In 2021 I finally published a novella I’d been writing for more than a year. Mae, June and Paul is set in the same ‘universe’ as my novel Hotel Deja Vu. There’s a house in Paris with a time portal in the basement and Paul is desperate to find it. He wants to fix the mess he and June made when they met in Paris all those years ago.
June is a spoiled, nasty piece of work. She’s mean to Paul who would literally lie in the middle of the traffic if he thought it would make things right. She’s also horrible to her ‘best’ friend, Mae, who she has known since they were paired up, due to their names, in primary school.
She’s a thoroughly horrible person but she is physically beautiful. I realised halfway through writing that it was a variation on a ‘billionaire’ romance. I didn’t set out to do that, but my character was a high achiever with lots to lose, so giving it all up to go back in time was a big deal. Sure he could do it all again, but his main motivation was to see June happy.
I haven’t had a lot of reads on that story. One reader said she was a great villain and got what she deserved in the end. One said I should explain why June is so nasty, so the reader can understand why she does what she does and why Paul puts up with it!
I love that readers contact me to give this kind of feedback! It is so helpful.
So, why is June so nasty? It must be unresolved trauma? Mental illness?
Nope. June is just plain mean because she’s been handed everything on a platter her whole life and has come to simply expect it. No trauma, except perhaps never being told ‘no’ as a child.
That she is based loosely on actual people I have met should tell you that it’s possible to simply be an ass. To be fair, I didn’t know the intricacies of my acquaintance’s lives but hey, it’s fiction and it’s my story, so she can be an ass if she wants.
However, the lack of readers tells me I have missed the mark. My sister, whose opinion I value very highly, felt Paul was a wimp and would turn readers off because he let’s himself be treated like a doormat for 20+ years. She didn’t read this story before I published it. That was probably my biggest mistake with this story.
Writing the first draft of Hotel Deja Vu I made all the characters a little too nice, including the main villain, Paula. I had to go back and rewrite her to ensure she deserved her ending. June thoroughly deserves her ending but she also gets a second chance. Paul 2:0 may just be the first person to ever say ‘no’ to her and maybe that puts her on a better path?
To be honest, I don’t know why I persevered with this story for so long. It wanted to be written, even though it appears it might not really want to be read. Anyway, it’s out there and no longer taking up room in my head.