Welcome to week five of The Character Interview Blog Hop where you get a chance to meet the leading men from several different genres of fiction! Last week Debora Dennis shared her interview with her time-traveling hero, William Montgomery, from A Fistful of Fate. You can find that interview here on her blog – http://deboradennis.blogspot.com
I write women’s fiction with heart, humor and a dash of spice. My short story, A New Life, will be released by The Wild Rose Press on February 25, 2015. In addition to Women’s Fiction, Amazon also categorizes its genre as Domestic Fiction, which made me a bit giddy, because I absolutely love domestic fiction. I love writing – and reading – stories about the small moments in life that make up the fabric of a family…
Today you’ll meet Zach Gold – the hero of A New Life….
Does a baby turn your life upside down or right side up? New parents, Grace and Zach, find themselves drifting apart after months of no sleep and no sex, not to mention too many fights over the dishes, laundry and in-laws. Sometimes it seems as if they’ll never find their way back together. Is the love they still feel for each other beneath the layers of frustration and unhappiness enough to reignite their forgotten passion?
Zach isn’t your typical hero. He doesn’t rush into a burning building. He’s not a cowboy. He doesn’t wrangle up the bad guys. He doesn’t really rescue the heroine from anything, except herself and exhaustion – or at least he tries to rescue her. And, if you’ve ever been a new mom, you know that’s actually pretty damn heroic…
Tell me a bit about yourself, Zach…
“Well, I’m a new dad, so I’m pretty tired. I used to be in a band and would stay up playing clubs until it was almost time for breakfast, then get up for work. But, there’s nothing like the exhaustion an infant brings, even if my wife, Grace, does all the feeding. I try to at least get Henry and bring him to her when he wakes up and needs to nurse, if he’s not already in bed with us. Sometimes Grace just sleeps with him on her chest all night.”
Zach runs his hand over his close cropped chestnut hair and laughs a bit ruefully. I can see the shadows under his deep brown eyes and I feel for the guy. I really do. I’ve been there. We’re sitting on a bench by the water near Zach and Grace’s apartment. Zach stares out at the Boston skyline, taking a long draw from his Dunkin’ Donuts cup. I can tell that this conversation will go more smoothly if he’s got some liquid fuel in him, so I don’t rush him. When he rests his cup on his knee and sighs, his breath exiting in a smoky puff into the frigid air, I ask my first question.
So, Zach – what’s your biggest fear?
“You just get right into it, don’t you? OK, my biggest fear? Hmm, I’m not used to talking about my fears. I’m a guy – my buddies and I talk about the Pats and the Bruins. Maybe a bit about our jobs. Maybe a new workout routine at the gym. Our deepest fears, not so much. But, it is kind of nice to have someone to open up to, especially since Grace is so involved with Henry, we pretty much just collapse at night and don’t really talk too much.
Zach smiles at me so beguilingly, I wonder how Grace can possibly resist him. But, then I remember what it was like when my kids were infants and I was exhausted. I totally get it.
“So, my biggest fear?” Zach asks. “Well, I’ll tell you one thing – the moment Henry was placed in my arms I loved him with a ferocity I’d never felt before. Cutting his umbilical cord, I felt like I untethered him and set him out into the big, sometimes scary world. I knew right then it was my duty to protect him forever. So, I guess my biggest fear would be somehow failing him. You know, I worry that I won’t be able to provide for my family – that I’ll lose my job. They’ve been laying people off in my company and I always worry I’ll be next. Grace decided to stay home with Henry, because her salary wouldn’t even cover babysitting. I totally support her – he’ll only be a baby once, but being the only bread-winner is a bit scary.
Oh and one more thing that scares the hell out of me – I worry that Grace and I will never be the same. I can’t believe I just admitted that.”
Have you told anyone else your fears? I ask softly.
“No, absolutely not.”
It takes Zach a moment to answer. He just sits silently, gazing at the water, before continuing.
“I’m supposed to be the strong one. I’ve always been tough, almost a loner. But, not quite. It took me a whole year of dating to tell Grace that I loved her. Hell, it took me a year to sleep with her.” Zach chuckles softly. “Can you believe that? I’d slept with girls after an hour, but Grace… I knew once we did that, I’d be toast. I usually left girls the next morning, sometimes even before – but with Grace, I knew I’d want to stay, maybe forever.”
Zach glances at me sideways, a crooked grin spreading across his face. “I guess maybe that shows I wasn’t so tough – I was afraid to commit, afraid to open my heart to anyone – but, I acted tough. I acted like I didn’t even need her. Like I said, I had my share of one night stands and relationships that were all surface spark and no substance before Grace. When I met her, she scared the hell out of me, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to walk away so easily. And, if she walked away from me…”
Zach trails off and takes another long sip of coffee, then shakes his head. “This is cold now.” He turns to me, “And you look freezing.”
I’ll admit, his easy grin and those eyes reminding me of the richest cup of hot chocolate definitely warm me up a bit, but I agree. I’m really cold. He doesn’t have to ask me twice to go inside – even if inside is a little ice cream shop that’s not much warmer than outside. Even so, Zach removes his jacket and scarf before sitting down at a small, scarred metal table. Now that he’s liberated from those layers, I can see that he does indeed frequent the gym. But, this is about what’s inside him, not outside. So, I prod a bit more.
Is there anyone you’d never tell your fears to?
“Well, Grace, for one – like I said, I need to be strong for her. Plus, she’s got enough on her plate taking care of Henry. She’s even more exhausted than I am. I don’t want her to worry about me losing my job.”
What about losing her? Or at least your worry about things never going back to the way they way before Henry was born – would you tell her that fear?
Nah, I mean what’s the point? Maybe we’ll talk about it some day. But, how would I bring it up? Plus, I can’t give away too much of the book, right?
Zach winks, his charm on full display. And he’s right, so I move on. I know he needs to get back to work, especially if he’s afraid of losing his job.
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me. I just have four more questions.
“Four!” Zach exclaims. “Did I tell you I’m not a man of many words? Because, I’m not. I don’t really relish opening up to anyone. But, I guess your readers want to know more, so OK…”
He glances at his watch, his brow a bit furrowed. Sorry, I have to ask certain questions. It’s the rule of the blog hop. But these are easier to answer, I promise… Tell me about the one person who made a difference in your life?
“That is an easier question. Grace. I never loved anyone before her. I had enough women – I don’t want to sound like a jerk, but being in a band is kind of like being a kid in a candy store for a guy in his teens and twenties. My best pick-up line was, ‘Hey, I’m in a band.’ It worked every time. But, there were things I wouldn’t do until I met Grace. The really intimate stuff, but I dove right in with Grace – if you know what I mean.”
I think I get it and I can feel the heat creeping up my cheeks. I blush way too easily, so I change the subject.
How else did she change you?
“Well, I started thinking about someone other than myself. When I met Grace, I was set in my ways. I was playing in the band, going to night school and working full time. I didn’t want to have to be accountable to someone else. If I wanted to go to a club on a Saturday night with friends, I didn’t want someone giving me a hard time. I wanted to be unfettered. It took me a long time to let her into my life. But when I did, I realized that ordering Chinese food and curling up on the couch to watch a movie with the person you love is way better than hanging out at some club with flashing lights and bodies crushed on the dance floor. I stopped thinking about which girl in the audience I wanted to take home after a show and had eyes only for Grace. My life became…”
Zach pauses, searching for the right word. “Richer.”
“Right here. I like to walk the marina. The water and view calm me. Always have.”