Call Me Emily – Character Introduction #1: Ethan

My brother, Tom

After spending a week in Tahoe with my eldest brother Tom, I’ve decided to re-post the first character introduction I wrote last year about Ethan, Emily’s brother. Tom’s reading Call Me Emily right now and had many comments about Ethan and Emily’s interactions. Those I’ll keep to myself, but his comments did inspire me to re-post the Ethan character introduction. Oh. I added a new scene from Call Me Emily at the end.

Week one of my introduction of characters starts with Ethan. Emily is one of three children. She has two brothers, Hunter who is twelve and Ethan, twenty. While Hunter makes brief appearances in all four books, Ethan is an integral part of her journey.

Emily and Ethan attend the same University, which isn’t without its challenges. While she cringes at the thought of bumping into him at a party, she’s often comforted by his loving gestures and protective nature. Ethan is warm, caring and above all present for her in a world full of new, harsh realities. But, those qualities are all melded together and wrapped up with chiding and teasing as well as typical sibling rivalry.

Now, I have drawn on pieces of my personal experience to concoct certain characters, but not all of them. Emily herself is a complete piece of fiction, formed strictly from my imagination. Other characters I give a small, fractional nod of truth. Ethan is the latter.

For those of you who know me, you know that I am surrounded by men. I live in a house with my husband and son, as well as my dog William. I have three brothers, and just as God started to feel sorry for me, he gifted me with a sister and another little brother. So while I don’t discount the girl power between my sister Bree and I, my eldest brothers are the ones that helped guide me into the woman I am today. Ethan is a blend of Tom, Josh and Robby. In Ethan, there exists Tom’s way of turning every compliment, sentiment and practical observation into an opportunity to tease Emily and keep her safely tucked under his older, wiser arm. Together with the influence of Tom, is Josh’s ability to turn any situation into a possible rescue attempt. While Emily may be perfectly able to take care of herself, Ethan isn’t about to risk it. Package that all up with Robby’s ability to live in a world created just for him. Where common practices of caring what other people think about him, simple escape him.

So I raise a glass, as well as an eyebrow, to my brothers who helped bring to life Ethan Parker.

Below is one of many scenes with Ethan in Call Me Emily.


“You’re an Econ major?” I asked Allison, fairly confident of the answer.

“Yeah, how did you know?”

I pointed at her book bag.

“Oh,” she said, blushing slightly. Although I never liked to see anyone embarrassed, I found the way her cheeks grew pink endearing.

“My brother is an Econ major, too. He’s a junior.”

“So what about you? What’s your major?” she asked.

“Design. Interior Design, actually. They have a great program here. It’s taught by architects and designers working in the community. There are only about four full time instructors.” I may have over-explained but it was interesting to me.

“And your brother goes here too?”

“Yeah. Funny I know. It just worked out that way. At first I don’t think he was thrilled about me choosing his school.  Actually, I think he accused me of following him, but it’s a big school.”  Just then I felt my knees buckle.

“What the…?” I whirled around. Ethan had pressed the front of his knees into the back of mine, causing me to lose my balance. He did it all the time, and it always annoyed me. But he continued to think it was funny.

“Hey Em. Getting your books I take it,” he said unnecessarily.

“You scared me!” I shot him a look he knew well. I took a breath and slowly turned back to Allison keeping my eyes on my brother for as long as the turn would allow. “This is my brother Ethan.”

She gave Ethan a gleaming smile as he tilted his head confidently and extended his hand to shake hers. Oh boy, I thought. No hitting on my new friend.

“Nice to meet you Allison. You getting settled…?”

“Yes we are, Ethan.” I interrupted regretting my rudeness immediately. Especially when I looked over and noticed Allison opening her mouth to answer.  Flirting with my friends had been a problem in the past. And, frankly, Allison had only been my friend for about twenty minutes and I wasn’t about to let Ethan get in the way.

“Well, I guess I’ll catch you later, Sis.” He looked back and forth between Allison and me.  His shoulders slumped a little and I could see my abruptness hurt his feelings. I’d have to apologize for that later.

“See ya later,” I said as he looked sideways at me.

“It was nice meeting you,” Allison called after him.

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