Enjoy this insight from Annalisa:~
Ainsley is tall with long, dark red hair. She has a creamy complexion—no freckles, and hazel eyes. Her hair is almost always pulled back into a ponytail, bun, or braids. If I were casting Love is Grand as a movie, I would choose Amy Adams to play Ainsley.
Dustin is just a bit taller than Ainsley. He’s broad shouldered and fit. He has blond hair that tends to curl when it gets too long, and eyes the same shade as the ocean. I watched Sweet Home Alabama while I was writing the first draft of Love is Grand and realized that Josh Lucas is the perfect Dustin.
Jake is shorter and stockier than Dustin. He has dark hair and dark eyes. When he smiles, he has a dimple in his right cheek. Luke Wilson would be a good Jake.
Julie Wilson, Ainsley’s 17-year-old niece, is also a point of view character in Love is Grand. strawberry blond hair. Molly Quinn, who plays Castle’s daughter on Castle would be ideal for Julie.
Strengths and weaknesses
Ainsley is much stronger than she gives herself credit for being. Over the past two years, she’s dealt with the sudden death of her husband, Brad, and the birth of her first child, Faith. Her biggest weakness is that she often allows her fears to get the best of her. She’s also guilty of jumping to conclusions—something that hinders her friendship with Dustin.
Dustin is a mentor to some of the teens who live near the canyon. He’s always happy to lend a hand to those in need and is especially sensitive to Ainsley’s sorrow over the loss of her husband—because Brad was also Dustin’s best friend. Dustin sometimes avoids dealing with his own feelings because he thinks it makes life easier.
Jake is a hardworking guy. He’s spent the past several years working as a policeman in Phoenix, but is on a sabbatical. Even so, his instinct is to protect those around him. This strength also turns out to be a weakness though, as he tries to shield Ainsley from things instead of allowing her to deal with them. He always wants to be the hero.
Quirk (if any)
Ainsley is a park ranger at the Grand Canyon—yet the canyon itself terrifies her! She’s also very overprotective of her daughter, especially in the beginning.
The guys don’t really have quirks, although the two of them are pretty competitive when it comes to Ainsley.
Your inspiration for the character
I think the inspiration for Ainsley came from imagining what would happen to someone who had it all—and lost it. Ainsley thought her life was all set, only to find it falling apart. Her faith was tested, as was her strength.
Background to the story
In book one of the Walk in the Park series, we saw (through Kristy’s eyes) Ainsley’s grief at the sudden loss of her husband. In book two, Vickie’s story showed us how Ainsley was coping with life as a single mother. For this book, I really wanted Ainsley to find happiness again. But it doesn’t come easily—there are a lot of bumps along the way as she learns to trust in God’s plan for her life.
I really wanted this story to be about healing—sometimes things happen to us that are awful and we think we’ll never bounce back. We each deal with those things in different ways and take different routes, but ultimately the human spirit is resilient.
Thanks so much, Annalisa ~ I love the pictures you have pulled for these characters
On Monday, the spotlight shines on Nancy Rue’s Allison Chamberlain from The Reluctant Prophet.
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