Blogger Book Fair Characters and their Careers: Reese Ryan

Making the First Move, by Reese Ryan

Reese Ryan has provided us with a guest post talking about her characters and their careers.  Take it away, Reese!

Revealing Character Identity Through Career ChoiceReese_Ryan Cover Small

In my contemporary romance, Making the First Move, Melanie Gordon’s and Raine Mason’s careers have become inextricably tied to their identities. Melanie is climbing the ladder at Jasper & Graevel Personnel Services—a top headhunting and personnel firm. Raine founded and runs his own charitable organization and has a passion for rescuing young men on the road to disaster. In a way, both of them are using their careers to make amends for the past.

As an undergraduate Mel majored in Art History and dreamed of living abroad and working at the Louvre. She spent countless hours wandering the galleries of the Cleveland Museum of Art. However, her father persuaded her to pursue a more “sensible” career. He was the president of a major firm by his mid-thirties and later started a personnel firm with a friend. His ultimate goal was to start a family firm that would be his namesake. He groomed Melanie to continue what would be his legacy. His death prevented him from achieving his goal. After the loss of her father—whom Mel was extremely close to—and a devastating break-up, Mel opts to hide out from life and throw herself into her career. She pushes herself to achieve her late father’s career plan for her. Only somewhere along the way she’s forgotten that it was never her dream.

Raine wasn’t encouraged to pursue a career in philanthropy. In fact, his parents had much bigger plans for him than running a lowly non-profit. He’s driven to champion the cause of an underserved population. In order to achieve his vision of starting a charitable foundation that would help young, at-risk males he obtained the required education and worked within organizations doing similar work for several years before starting Focused for Life.

Their work not only plays a crucial role in their identities, but it is also what brings Melanie and Raine together initially. Melanie’s firm donates generously to Raine’s organization and she frequently refers job candidates who don’t meet Jasper & Graevel’s needs to him for training and other support services. While their careers play a major role in the story, Making the First Move isn’t an office romance since the fact that their organizations work closely together is what has prevented Raine from acting upon his feelings for Mel. It is her sudden promotion and impending relocation that prompts him to make the first move.

Characters don’t exist inside a vacuum. They have jobs, families, friends, and neighbors.  Revealing those elements helps readers (and the writer) to better understand a character’s identity and motivations. What a character does for a living is one of the many building-blocks of that character’s identity. That’s why my characters’ work often plays an essential role in a story. I enjoyed integrating Melanie and Raine’s careers into Making the First Move. Especially since I have a background in both talent acquisition and non-profit.

Identity and family are two primary themes in the story, but it also deals with secrets. The revelation of long-held secrets can either be destructive or freeing. As the story progresses, we unearth secrets from Raine’s and Melanie’s past that threaten to destroy their prospects for a happy future.

Making the First Move on Goodreads:


Melanie Gordon has spent the past five years obsessing over her career to dull the pain of a devastating breakup and the loss of her father. Her effort pays off when she receives the promotion that could be her big break. Only it means returning to her hometown to face her past while leaving behind the man who could be her future.

Selfless (and insanely sexy) philanthropist, Raine Mason, is committed to his cause. But his passion for rescuing high-risk young males from the road to disaster is fueled by his own dark and tragic past.

When Raine is ready to take his casual friendship with Melanie to sizzling new heights, her one-way ticket to Cleveland is already booked. But a steamy night of passion leaves them both wanting more, even if Melanie is afraid to admit it. She reluctantly agrees to a long-distance relationship with no promises and no commitments.

Melanie may finally be ready to give Raine her heart…but then she discovers startling news that causes her to question everything she knows about him. Worse, he’s harboring a dark secret from his past that threatens to shatter any hope of a future for them unless he can convince her that their love is worth the risk.


Thirty minutes later, Raine is standing in my doorway in a camel-colored cashmere sweater and a pair of Levi’s. A white, button-down shirt peeks underneath the collar. Chin-length, caramel-colored locs are pulled back at the crown of his head, with the remaining hair hanging free. He is, in a word, gorgeous.

My eyes trace the curve of his biceps. I lick my lips, cheeks flushed, and hope he hasn’t noticed I’ve spent the past five seconds checking him out from head to toe. Twice.

“I see you’re ready to go.” He nods toward the wrap draped over my arm and my clutch tucked underneath it.

“I am.”

“Then shall we?” Raine extends his hand in the direction of the narrow stairwell leading down to the first floor.

“Let’s.” I offer a nervous smile.

He slips his hand to the small of my back. I try not to notice the heat emanating from his hand. But it’s nearly impossible to ignore the jolt of electricity, which travels through his long, elegant fingers and enters the base of my spine.

I’m sure his hand has been on that exact spot when he’s guided me through a crowd or we’ve danced together at charity functions. His touch seemed incidental then. Tonight, there’s something about the placement and pressure of his hand that feels deliberate, significant. Or maybe I’m transferring my own well-guarded desire to an innocent gesture.

Raine guides me down the stairs, out the front door and into his car, his hand still on my back.

“Thanks for doing this,” I say. “I know it’s short notice.”

“I couldn’t leave you standing there dressed, with no place to go.” He tries to hide a smirk as he turns the ignition.

“How’d you know I was already dressed when I called?”

“You’ve never been ready when I came to pick you up. There’s not a chance in hell you threw this together in thirty minutes. You look…amazing.”

“Very clever,” I say. “And thank you, I think.”

“It’s too bad, actually.”

“What’s too bad?”

“That you were ready. I was hoping to catch you in a towel, just out of the shower,” he says, his eyes straight ahead.

My cheeks grow warm. I’m not offended, just surprised. Our social conversations have been mildly flirtatious, but never anything so easily decipherable. We prefer our flirtation so well-coded that only a world-class hacker has a chance in hell of sorting it all out.

I stifle a giggle. “Sorry to disappoint you.”

He smiles.

We ride in silence for a while. He pays strict attention to the road. I pretend to be fascinated by the houses and apartments that fly by my window. The same ones I’ve seen nearly every day for the past five years.


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Bio: ReeseRyan_AutPicSmall

Reese Ryan writes sexy, contemporary fiction filled with colorful characters and sinfully-sweet romance. She secretly enjoys torturing her heroines with family and career drama, reformed bad boys, revealed secrets, and the occasional identity crisis, but always rewards them with a happily ever after.

Born and raised in the Midwest, she now resides in Central North Carolina with her family who tolerate her propensity to sing and dance badly. A self-proclaimed Bohemian Southern Belle, she treads the line carefully between being a Northerner and a damned Yankee–despite her insistence on calling soda pop. Reese gauges her progress by the number of “bless your lil’ hearts” she gets each week. She is currently down to two.

Visit Reese online at Follow her on Twitter @ReeseRyanWrites. Connect with her on Facebook.

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Reese, thank you for stopping by. You couldn’t have said it better. Characters can’t exist in a vacuum. Reese would loveyour comments below.


Remember, by commenting you can enter into the drawing for one Amazon $10 gift card that I will give away at the end of the week. Maximum of one entry per day per reader. If you don’t want to comment on this entry, you can also can submit the feedback form asking you how you find books to purchase. The link to the feedback form is:

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  1. Pingback: Blogger Book Fair Characters and their Careers: Reese Ryan « Reese Ryan -- Novelist | Journalist | Essayist | Hopeless Romantic

  2. Kathryn Anne Merkel   •  

    Although I was never pressured to fulfill any specific dream that my parents had for me, I do have friends who did & I really enjoy reading books about characters who find themselves unhappily pursuing someone elses dream. It so easy to cheer them on in refocusing their lives on their own dreams.
    Kathryn Merkel

  3. Reese Ryan, Novelist   •  

    Thanks for your comment, Kathryn! It’s amazing how many people find themselves living someone else’s dream. I also have friends in this situation. It’s hard to turn away from years of law school, or nursing school, and decide to pursue some other dream that seems far less practical. Yet, following someone else’s dream never seems to make us happy.

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