Cheryl Douglas, the author of Fearless, book two in the Nashville Nights series, gives us some insight into the hero and heroine in this book, Josh and Lexi.
Q: What can you tell us about Lexi?
Lexi’s had a tough life, growing up with an alcoholic father. Her mother died when she was young, and her sister, Sierra, who we met in book one, had to step in and raise her. This experience had a lasting impact on Lexi. She was determined to become financially independent so she wouldn’t have to rely on anyone else to take care of her. The success of her real estate investment business has afforded her financial freedom and she’s anxious to live the life she’s always dreamed about. She wants to travel, meet new people, learn about different cultures, and have the freedom to follow her impulses wherever they may take her.
Q: What can you tell us about Josh?
When I think of Josh, I think salt of the earth. He’s a father, first and foremost. He loves his teenage sons and he’s so proud of the men they are becoming. His marriage to their mother fell apart when the boys were young and Josh has a lot of guilt about that. He would love another chance at being a husband and father again and this time he hopes to get it right by choosing a woman who shares his goals and values.
Q: What can you tell us about Josh and Lexi’s relationship?
They’ve been friends for a long time. Josh was close with Lexi’s sister Sierra back in college, and the Lexi and Josh forged a relationship as a result of that friendship. There is an age difference between them, and they are at very different places in their lives. Lexi wants to find herself, while Josh already knows who he is and what he wants. Needless to say, their vision for the future couldn’t be more different.
Q: Would you consider Josh and Lexi likeable characters?
In my mind, they are. Like I said, Josh is one of the good guys, but he’s definitely not a pushover. He’s a tough guy, who protects those who cares about and I think that quality always makes a man appealing. There are shades of gray with Lexi. We may not always agree with her decisions, but I think the reader will understand why she made them. Her past influenced her character, and since she’s had her fair share of heartache, she’s flawed and confused. In the end, she, like everyone else, is just trying to work through her issues so she can find her road to happiness.
Q: When did you decide to write the story of Lexi and Josh?
I didn’t make the decision, my muse did. Seriously, I had planned to write the book Shameless for a long time, but the rest of the books came as a total surprise to me. As I wrote book one, the secondary characters became so strong that I knew they each had stories to tell. Lexi’s interactions with her sister in Shameless, made me realize that this was a character with a lot of depth who had travelled the same road as Sierra, but had chosen a much different destination. Sierra wanted the safety and security of family, but Lexi sought freedom and independence. I Lexi’s strength would make her a great character, so I decided to allow my muse to guide me.
Q: You mentioned your muse. How did that factor into your writing during this book?
Honestly, my muse is the guiding force behind every book. I create an outline, but I know there are going to be surprises along the way and I’m okay with that. I don’t try to control the creative process because I know that’s impossible. I’ve learned to go with it, and just trust my instincts, or my muse, as I prefer to call it.
Q: What do you want readers to know about Josh and Lexi?
They’re flawed, imperfect people trying to make up for past mistakes and find their own redemption. Josh wants to set a good example for his kids, he wants to be the kind of man his own father was. Lexi didn’t have an example of a happy family growing up, so it’s not something she seeks. She grew up fixating on the things she didn’t have, freedom, material things, and love. Those are the things that she’s trying to achieve; it just takes her a while to realize that love trumps everything else!
Lexi Brooks has overcome adversity to build a successful real estate business that will enable her live life on her terms. The life she envisions includes travel, fun, and excitement, not marriage, kids or commitment. But will Trey’s sexy bodyguard throw a wrench into her plans?
Being a cop taught Josh Cooper to take calculated risks, but he’s tired of living with the daily threat of danger. He’s ready to settle down with someone who wants to be a step-mother to his two teenage sons. Too bad Lexi isn’t that woman. She’s smart, sexy, and head-strong, and they’re totally in sync in the bedroom, but she isn’t willing to ‘settle’ for a life of domestic bliss. Or is she?
It took me thirty-seven years to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. I thought I’d found my calling. In fact, I worked as a nutritionist for twelve years before I finally admitted to myself that while I enjoyed my work, I couldn’t imagine doing it for the next thirty years.
My sub-conscious knew that I wanted to be a writer long before the conscious part of my mind decided to get with the program. While my sub-conscious was hard at work creating character profiles, plots and storylines, my conscious mind was telling me it was crazy to give up a successful business on the off-chance one of my manuscripts might rise to the top of someone’s never-ending slush pile. After years of listening to that negative voice, I was finally ready to stop making excuses, face the fear and follow my dream of becoming a full-time writer, no matter the outcome. I’m so thankful I did.
I love bringing my characters to life and I am so grateful to have readers who love those characters as much as I do.
When I take a break from writing it’s to spend time with my husband (a.k.a. my real life hero), my son, and my writing partner, Tia, a spirited Havanese who enjoys tapping her paw on my keyboard whenever I need a little comic relief.