Title: Catch Me When I Fall
Author: Vicki Leigh
Genre: young-adult, urban-fantasy, paranormal-romance
Publish Date: October 23, 2014
Cover Artist: Conzpiracy Digital Arts
About Catch Me When I Fall:
Recruited at his death to be a Protector of the Night, seventeen-year-old Daniel Graham has spent two-hundred years fighting Nightmares and guarding humans from the clawed, red-eyed creatures that feed off people’s fears. Each night, he risks his eternal life, having given up his chance at an afterlife when he chose to become a Protector. That doesn’t stop a burnt-out Daniel from risking daring maneuvers during each battle. He’s become one of the best, but he wants nothing more than to stop.
Then he’s given an assignment to watch over sixteen-year-old Kayla Bartlett, a clinically depressed patient in a psychiatric ward. Nightmares love a human with a tortured past. Yet, when they take a deep interest in her, appearing in unprecedented numbers, the job becomes more dangerous than any Daniel’s ever experienced. He fights ruthlessly to keep the Nightmares from overwhelming his team and Kayla. Soon, Daniel finds himself watching over Kayla during the day, drawn to why she’s different, and what it is about her that attracts the Nightmares. And him.
A vicious attack on Kayla forces Daniel to break the first Law and reveal his identity. Driven by his growing feelings for her, he whisks her away to Rome where others like him can keep her safe. Under their roof, the Protectors discover what Kayla is and why someone who can manipulate Nightmares has her in his sights. But before they can make a move, the Protectors are betrayed and Kayla is kidnapped. Daniel will stop at nothing to save her. Even if it means giving up his immortality.
Creating deep, realistic love interests is just as important as creating main characters you can’t help but root for. Readers need to love the main character’s significant other just as much, or the author runs the risk of people not caring what happens to the relationship. So, when I created Kayla, I knew she had to be as important to me as Daniel.
Like when I created Daniel, Kayla was developed using a casting sheet, brief bio, and character survey. I already knew that she was going to be his charge, in a psychiatric ward, and our paranormal in the story. From there, I delved deeper, discovering who she was at her core and why Daniel would come to love her.
So, without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about Daniel’s love interest, Kayla Bartlett:
The Casting Sheet
Kayla’s Brief Biography
The Character Survey
Hair: Dark brown
Traits: Affectionate, Bold, Creative, Empathetic, Kind, Passionate, Determined, Imaginative
Flaws: Compulsive, Impulsive, Insecure, Nervous
Played by: Lyndsy Fonseca
When I write my character’s biographies, they really are brief—just enough so that I know the character’s backstory. And I do this for all of my major characters, not just my main one. It helps me learn where they came from and what their motivations will be to create a character arc.
The plan for my Dreamcatcherseries is to watch Kayla grow more than any other character. That said, because Kayla’s backstory consists of what will become spoilers, I, instead, want to share the passage from Catch Me When I Fall that helps to explain why we first find Kayla in a psychiatric ward.
Note: This is very sensitive material that could be hard to read for some of you. (Catch Me When I Fall is geared toward teens ages 15+.)
Still want to read it? Okay, here we go:
Since I was Tabbi’s partner in protecting Kayla, I could see what she saw in Kayla’s mind once I linked hands with her. The connection was part of the supernatural bond we’d created with Kayla when we performed our ritual the first day we were assigned to her. I grabbed Tabbi’s hand and closed my eyes. Within seconds, I was in Kayla’s head, seeing through her eyes and feeling her emotions. I had become Kayla.
Kayla hummed as she chopped vegetables for her salad on the island in her kitchen. Someone knocked on the front door, and she glanced at the clock on her microwave. I thought I told Renee not to come until seven. Kayla set the knife down and walked through the immense house to the foyer then opened the door. Matt, her mother’s boyfriend, stood on the other side with a bouquet of flowers in his hands.
“Hi, Kayla. Is your mom home?”
Aww, Mom’s going to love this. Kayla shook her head with a soft smile. “She’s at work until four, but I’ll let her know you stopped by. Want me to put the flowers in a vase?”
“Okay. Well, can I at least come in and leave a note to go with it?”
Kayla nodded. “Sure.”
Matt smiled and stepped inside the door. Kayla led him through the house to the kitchen and took a vase out of a cupboard. “So, what’s up with the flowers?”
“Oh, you know. Just thought your mom would like them.”
Kayla giggled. “You know her well.” She turned around to hand the vase to him and stopped. The flowers were on the counter, and Matt stood just inches from her. A slow smile rose on his face. Kayla’s heart raced. “Um, if you’ll just let me get to the flowers, I can, you know.”
Matt grabbed her wrist as she tried to push past him. “The flowers can wait. They’re not the real reason I’m here. You are.”
“Let me go.” Kayla stared right into his eyes though the hairs on her arms rose and her palms sweated.
But he didn’t. Instead, he slammed her against the kitchen counter and tried to plant his lips on hers. The vase fell to the floor and shattered.
“No!” she shouted and turned her face. Kayla shoved Matt’s face away from hers.
He growled in annoyance. “Don’t fight me, Kayla. I don’t want to hurt you.”
Matt leaned in to kiss her again, but Kayla slapped him.
“Behave!” He hit her back, punching her in the eye.
Kayla squealed and tried to struggle out of Matt’s hold, but he pushed her harder until the edge of the counter dug into her back to the point of pain.
“Let me go! Help!” she screamed.
“Shut up!” He hit her again.
She didn’t quiet. Instead her screams turned into cries. She squirmed, slapped him and kicked his shins, but all she seemed to do was fuel his desire. His lips found her neck as he held her wrists against the cold marble of the countertops, and he kissed up her chin to her lips.
Then he slid his tongue into her mouth. Kayla bit down, and Matt jumped back with a curse. “You little bitch!” He took one hand off of her to slap her.
She reacted quickly and brought her knee up, hitting him between the legs as hard as she could. His moment of shock was all she needed. Kayla squirmed out of his grasp and ran through her house and up the stairs, knowing her mother’s gun was in the desk drawer in her room. After being home alone all the time, she’d stolen it from her mom’s safe and tucked it away in her bedroom as a safety precaution.
Her paranoia was about to pay off.
With shaky hands, Kayla grabbed the revolver out of her desk. She turned around, her finger on the trigger. Matt entered the room, his face red and his teeth bared. The knife Kayla had been using to cut her vegetables was in his right hand.
Kayla pulled the trigger, her heart racing in her chest. Matt jumped as the bullet flew past his head. Kayla whimpered and pulled the trigger again. The bullet missed.
Four more times she shot at him, and Matt shrunk away each time. But Kayla’s hands were too shaky. The gun had a wicked kick, and she never once hit her target. Her chin trembled as Matt stalked toward her, a fiendish smirk on his face. She grabbed a metal trophy off her desk and held the award like a baseball player at the plate, ready to strike when he neared her. Her palms were clammy and her legs weak. When he was close enough, she swung.
Matt’s dagger entered her left side. Kayla dropped the trophy with a scream as blood poured from her body. He grabbed her arms and flung her onto the floor. Kayla sobbed, both at the burning pain in her stomach and the fear coursing through her veins. She held her hands out in front of her, praying she would die before her mother’s boyfriend raped her.
Warm, awkward tingles ran from the tips of her toes into her palms, like her body had been asleep but was now waking up. Matt stood near her feet, unbuckling his belt. Kayla sobbed, begging God for help. Then, without warning, Matt went up in flames.
I ripped my hand out of Tabbi’s and jumped from my chair like I’d sat on something sharp. My shaking hands raked through my hair, and I paced around the room, my heart pounding in my ears. The room blurred. I wanted to drag Matt out of Hell and kill him again. At least he’d gotten what he deserved.
After I knew Kayla’s backstory and how she got to be in the mental hospital, I then completed a character survey to help me get to know her. For the sake of length, I’m not going to share it with you today, but you can find the survey I used here.
Obviously, I take a lot of time in the planning process to really get to know my characters, but it’s because I’m a plot-driven writer. I always know the story before I begin, but I never know my characters. If you’re like me, my suggestion would be to do something similar, because readers won’t care about your awesome plot if they can’t connect with your characters.
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