”
Elizabeth walked closer to her.
“If you set foot near Jade again, an IRS audit will be the least of your worries,” she smiled as Rebecca nodded.
“Oh, and another thing, don’t try to fly anywhere, you’re on the do not fly list.”
“When you threaten our troops, you are a threat to National Security. Keep in mind, that although you might think you have connections, Jade and Mike have the right ones. Have a great day.” Elizabeth turned and walked away.
There are a few of these moments and I love writing them. Liz is a force to be reckoned with. She has nerves of steel and her flying the helicopter to find Stephanie was just one example.
Another favorite was when Evan stole an ice cream truck to find her.
Bringing Kevin into their lives was a perfect complement to their family.
At the end of book 17, I wrote one of the saddest scenes with Evan.
She turned and saw Evan standing there.
“Oh, Evan, I’m so glad to see you’re okay,” she said as he walked to sit next to her on the bench.
“Why are you here unguarded? Where is everyone?”
She smiled and wiped her eyes.
“Nobody is after me anymore. I’m okay alone.”
He didn’t agree, but he kept quiet about that.
“Are you okay?”
“I’ll be okay. I just needed some air before I left. How about you?”
“Same. Jason is going to come pick me up later today and take me home. Lizzie is home with Kevin and I’m hopeful we can all have some time to just relax,” he smiled, referring to her, too.
She smiled and stood up.
“I hope so. Listen, Evan,” she said softly. “I want to thank you for everything. You protected my daughter and almost lost your life and I am so grateful for your help and protection. I want you to enjoy your life with your family and always know how much I appreciate all you’ve done. I won’t be needing your services anymore.”
He was stunned.
“You’re firing me?”
She wiped her eyes and exhaled.
“I just don’t need your protection anymore. Thank you for everything.”
He watched as she turned away from him and he left.
In Evan’s mind, he failed. There is nothing worse than that and being fired is what he expected to happen. It’s not in Evan’s nature to object. He takes his job as protector incredibly seriously and seeing Brittany so torn up and Naomi so sick is a direct reflection of his inability to serve.
We may disagree, but to Evan, it’s on him.
Book 18 has a lot to deal with. Evan and Elizabeth are just one part of the family that is in shambles.
Elizabeth and Evan will seriously consider moving back to LA and leaving the series. “Red” is a turning point for so many.
Preorder will be up soon!
Comments? Anyone else you want to read about?