I don't know what falling in love is like for you guys. I've never been a love-at-first-sight kind of person. Love always sneaks up on me. It doesn't matter what type of love. With my cats, one day I was thinking, "Aren't they cute? Glad I could rescue them." The next, it was "Mine, mine, mine, all mine. They're the best cats that EVER existed. The smartest, the cutest, the most well behaved. I can't wait to see them again." I had a similar experience when I fell in love with Cody. One day, I was thinking, "This is a great man. He's funny and I like hanging out with him." The next, I was thinking thoughts that I'll censor for your sake. . .and mine (hello, Mom!).
On some level, I always knew that I'd fall in love with my characters, but I thought it would be an intellectual love. After all, I've spent so much time creating them and their stories, I knew that I would be at least fond of them.
I didn't realize that I'd fallen in love with my main character, Areia, until I finished the entire story (2.5 years later) and was talking it over with Cody. The more I talked about Areia's personality, the more I realized how much I liked her. I liked who she grew into. I liked the choices she'd made. I look forward to writing the rest of her story (two more novel's worth, I believe) so that I can spend more time with her. It was love. Not love at first sight, but definitely a form of love.
What I didn't expect was that I would fall in love with some of the secondary characters. Jeral, most of all, surprised me. He is Areia's good friend at the temple. He helps her grow up in so many ways. The day I wrote his last scene, I realized that I'd fallen in love with him too, because it felt like I was parting with a good friend. I moped about the house and replayed all his scenes in my mind. Yeah, it was a bit pathetic. And when I reread my book, and got to meet him all over again and read through all his parts again, I got really excited. When I got to his last page, I went through the same funk again.
It was kind of funny, kind of sad. I understand now why authors will return to a series or a world or just one character of the world that especially touches their heart. I could write a whole book on Jeral just to spend more time with him. Which is pretty weird, since I could "visit" him any time I want; after all, he's just an idea in my head. It makes me wonder if I'm becoming one of "those" authors that I make fun of—the ones that insist their characters are separate from themselves, as if these bits of fiction from their head can make their own decisions. And then I wonder if it can be a bad thing for a character to become so real that I have feelings for them. I don't think it can. I have a great fondness for many characters created by other authors. Why not fall in love with my own?