When Characters Become Real. I Mean, Like, Really Real

by Michelle Andreani

Have Mindi and I ever told you about Matty? We really, really like talking about Matty.

He’s been one of the funnest characters to write so far: silly and playful and sweet. And dreamy. There, I said it. But despite bubbling up with inner charm, Matty needed some outer-ness, and the first thing that struck me about Matty was that he’d have a killer smile. (Also a rest-of-his-body, and probably hair, but a face-brightening grin was what I automatically associated with him.) So, when I came across this gif of a smirky Max Irons . . .


And I was also like: “*giggles coquettishly*”

I digress. (But seriously, let’s talk about Matty being dreamy sometime, yeah?) This gif has an overall Matty-ness to it and, thankfully, Mindi seemed on-board with this vision. All was well!

Fast forward some months to this February, when I was visiting a dear friend in Washington, DC. As luck would have it, Stephenie Meyer (yes, that one!) was on a small-ish book tour promoting her new novel-turned-movie, The Host. And her DC stop just so happened to coincide with my DC vacation. Stars aligned, I tell ya!

Oh, wait. I feel obligated to tell you here that I like the Twilight series. Sometimes I even like it a lot! I am okay with this. And while I like it for various reasons, I know that many people dislike it for various reasons, and we agree to disagree, and hooray for different opinions! (But if you are one of those people who cannot agree to disagree, I must direct you here. Thank you.)

My friend and I were all over that signing, if only because Stephenie Meyer is not the most accessible of authors these days. (And the signing was at Politics and Prose, a DC bookstore I’ve always wanted to get to.) But I’ll be honest, I was equally excited when I found out there’d be additional guests at the event – some handsome actor-types from the film.


Apologies for the bad quality. I blame the adorable smiles! (That's costar Jake Abel to his right.)

Adorable Boy Smiles screw with photo quality, I say! (That’s costar Jake Abel on the left.)

You guys. Beholding Max Irons was like seeing Matty in the flesh. (Only not, of course, because Max Irons is Max Irons and not a fictional teen boy. But still!) Seeing this person who so resembles a character in our book was a surreal moment – especially when he flashed that grin. (*giggles coquettishly*) It was as if, at least for a few minutes, Matty had come to real, flesh-and-blood life. How often do writers get to experience that? So, it was a total thrill for me – and Mindi, once I texted her the photo – considering how much time Matty spends locked up in our heads. Sometimes characters need to stretch their legs, I guess. 😉

And you’ll be happy to know that smile is just as effective in reality as it is in that gif above. Totally Matty-worthy.

(PS: If you think this makes me sound like a creep, just WAIT until my next post, wherein I ask the question: “Can you fangirl your own character?” And answer it with: “I don’t know BUT I DID.”)

5 thoughts on “When Characters Become Real. I Mean, Like, Really Real

  1. Mindi Scott says:

    You forgot to mention that he called you “Love”!

    ZOMG. I’m excited about it all over again and I wasn’t even there!

    • Michelle Andreani says:

      He did call me “Love”! I mean, he probably even calls his mail carrier “Love” but it’s still dreamy 😉

  2. Brittany says:

    That’s totally cute!!! I love this story. It’s so special when you can match a person to how you picture a character! I know for a feature I do with a few other bloggers, we do a “Casting Call” and try to cast people for our favorite characters and when you have SO MUCH LOVE for a characters, it’s especially hard to find that perfect person to embody them. When you have someone in mind and you get to meet them? I can totally see how it’d be like meeting your character in real life! Very cool 🙂

    • Michelle Andreani says:

      Thanks so much, Brittany!! I totally agree — it can be very hard to match-up your characters to real people. No one seems to live up to them! But if you finally do, and see them out and about, it’s insanely surreal! .. Though very fun 😀

      I’ll definitely be checking out that Casting Call feature — I’m kind of a sucker for those 😉

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