How my husband inspired the romantic side of Sonny in For the Birds

Excerpt from For the Birds:

And I loved Sonny. I loved the sound of his voice and how it felt when he wrapped me in an all encompassing hug. I loved the way he held doors open for me, or brushed the hair out of my eyes. I loved how he never failed to tell me I was beautiful, even when I’d just woken up, even when I was irritated with him. I loved that he was never irritated with me, even though I was difficult and moody and set in my ways.

Because February is the month of love, I decided to focus my blog’s attention on Sonny, the Scottish heartthrob of For the Birds who owns Cricket’s heart. And today’s blog entry is about the inspiration behind Sonny’s romantic side: my husband. 

Warning: If that last sentence made you roll your eyes, this blog entry might give you eye strain. 

I absolutely used my husband, Shawn, as inspiration behind Sonny’s kind and thoughtful side. As you read in my last blog entry, Sonny is the kind of guy who opens doors for you, gives huge bear hugs, and is thoughtful to a fault. These are the very qualities I noticed right off the bat with my husband. 

Shawn and I met years ago when we both worked for the local newspaper. He was going through a divorce and not even close to looking for love. But me, completely single and years out from my own divorce, could not help but notice how handsome he was, how he carried himself with confidence, and how charming he was. More than anything, he was kind. He was definitely the kind of guy who held doors open for others, and he didn’t need to be the center of attention. His kindness came naturally, and it made him stand out from every other guy I knew. 

After a while, Shawn finally came around to asking me out on a friend’s date to Russian River Brewing Co, where we enjoyed conversation over really delicious pizza. I was under the impression that this was friends only, and I was doing my best not to have any expectations beyond that. He eventually left to go to the bathroom, and I sat at the table waiting for the check. I got into conversation with a girl sitting by herself a table over. She asked how long Shawn and I had been together, and I told her we were just friends. 

“Oh girl,” she said. “He’s into you.” That’s when she told me that she’d noticed how attentive he’d been the whole time he was with me, the natural cadence between us, and how slyly he’d paid the check. 

“Wait, what? We were supposed to split that!” But sure enough, when I hadn’t been looking, he’d slipped his credit card to the server so I wouldn’t have to pay a thing. 

After our lunch, I told Shawn what the girl had said and laughed about it, as in, isn’t that just the funniest thing you’ve ever heard, that you’re into me? And that’s when Shawn made me stop and sit with him on a bench between the restaurant and parking lot. 

“I’ve been wanting to do this for a while,” he said, and then he slid his hand behind my neck and pulled me in for our first kiss. 

It’s been love at every sight, ever since (and the stress of blending a family, raising kids together, publishing books, multiple job changes, and currently a kitchen remodel…but still, love). 

So as I wrote about Sonny, Cricket’s great love, it was only natural to write about my own great love. Sonny’s ability to give full body hugs is modeled after Shawn, who is the best hugger I’ve ever known. The chivalrous gestures Sonny exhibits, like holding the door open or placing his hand on the small of Cricket’s back, are all inspired by Shawn’s own gentleman manners. The way Sonny gives Cricket his full attention whenever she’s speaking is the kind of attention Shawn gives me. And the grace Shawn has showed me when I’m especially difficult was inspiration for how much grace Sonny shows Cricket, even in the midst of her stubbornness.

I fell in love with Sonny as I wrote about him. But really, it’s because I loved Shawn first and forever more. 


Note: This is an ongoing blog series about For the Birds, a book I’m currently editing and will be shopping to publishers this year. Stay tuned to keep up with details about the story, sneak peeks at excerpts, and to learn about how the publishing process is going. If you’d like to be alerted to new posts, hit the “follow” button at the bottom of this page, or join my VIP Readers Club (you get a free book!).

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