Ophelia started out as a secondary character in Sweetwater. She’s Anna’s baby sister and the adoring aunt for Brody and Zoe. But as I wrote Sweetwater, she seemed to have taken on a life of her own. Readers loved her. She was fun, spunky, and she fiercely loves her family. So after I finished writing Sweetwater, it only made sense to tell Ophelia‘s story.
In Sweetwater, there is a hint of a scandalous relationship involving Ophelia, but we never really find out how it turns out or what it was all about. I felt that it was a story that needed to be told. Adding another layer of drama, and in response to readers’ love, I made sure the story was about Justin as well. I wanted to explore what kind of person would attract a free-spirit, and not just attract but also inspire a lifelong devotion. And let’s be honest, if someone was to reel Ophelia into a healthy and productive relationship she won’t run away from, he would have to be a fantastic guy that anyone would be lucky to be in a relationship with.
Ophelia Mackey is the creative talent of the Mackey family. After she graduated from high school, she attended culinary school in France. She learned French and fell in love with pastries. She found that she loved to not only create unique and rich desserts, but she found that she was especially good at doing complex but beautiful decorative work. Which is why Mike from The Sweet Spot was eager to hire her. For
a free-spirit, she is a very hard-worker. She loves what she does, and she hates leaving anything half-done if she can help it.
Here are some basic Ophelia Mackey stats:
- Age: At the beginning of the story, 26
- Parents: Arthur and Ellen Mackey
- Siblings: Anna Gilbert-Laughlin
- Nieces & Nephews – Brody, Zoe, and Amelia
- Love Interest: Justin Wolfe
- Place of Residence: Millcreek, Utah
- Occupation: Pastry Chef
Let’s be honest—Ophelia has the crappiest taste in men until she meets Justin. It’s hinted that it’s a series of mean or abusive boyfriends culminating is the worst boyfriend ever–Mike. Mike is the owner of The Sweet Spot, a married man and a narcissist. I based him on a person a family member was involved with and I worried that people would think I was exaggerating the depths a narcissist would stoop to punish a person they have not excused from their lives. But as anyone who has been involved with a narcissist will tell you, I went pretty tame in some respects.
Part of Ophelia‘s problem stems all the way back to high school and the first person she ever fell in love with – Anna’s husband, Darren. And unfortunately for Ophelia she told no one about her feelings for him and when he died, it was a loss she had to grieve by herself. The shame and trauma of losing Darren is the reason Ophelia
never could quite bring herself to find a good man in her life. She didn’t feel she deserved it. Then enters Justin.
I had to power cycle, if you will, Ophelia‘s brain. She needed that jolt of shock and attraction right from the beginning. Fortunately or unfortunately for Justin, he reminded Ophelia a lot of Darren. But he’s not Darren, and she had to discover for herself that Justin is his own person and doesn’t come with the baggage that so many of her other boyfriends did.
Here’s a breakdown of some of Ophelia’s characteristics:
- fun and silly
- a bit of a temper
- afraid of commitment, including marriage
- physically and emotionally affectionate
Ophelia was a challenge to write for. I’m closer to Anna in personality and while I appreciate having friends and family members who are free-spirited and fun-loving, I don’t always get them. So I had to put myself in her shoes and figure out how do you deal with the problems she has and still keep her
sense of personality and not act too much like Anna. How would Ophelia try to solve her own problems, for good or bad? Her first instinct would be to rely on others to help her solve her problems, but she also has a fierce independent streak that doesn’t quite allow her to ask Justin for help.
In the end, (and since we’re not quite yet at the end of Ophelia‘s saga, no major spoilers here) she has to learn that it is ok to ask for help. It is ok to trust others, even if the truth is painful. And that help and trust are best given by people we know love us 100%. And lastly, that Ophelia learns that she can still stretch and grow beyond the capabilities she thinks she has to become a better person. Love has a funny way of doing that to us, doesn’t it?
In a couple of weeks I’ll be profile Justin, Ophelia‘s main man, so be on the lookout for that!
What parts of Ophelia resonate with you? What parts of her are you having a hard time understanding or relating to? Tell me about it in the comments and let’s talk about it!