If you’ve read any of the alternative scenes from the original draft of Kindred Spirits I posted–or if you were one of the unlucky people who, to my embarrassment, were sent the wrong Kindle file on the day the book launched (a faux pas that was quickly resolved by my publisher, so if you blinked you missed it; I’m hoping you blinked)–then you won’t be surprised to learn that Chris Wilson’s nemesis-slash-love-interest was originally named Douglas Batey, and in my mind he bore a strong resemblance to Jeremy Renner.
Sometimes characters evolve as you write them, and in more ways than just character growth. This was one of those times.
And it turns out that the actor you envision in the role can make a big difference.
Writing the second draft of Kindred Spirits coincided with marathon binge-fests of Gilmore Girls as I got myself all caught up and ready to watch the revival mini-series on Netflix. And while I am not a fan of Logan Huntzberger (Team Jess all the way!), it wasn’t very far into his introductory season when Douglas/Derek suddenly morphed into Matt Czuchry, and everything clicked into place.
In my mind, Derek Brandt shares Logan’s looks, mannerisms and penchant for banter with none of his spoiled poor-little-rich-boy childishness. While he does have a stubborn streak a mile long, a tendency to become too single-minded in pursuit of his goals, and a penchant to be overprotective of the people he cares about, he’s also smart, caring, and he eventually comes around to admitting when he’s wrong. He also possesses courage and a mighty sense of justice, and he doesn’t let sentimentality or even loyalty stand in the way.
As for the name change, you can thank my husband, who pointed out that Douglas is a terrible name for a romance novel hero. While I happen to think it’s a perfectly manly name, I had to concede his point–plus it no longer fit the new and improved version of the character. I’m happy that I caved. Derek Brandt is a much better foil/match for Chris than Douglas Batey ever was.
Get to know Derek Brandt in Kindred Spirits before his next appearance in Bound Spirits later this summer!