As you know, the heroine in my next book, Love Bomb, developed a reputation of being Bain's stalker while she was a teen. The poor girl was love struck by our hero and lurked behind bushes just to get a glimpse of him. Of course, when we meet her, she's past that stage...probably...mostly... Anyway, I thought you'd like to know where the idea came from.
When I was seventeen I had a stalker. Seriously. It was back in the day when we didn't know to call them stalkers, but that's definitely what he was. Amir was an eighteen-year-old guy in my physics class and he was the real deal. He harassed my friends and family and followed me everywhere - usually by kerb-crawling beside me in his car. He showered me with strange gifts, that meant something equally strange to him, and his bedroom walls were papered with photos and drawings of me - I didn't see this, but a mutual friend did and was pretty freaked when he told me about it.
To be honest, Amir's attention was mostly bewildering and embarrassing. But sometimes it teetered into dangerous and creepy. He tried to run over a male friend of mine, he'd collect things I discarded to keep as souvenirs, and he filled his car boot with trinkets he could give to me. It all came to a head when Amir got down on one knee during physics class and proposed, causing great hilarity among my all-male classmates. I will never forget the look of shock on my poor teacher's face.
In the end, I did what any Glaswegian woman would do when dealing with a stalker - I ratted him out to his gran. Amir’s gran was outraged that he was obsessed with me, instead of a nice Glaswegian/Pakistani girl, and the family shipped him to Pakistan. I never saw him again. I hope he learned a lesson from his time stalking me - mainly that he should keep his eye on the road while kerb-crawling so to avoid veering off into lamp posts.
So how does my teenage stalker inspire a character in a romantic comedy?
It's all about the crush. Amir was extreme but haven't we all done stupid things while in the thrall of a teenage crush? I know I have! When I remember Amir, I think about the quirky and baffling things he did to get my attention. Although, I did feel confused and sometimes helpless at his attention, mostly I was irritated and embarrassed. I spent a lot of time just hoping he'd go away. Which is how I imagine Bain felt when Rona was following him around. Thankfully, Rona wasn't old enough to drive a car when she was crushing on Bain or she would really have been a problem! Mostly, her stalking involved spontaneous confessions of love and peeking at him from behind bushes.
So, for a romantic comedy character, I focus on the quirky and crazy teen aspect of Amir's behaviour. But watch out for a future Benson Security book where the darker side of Amir inspires someone all together different than our harmless, awkward teenage Rona.
Have you had experience with a stalker? Tell me about it in the comments.