Richard Hollis is Ainsley Meadows’ fiancé in Jennifer Slattery‘s new novel, Beyond I Do. After my interview with Ainsley, Richard agreed to say a few words himself. Ordinarily I find different questions for different characters, but I thought it would be interesting to hear what each half of this couple thinks – kind of like a game show. You can read Ainsley’s answers here: Character Interview: Ainsley Meadows.
Janet: Welcome, Richard, and thanks for taking time to join us. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! Ainsley told us how you two met. Is there anything you remember differently or that you’d like to add?
Richard: Oh, yes, I remember that evening quite clearly. She was by far the most beautiful woman in the room. With her long, curly blonde hair, and her shy smile. She is quite… endearing. Almost childish.
Janet: How did you know Ainsley was “the one”?
Richard: She and I complete one another perfectly. Many call me driven, which is to be expected, considering my career. I’m a successful psychiatrist with my own practice, and I have a book releasing in the spring. My ambition isn’t a problem, exactly, except some interpret my drive as being… a bit obsessive, perhaps. I’ve been called a Pit Bull on more than one occasion. At first I thought it was a compliment. (chuckles) Ainsley, on the other hand… she’s so sweet, so caring, like a delicate lily. She softens my rough edges, and of course, I protect her from making poor decisions. She can be quite naïve, you know. I also provide her with the stability she needs. Did she tell you about her mother? Ainsley certainly has some… parental issues, issues that I believe greatly affect her behavior and her choices. But that is where I come in. I help bring clarity to her irrational thinking.
Janet: Do the planning details matter to you, or do you have the more common male approach of “whatever pleases the bride”?
Richard: Hm… Well, weddings are quite large social affairs, especially in my circles. In addition, I am my mother’s only child, so of course she wants to be involved. After all, this will be the first and last time she will ever see a child of hers walk down the aisle. And as I mentioned previously, Ainsley’s mother isn’t very involved or responsible, and certainly will be of no help to her in regard to the wedding. So naturally, my mother wants to step in to that gap, so to speak, in whatever ways she can.
Janet: What does your family think of Ainsley? Of you two getting married?
Richard: Oh, they are quite pleased, of course. My father hasn’t said as much, but he really is not one for… accolades. He’s old school in that way. But truly, Ainsley is a wonderful young woman. Of course they realize this. I’m certain they are quite pleased to welcome her into the Hollis family.
Janet: Could you tell us a bit about your background, and what you do for a living?
Richard: As I mentioned previously, I’m a psychiatrist, and I have my first book releasing this spring—the first of many, I hope. It’s titled The Schizophrenic Next Door, and it looks at neuropathology from a unique angle, including how it affects society as a whole. Of course, once the book releases, I’ll stay occupied with radio and television interviews and the like. You’re in the publishing industry, so I’m sure you understand.
Janet: You have a higher profile than I do, but yes, the promotion does take a lot of time. And I expect psychiatry keeps you very busy. Do you have time for hobbies and outside activities?
Richard: Not at this time, no. I stay active with our country club, of course, and make an appearance at numerous parties throughout the year. I also attend a fair number of mental health conferences, for educational and networking purposes. And of course, I spend a great deal of time with my princess.
Janet: How about some of your likes and dislikes?
Richard: I enjoy a great steak, fine wine, and a plan well-orchestrated. I also enjoy classical music. My favorite musician is David Fyodorovich Oistrakh. Have you heard of him? He was a Soviet violinist, and was incredibly talented, as was his wife, a pianist.
Janet: I just did a search on Mr. Oistrakh and have spent a delightful few minutes listening to a portion of one of his violin performances on YouTube. Thank you, Richard. Is faith a part of your life? Why or why not?
Richard: If by faith, you mean participation in religious rituals and events, of course. I don’t attend church as often as Ainsley does, nor do I spend nearly as much time volunteering. But I go when my schedule permits and am in full support of her religious endeavors. I do, however, have growing concerns regarding her pastor. That man appears to be bent on creating barriers between Ainsley and I. I am sure he is just jealous, or perhaps he fears losing one of his congregants. Either way, we’ll get through this. After all, what relationship doesn’t have its fair share of naysayers?
Janet: If you could do one thing to change the world, what would it be?
Richard: To change the world, you say? Now, my dear, surely you realize the absurdity of that question. (chuckles) For what can each of us do, really? We can positively impact those we come into contact with, we can work to educate the ignorant, and we can receive every gift, blessing, and opportunity with happiness.
Janet: What makes you happy? And what scares you?
Richard: Happiness in an interesting concept, don’t you think? I’ve heard the debates, of course, on the difference between joy and happiness. I’m not hugely interested in such discussions, except to say, happiness appears to be dependent on one’s circumstances, which makes it innately unpredictable. However, I find great contentment in personal growth and achievement. Yes, in setting and reaching a goal, especially if that goal was difficult to reach. In fact, the more obstacles one encounters in pursuit of their goal, the more satisfying that goal will be once achieved. Would you agree?
Janet: (smiling) Sometimes I find the obstacles are there to tell me I’m going in the wrong direction. But generally yes, the things I’ve worked longest and hardest for feel the sweetest when they’re done. What do you like to do to recharge?
Richard: I sleep. When I’m not sleeping, I’m working, learning, planning, thinking. There’s always something that can be done. Of course, I make sure to carve out time for my princess, so, in a way, I guess you could say she recharges me. Yes, that is true. I quite enjoy spending time with her. She is refreshing, indeed.
Janet: Tell us something you appreciate about where you live.
Richard: I’ve lived in Kansas City since I was a young boy. It has everything one could want—symphonies, the opera, fine restaurants. My condominium is near the Plaza, an upscale outdoor shopping area with numerous quality stores. I’m not much for shopping but when I need something new, it’s nice to be able to find what I need in one general area. I can normally find a nice piece of jewelry for Ainsley as well.
Janet: If you could say one thing to your author, Jennifer Slattery, what would it be?
Richard: I would encourage her to discuss her plot twists with me in depth, before putting them to paper. I must say, I was quite… surprised with numerous scenes, and I am not one who enjoys surprises. I would elaborate further, but I fear I would spoil your enjoyment of the story. But perhaps once you finish it, we could discuss these… episodes. I’d be interested in your opinion.
Janet: Hmm… I don’t particularly like surprises either. I trust things will work out well for you! Surely Jennifer has your best interests at heart. What do you think will be the biggest change when you’re married?
Richard: I believe I will need to be more diligent about developing my patience. As I mentioned, Ainsley has some emotional issues caused by her dysfunctional upbringing, and at times, she allows the pain she’s experienced in her past affect her decisions, and not always for the better. I want to help her move past those wounds and her insecurities. But I realize, regardless of how encouraging, supportive or patient I am, this won’t happen overnight. To the contrary. Deep healing takes time; sometimes a lifetime.
Janet: May you and Ainsley enjoy a lifetime together, Richard. It’s been great getting to know you, and all the best to you.
Jennifer Slattery writes Missional Romance for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available for preorder at a 26% off discount. Purchase link: Amazon.com
Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.
Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé.
To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.
Beyond I Do releases August, 2014 from New Hope Publishers.