Name: Lilly Opadopolous
Birthplace: San Diego, Calif.
Number of residences after graduating high school: 17
Aspirations: To become a successful painter
Famous Parent: Lilly’s father, Marcus Opadopolous, was the 26th top ranked tennis player in the world in 1991. But at age 31 he retired from professional tennis because of a knee injury he sustained at home while horsing around with Lilly. Her parents divorced not long after.
The Character: Lilly actually went through a personality change during the writing process. In my initial version, I had Lilly being more confident, not just sexually, but in general. She was also more spiritual, in search of a deeper inner peace, using her sexuality to help explore those inner reaches. But it just didn’t fly. I felt like I was way off base with her, creating an almost unreal personality type.
When I started over she kinda fell right into place, in my eyes a complete contradiction of sorts. On the one hand she’s a very passionate young woman who embraces the little moments while searching for the big ones, and who has an almost uncontrollable urge to encourage others; she sees herself as a social cheerleader, although someone important to the story accuses her of being sexually manipulative, which Lilly denies vehemently.
On the other hand, Lilly is a bit of a sad flower, who often lives in fear, which is likely why she’s a bit illusive; it helps her–in the short run–avoid confrontation. Like a few other characters in Finders Keepers, Lilly has a tendency to duck out on the tough responsibilities, and crumbles under pressure–until she’s pushed just so far. She needs a little comeuppance to set her straight.
Lilly is on the run from her past because, in her mind, she did something unforgivable. So she travels around from place to place, never settling in for too long; whenever she starts to get comfortable, her deep-seeded guilt catches up with her. And when that happens, she picks up, leaving everyone she knows behind without so much as a goodbye. She just leaves. Which only adds to her guilt.
For reasons you’ll have to read about, Lilly gets blackmailed into going to Europe on a very important errand, but I won’t tell you here what that is. But once Lilly arrives in Rome, she meets one of our heroes, and the sparks fly. Immediately. This leads to all sorts of trouble in several different ways that does not get resolved easily.
Also, Lilly is painter–and a good one at that. Only because of her guilt and fears, suppressing her innermost feelings, Lilly has kinda put her art on the back burner, which further confuses and demoralizes her. It’s through her travels, however, that she comes face to face with these inner demons, and the choices she is forced to make plays a big part in who she will ultimately turn out to be.
One of my goals with Lilly was to examine the ideas that, ultimately, we can never escape ourselves–as the old saying goes, no matter where you go, there you are. That was never more so than with Lilly. In my mind, Lilly isn’t a bad person at all, even though she makes some less than impressive decisions. She’s struggling–in a very messy way–and I wanted her to have opportunity after opportunity to set things right. To varying degrees I think we all struggle with guilt, shame and forgiveness, and I used poor Lilly to explore those ideas. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether she ultimately does right.
The Illustration: The first version of Lilly, in all fairness, did not go quite as planned. Mike did just what I asked for, but it turns out that I did not give him accurate instructions, so while what he delivered was quite good unto itself, it wasn’t … Lilly. Lilly has a certain look, and what I asked for wasn’t it. So we started over.
Lilly is a bit of a Tomboy–athletic and a little stocky–and since she does a bit of traveling herself in Finders Keepers, I wanted to present her with a more casual, sportier look. She’s also got the curves and has a softer look that has many men–including one our heroes–wanting more. But the question is, do they ever get it? You’ll have to read Finders Keepers to find out.