Sway Spotlight #1: Ava

Sway is my modern-day retelling of Persuasion by Jane Austen (in case you haven't heard me post about it before a million or so times). My main character- Ava Elliot- is a sort-of spoiled rich girl, Juilliard graduate, lover of pretty clothes and classical music. She has a deep attachment to her childhood home, mostly because of her Mom, who died when she was fourteen.

Ava has two sisters. Her relationship with older sister Beth is strained and awkward. These two have never been close. With Mari, her younger sister, Ava is more like a mom- taking care of her whenever Mari goes a little off the rails.

If I had to pick my Ava, Alexis Bledel would be it

At the start of the book, Ava's had two big loves. First, Eric Wentworth. Best friend at fifteen, dating at sixteen, engaged at nineteen. Then came the big break-up. After that, Ava fled to New York. At Juilliard, she met her second big love, Kazuo Takahashi. She fell for his beautiful cello playing and his quiet way of living. But that love was just a bit too quiet, and so after the break-up, and her graduation from Juilliard, she goes back to LA to start over, yet again.

Ava was a tough character to write. Anne Elliot- who Ava is based on- is just so good. Aside from dumping Captain Wentworth eight years before, she says and does all the right things. She is the model of female excellence in that time. So to write a character like that, I was afraid Ava would come off a little boring or unrelatable. When a CP suggested I make the original break-up with Eric more her fault, that was hard.

But Ava was also... I wouldn't say "fun" to write, but I enjoyed writing her. I enjoyed exploring the depth of Ava's emotions as she's trying to start over again, trying to figure out exactly what she wants, all the while dealing with Eric back in her life and the memories she has of him, AND a new boyfriend. Another thing I love about Ava is her love of music. Finding a way to add music to her voice and the way she sees the world was a challenge, but a welcome one.

A song Ava plays after an awkward moment with Eric

I've always felt a connection to Jane Austen's Anne Elliot, and so I hope that I did both Jane and Anne justice. I hope that if I ever have readers of Sway, they will connect to Ava the way I have.