If you’ve visited my blog at all in the past few months, then you know I discovered Santino Hassell earlier this year and never looked back. His realistically flawed characters and riveting plots grab hold of readers and don’t let them go. He’s so prolific on top of that that you’re constantly playing catch up with all of his new releases. (YAY!) Quality and quantity just seem to go hand in hand for this author. To celebrate his newest release, Illegal Contact (you can read my review here,) Santino Hassell shares his process for choosing which points of view to write from with us.
When I wrote my first romance novel, I wrestled with several things—do I write it in first person or third person? Do I write points of views for both heroes, or just one? I received advice from many people, and the most popular response was: most readers prefer to read third person with both heroes POVs.
Why? Because people like to know what’s going on in both characters’ heads. I totally agreed, but ended up writing that first book with one point of view, anyway.
When I start planning a book, I usually begin with the story of the characters as they find each other and fall in love, but then I think about their individual paths. Where are they, what’s wrong with them to create obstacles for their relationships, and what do they need to do to grow? However, sometimes it’s not both people who need to do a lot of growing. Sometimes one person is already in a good place, and it’s the other guy who needs a significant developmental arc. In those cases… I stick with one point of view.
However, that wasn’t what happened with ILLEGAL CONTACT.
At the start of ILLEGAL CONTACT, Gavin Brawley is angry at the world. He doesn’t trust strangers to not expose his bisexuality (which he fears as a professional football player), he doesn’t trust his manager not to control him, or even his team to not eventually dump him because of his rotten reputation.
The media, and the fans, had given me credit for my part in the win, but they’d done it with commentary and hashtags about Brawley making up for his usual douchebaggery only due to his obsessive dedication to training and lack of a personal life. It had been grudging respect. Nothing more. And it would never be anything more. I wasn’t charming or endearing like other pro football players who earned millions in endorsements. I was the one who walked off the field after a win with no dog-and-pony celebration dances or rituals.
Noah Monroe isn’t in a much better place. Yes, he’s young, ambitious, and passionate about social justice, but he has trust issues of his own. He has a complicated past with powerful men wanting to use then dismiss him, and he’s not about to let it happen again. He also has a little issue with running his mouth before thinking about what he should, or should not, be saying.
“It’s a game,” I said stubbornly. “I know it’s important to some people, but not everyone.”
“Important doesn’t begin to cover it.” That low voice rumbled even more when Gavin was mad. He stepped closer, getting way into my personal space and not even seeming to realize it. With his bunched brow and frown, he looked genuinely upset by my dismissive attitude. “If you’re poor, sports are the equivalent of religion.”
“You get paid to play a game,” I repeated. “You’re not a savior of the people. You’re an overpaid jock.”
The trickier part for me is figuring out which scene should be in which character’s point of view. Sometimes, it’s not as easy as having them go back and forth. There are moments that are more important for one character than another because there is a shift either in their feelings or their way of thinking. For Gavin and Noah, there are several of those little shifts. However, one of the most monumental ones was when Gavin decided… “Hey, maybe I actually want this person to like me. And maybe it’s because I like him. A lot.”
Trust me, for Gavin, that is huge.
Illegal Contact is out now if you want to find out more about how the grumpy tight end and his snarky personal assistant fall in love!
Thanks so much, Santino, for sharing a bit of your process with us!
| About the Author |
Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.
Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.
And don’t miss out on Illegal Contact, out TODAY! You’re going to love it!
| Buy Illegal Contact |
Series: The Barons