I’d love to talk about Toby Faye, the male protagonist of my “Toby & Claudia” series. He is a complex character, at times brooding and intense, at others, witty and charismatic, making him an immensely gratifying character to write. Without further ado, here’s the top ten most important things about Toby Faye:
- His childhood: In the series’ first book, “Saving Toby,” Toby believes a difficult childhood dropped him into a hole he can never climb out of. The Faye family is the epitome of dysfunction. Burdened by alcoholism and physical abuse, their family has gained a disparaging notoriety about town. Toby feels it everyday, but his reclusive mother has turned a blind eye to it.
- His School Years: Life doles out many hard lessons to young Toby. At 12, his father died in a car accident, and the family is ostracized by the details surrounding it. Life at home becomes a battlefield, but it’s at this time he first fantasizes about Claudia, and the series’ legendary schoolboy crush is born.
- Affluence: Toby grew up on the ‘wrong side of the tracks,’ and strongly resents the divide between those who have vs. those who don’t. Claudia, though, is from the wealthier side of town—a fact that demands he rethink his defiant stance.
- His relationship with mother: Julia Faye was both kind and spiritual, but a passive woman who let her husband’s death unseat her. After his death, she closeted herself away from life, and Toby was forced to take on many adult responsibilities. Her dependence on him shapes the person he becomes.
- His relationship with brother: The bond between Faye brothers, Toby and Al Jr., is an unstable one. Al was aware of his parent’s preference for his easy-going younger brother, and he physically punished Toby for it throughout his teen years.
- His abilities: Toby blows through an excess of jobs trying to find work that suits him. He was never good at math, but even so, just like his father, he discovers he has a knack for carpentry. It’s finding this out about himself that boosts his confidence and opens doors to his future.
- His humor: Terrific dry wit. Toby has a way with the perfectly placed and timed sarcastic reply that catches one off guard and leaves everyone in a fit of giggles.
- Intensity: As Claudia says, “Focused Toby is incredibly sexy.” When he’s set his sights on something or someone, watch out.
- His friends: In the course of his life, Toby has collected an assortment of diverse and devoted friends. Their loyalty to him says a lot about his character.
- 10: Tattoos: Unlike the many tatted guys you read about in other new adult books, Toby isn’t overly inked up. He has one tattoo on his right shoulder. It covers a scar from a violent incident with his brother. He gets a second one in Keeping Claudia, just as meaningful, but I can’t say what it is without giving away a major spoiler.
Suzanne McKenna Link works for a family of newspapers that cover events in and around the South Shore of Long Island, New York. She lives in the town of Sayville with her husband and two children.
SAVING TOBY is her debut novel. The literary love story follows the moving journey of a damaged young man and his love for a girl who might just save him. An avid interest in psychology has Suzanne digging deep into the reasons for her characters’ behaviors. The native Long Islander is fascinated by the how and why of people’s actions. As a result, her characters come to life on the pages.
Suzanne McKenna Link
(Toby & Claudia #2)
Publication date: June 1st 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
How do you love someone whose past goes against everything you’ve ever known or trust in a future you’ve yet to believe in?
Back home in a town she once fled, headstrong Claudia Chiametti returns to the arms of the only guy ever to awaken her heart. Everything about Toby contradicts her family’s traditions and values, but she’s ready to take a chance on love.
Toby Faye is a new man, and the girl he’s long dreamed of is finally within his reach. With Claudia’s help, he’s put the past behind him. But one last secret hides in the dark corner of his past. The one that could undermine it all.
Can Claudia love him unconditionally … or will the truth cost Toby what he wants most?
Keeping Claudia is the emotional finale to the love story that began in Saving Toby, an unforgettable journey of a couple who discover the only way to love someone is with an open heart.
Falling in love is easy. Staying in love is hard.
Full length, Contemporary Love Story.
Recommended Reading Age 18+
Though part of a series, may be read as standalone.
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