Ben Shepherd is the thirty-something uber-talented, generous, and loving yet lonely hero of my novel Dragonflies at Night: More Than a Love Story (landing 9/22/20).
Please note that Ben is entirely fictional, created by my imagination and hefty dose of magic from my Creative Muses. I know that he isn’t real (!) but this photo is the closest thing I could find to the image that I have of him in my mind. Ben is 5’11”, of medium build, with a mess of wavy reddish-brown hair, and eyes the color of dark jade that are a little too close together. Sometimes he forgets to shave (hence the slight beard), he’s generally disorganized, and his greatest weakness is junk food.
Since he came to me (in my imagination!!!), I have been picturing his face and hearing his music as a beautiful cross between Jason Mraz and Josh Groban. How about THAT for a visual/auditory description!!! Except… Ben doesn’t wear hats or play the guitar (like Jason does), nor has he acted on television and in films (like Josh has).
What makes Ben uber-talented and creative?
One of Ben’s biggest loves is Broadway musicals. In his mid-twenties, he and his fellow band members starred and participated in the writing of a Tony award-winning musical called Ten Thousand Hearts. After that, he began recording and touring individually as members of the band began to go their separate ways. He writes most of his own music, and has a special knack for creating songs that are inspiring and meaningful (like Jason and Josh).
What do you mean when you say he’s lonely? It seems like his celebrity would gift him with many, many friends.
It would seem that way, wouldn’t it? However, Ben has found that the life of an internationally known singer/songwriter—who is on the road performing most of the year—isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. For one thing, most of the people who approach him want something from him- an autograph, a hug, an endorsement, a donation. He loves his fans but no one seems to want to know the real Ben Shepherd. For another thing, he isn’t usually in one place long enough to build a long-lasting relationship. He does have a close friend in Brando, his Personal Assistant. Also there’s Kline, who was in the original band with him, way back when. Brando travels with him; Kline and his family welcome him back to L.A. whenever he lands there.
What does Ben want more than anything?
He wants to meet a woman who is able to see beyond his celebrity. Ben has dated many women over the years and has had one long-term relationship with Avery, a famous TV star. But she put her career ahead of him. He also wants a wife and children; he is ready to create a family (which is another thing that Avery didn’t want).
Ben loves (in no particular order): Broadway, the musical Into the Woods, his parents, brother and sister, ketchup on everything, junk food, sugar, swimming, video games, Brando, his dog (who now lives with his parents because he is rarely home), writing songs, Kline and his family, chocolate with nuts, Rumi, yoga, and eventually Savannah Adams (whom I introduced last week; you can read about her here).
How does Ben feel about the dragonflies?
When Ben ends up next to Savannah in a yoga class at a retreat center, he notices the dragonfly design on her mat as well as the fact that she is wearing a simple silver dragonfly around her neck. He asks her about it, and she opens up to him about the meaning of Dragonfly in her life.
Do you have a question for or about Ben? Post it here and I will do my best to answer!
Stay tuned… next week you’ll meet Deirdre Rose, Savannah’s mother, who died when Savannah was 15.