Introducing ‘The Characters Within’ by Sunshine Rodgers: Unveiling Chapter One!

Are you ready to explore the captivating characters and story of Sunshine Rodgers’ young adult novel, The Characters Within? Then this blog post is for YOU!

Synopsis of The Characters Within

“The Characters Within” is a book-within-a-book: part-Musical and part-love story!

Brittany Myers is stuck. She has been working at Cheddar and Such, the thriving theme park in Central Florida for years, and she is sick of the guests, the heat, and the Fun at the Parm Attraction, featuring the animatronics Patty and Pretzel and Peter the Breadstick.

Her only relief from the monotony is writing pages of her book “The Carnival Ride” where she elaborates with theatrical scenes about her co-workers, her fears, and the struggles she faces day in and day out.

With the help of her work family, her best friend, and the man of her dreams, she might just discover that the magic she is looking for was right inside of her the entire time!

book cover the characters within by sunshine rodgers

Book Details

Name of the book: The Characters Within

Name of the author: Sunshine Rodgers

Genre(s): Inspirational Fiction, Young Adult

Target audience age range: 18+

Does the book contain any explicit content: No

Format, ISBN and date published: eBook, B0BXG1B1YT, December 28, 2021

Format, ISBN and date published: Audio Book, 9781664929265, October 9, 2020

Format, ISBN and date published: Paperback, 9781648301698, August 2020

Name of publisher: RWG Publishing

Book link on Amazon:



I waved wildly at the sound interrupting my sleep.

The red, fuzzy alarm clock rang chaotically in my ear, an irritating buzz that evolved into a haunting cackle that reminded me that my 11-hour workday was about to start.

I rolled around in my comfortable bed, not wanting to start my shift at Cheddar and Such theme park, a popular amusement park in Florida.

I closed my eyes and remembered the first day of Orientation.

Was it really ten years ago when I signed up to make “Cheese look Fun”?
“Hello, new Cheese Crusaders, and welcome to Cheddar and Such theme park, where your days are always delicious!” said chipper Paulomi Dholakia, a Curd-Boss at the park.

Paulomi’s long dark hair flowed down over her navy blue outfit.

She stood in front of a large projector showing impressive facts and images about the company.

“You are going to love working here!” Paulomi continued. “I have been here for two years now, and I started right where you are sitting!

Cheddar and Such has so many opportunities for advancement! You can jump into training or management positions pretty quickly! I would know! I became a Curd-Boss in no time!” She snapped her fingers and laughed at herself as if she just made the funniest joke in the world.

I looked around at the small group of bright-eyed and innocent recruits at Cheddar and Such all bunched together in this small classroom in the backstage area of the park. Each of us had a packet of information in front of us.

I felt so excited to be sitting in this room, going over the introductory pages of the “Most Delicious” park in Florida. We were asked to go around the room and share our names with the

After I introduced myself, the girl sitting to my right continued by sharing her name.

“Hi! I’m Maddie Stiles, and I love this theme park! I remember taking vacations here with my family when I was young and making such delicious memories!” This young brunette rambled on about how it was always her dream to work here.

“Hey, what’s up! My name is Christopher Bungert, and I am excited to work my way up to be a Curd-Boss at this company!” the eager man with light curly hair explained.

“Hey, guys! I’m Roberto Diaz! And similar to Maddie…I loved coming here as a kid and riding the Blue Cheese Falls! Such a great ride!” said a young man who sounded way too enthusiastic and who was writing notes furiously during the presentation.

And finally, one other girl spoke out. “Hey guys! I’m Brittany Restrepo, and I am anxious to get to know all of you, and I am happy to be working at this theme park in the sunny state of Florida!”

Paulomi then passed the remote for the projector screen to Angelina Sanchez, a young woman wearing a similar navy blue outfit as the first facilitator.

Angelina and Paulomi high-fived each other and started giggling as if they share an inside joke.

Angelina clicked the remote, and the next slide showed a collage of pictures: children dancing in front of the Queso Fresco band, a couple posing next to the Asiago performers, and a little girl in pigtails enjoying a cheese sample of the day.

“You are going to love working here as a Cheese Crusader,” Angelina continued, explaining that each role is unique, and we would be working at different areas of the park, assigned to a themed uniform.

“If you could please turn to page 13 in your packet, I will highlight the benefits of working at Cheddar and Such!”

I smiled as I stared down at the pages of my packet filled with pictures of vacationers making “delicious” memories. Cheese Crusaders in various outfits were holding balloons. Men and women dressed in a sky blue uniform with an attached flower broach pass out cheese samples at the front entrance of the park.

There was even a page that listed all the locations that offered training and management positions within the company.

I was beyond ecstatic about my future at Cheddar and Such!

Maybe now I won’t be a loser who quit college.

I will advance in a thriving theme park!

That will show them!

That will show me ….

…that I still have a future!

“Okay, new recruits!” Josh Brown announced, a man who had been sitting patiently in the corner of the room as if awaiting his turn to speak. “Come and collect your Cheese Crusader name tag and park placement letter. Let us know if you have any questions about your assignment at Cheddar and Such! We officially welcome you to the team!” Josh was dressed in an all-brown uniform with Swiss cheese images stamped up and down his shirt.

I collected my name tag like it was a treasure. The small piece of plastic was bright yellow and shiny, my name glistening on the front: Brittany Myers.

I initialed after my name on the clipboard that Josh was holding to secure my place in the company after receiving my official badge of honor.

I cuffed the name tag in my hands like precious gold was just given to me.
“Wow!” I thought. “I am going to love working here!”

I pinned my name tag on my button-down green pastel shirt and quickly read my park placement letter:

Welcome, Brittany Myers!

Cheddar and Such theme park originated in Wisconsin but franchised in the
sunny state of Florida, bringing in even more guest flow and traffic than the nearby entertainment venues and tourist attractions already in the Central Florida area.

Cheddar and Such theme park creates a “delicious” way to have fun. Such attractions inside the park include: Gouda Land, Swiss Ride, and the ever-popular, Blue Cheese Dip!

Brittany Myers, you are assigned to the Fun at the Parm Attraction.

This show is about Peter the Breadstick, Patty the Pretzel, and Ben the BrocStalk, who fall in love with their new life now covered in a cheesy sauce. The content of the show reminds the guests about the importance of cheese as an essential part of their daily nutrition.

I’m going to wear this amazing costume!

And this milk jug disguised as a water cooler.

How fun!!

I love my life!

Fast forward to a decade later as I finally roll out of bed.

“I hate my life…” I begin to whine as that memory of the first day of Orientation fades.

The once beautiful golden name tag is now stained and dirty from years of wear and tear, leaning sideways on my dresser, tossed carelessly from the night before.

The corresponding milk jug/water bottle became too embarrassing to wear and now collects dust in my closet.

My inner monologue gives me plenty of reasons to call out today:
I have a stomach cramp.
It’s that time of the month.
I need a mental break day.
I want to binge-watch the new hit TV show: Magic Tree

I sigh and frantically searched for my notebook, which is currently mangled between the sheets of my bed.

I keep this notebook with me at all times, its pages containing a plethora of scribbles, words crossed out, character names, and storyline ideas.

And one book I have been working on for years called “The Carnival Ride” about Sasha, a female handyman at a carnival who longs to be a Performer.

I’m happy with what I have so far.

I feel so hopeful about a possible author career that I spend my free time mailing and submitting my story to publishers, agents, and small literary houses.

I have spent days, months, and years daydreaming, organizing, and creating characters and scenes for my book, “The Carnival Ride.”

I’m using the names and personas of my co-workers at Cheddar and Such to be the characters for my story…

They just don’t know it yet.

My everyday drama working at Cheddar and Such theme park provides plenty of material for a book.

Or so I hope….

I am praying that one day…these little opportunist storylines will lead me to my dream job as a writer.

Maybe…just maybe…I can become a Best Selling Author like my literary icon, Heather Pierce, who wrote my favorite book series, Star Haven. Her stories have everything I love! Romance. Fantasy. Quirky characters. Happy Endings!

On my bedside table is a zebra-colored framed photo of Heather and me when I was 13-years-old, attending one of her book signings in Jacksonville, FL. My mouth was wide open in excitement as she signed the first edition paperback copy of “Star Haven Returns: Claire De Room” for me.

I decided then that I wanted to be just like Heather Pierce when I grow up!

The teenage version of me pops her head out of the zebra print picture frame with her blonde hair tied in pigtails and her green braces looking cute and youthful, asking in a rather annoying way, “What went wrong? Why didn’t you become what you wanted to be?”

And my present-day slob with tussled dirty blonde hair and lazy eyes would respond back, “because life is unfair.”

The truth is, I’m a 30-something college drop-out who took a job at a theme park to make ends meet.

And that’s the beginning and end of my story.
I drag my exhausted body towards the small bathroom mirror to disapprove of how disheveled I look, noticing a giant zit now occupies space on my forehead.
My back slumps in a tight posture as if maintaining years of stressed-induced weight.
What would Martin think about my organically horrendous look?
I swoon at the thought of Martin Masson….
Martin is the man of my dreams!
He’s the reason why I try to look cute at work!
And the reason why I try to be a good Cheese Crusader on the clock!
Or rather…I act like I care about work whenever Martin is around!
I attempt to untangle a knot from my mangled hair with my flimsy dollar store brush.
What would the Fabulous Four say if they saw me?
I’m sure they’d take one look at my nonsensical demeanor and just laugh, knowing I can never beat their style and popularity!
There are many cliques at the Fun at the Parm attraction.
I often wonder where I belong.
“I’m sorry, ” I whisper to absolutely no one by my strained psyche. “I failed.”
I glance over at the ridiculous costume I am forced to wear to work, now hung up by the bathroom door. The bright clown-like uniform almost mocks me with a chuckle…
This is your life now.
Forever and ever!
I am about to seep into a coma of deep depression when I start to smell something…
Let me guess…
My mouth starts to salivate, and I quickly put down my hairbrush, giving up on any real chance at the beauty this morning.
My neighbor and best friend Travis stops by for breakfast most days before he heads out to work.
I gave him a key to my place years ago.
I hear activity going on as I linger out of my bedroom, wearing my popcorn themed pajamas and stroll casually into the kitchen where sure enough Travis is flipping over another pancake on a pan, utilizing my electric stove as he’s done so many times in the past.
A neatly stacked pile of the delicious flapjacks is on his left, placed delicately on my plastic orange plate.
“Almost done!” Travis yells without even turning around, using some weird ESP ability to know that I have suddenly arrived into the room.
Travis is a man in his mid-30’s sporting light blonde hair and wearing a dark suit and tie, a normal look for him as he clocks in at his office at 9:00am sharp dealing with insurance and sales policies.
Travis hands me the plate of steaming hot pancakes, and I noticed placemats are already neatly arranged on the kitchen table along with cups of orange juice, napkins, and cutlery.
“How fair is it that you get to look so spiffy and I have to wear a giant cheese cap for work?” I grumble, finally sitting down.
Travis takes a seat across from me, now pouring syrup over his meal.
“Probably because I don’t have to make cheese look fun!” Travis dives into his breakfast plate. “Oh, what’s the cheese sample today?”
“Um…Mascarpone,” I respond.
Travis looks away in disdain. “Pass.”
“Guess what comes out in theaters next month?” I clap my hands excitedly. “The new Star Haven movie!”
He smiles, gently rolling his eyes at my enthusiasm over corny romance movies, and takes a sip of his orange juice.
Star Haven is a movie based on my favorite book series about finding true love and believing in Magic. And stars my all-time favorite actor, the oh-so-handsome Brad Cunningham.
I know Travis doesn’t necessarily care for movies about romance and drama, but he’ll end up going with me, usually to talk about how unoriginal the storyline was or how predictable the love triangle is.
But I can count on Travis, no matter what.
Ever since I moved to Central Florida… 10 years ago.
My friendly next-door neighbor introduced himself as he was watering his front lawn and offered to help me unpack into my studio apartment, informing me about the area and how bad the I-4 traffic is and warning me about Florida’s hurricane seasons.
I was grateful for his help and a couple of nights later, he took me to dinner at a local taco joint.
And we’ve been best friends ever since.
Travis’ phone alarm beeps loudly.
“Oh! I have to go!” Travis jumps up and places his now empty plate in the sink. “I was thinking for Wednesday…I can get doughnuts from the place we like near that beauty salon.”
I nod my head in agreement.
“Say good-bye to BIRD-KIN before you leave!” I shout as Travis starts laughing and gives a farewell wave to the plastic gourd on the counter.
BIRD-KIN, as we properly named him, is a grotesque looking, disproportional plastic pumpkin that contains bird-like features. The mouth is hanging low, and there are “wings” that come out of the pumpkins’ sides, and the entire plastic thing is blue.
Travis saw it years ago when we went to the carnival together, and he got it for free, probably because no one else wanted it.

“You know, I feel like no one would understand our inside jokes. We have too many!” I added.

“Yeah.” Travis rubbed his eyes and starts to calm down. “Good times! So…written any more pages?”

I nodded and took out the notebook from my backpack.

Travis is the only one who is allowed to read my manuscript.

“Hey, I’ll be right back. I need to get changed.” I went into my bedroom and closed the door to take off the ridiculous uniform and change into my comfortable sweatpants and blue tee.

I heard Travis laughing from the other room as he read my pages.

I moseyed back into the living room and tied my light knotty curls into a loose bun.

“This is good stuff! I love it!” He hands me back the notebook. “So…who does Sasha end up with at the end?”

“Of course…Martin the Great!” I announced as I get a soda from the fridge.

“Oh?” Travis reacts. “Don’t you think that’s a little too… obvious? The shy girl ends up with the man of her dreams! That story has been told before…”

“That’s the beauty of it! Readers love a happy ending!” I placed my drink on the coffee table and found a seat on the couch.

“Have you heard back from any publishers yet?” Travis inquired.

A sparkle of adoration lit up Travis’ eyes, and he gently places his hand on my knee as a slight assurance that he wouldn’t miss spending time with me…even if it means seeing a movie with a predictable plot and a simplistic love story.


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If you enjoyed reading this chapter and want to read the rest of The Characters Within’, please support the author Sunshine Rodgers by purchasing a copy of the book via your favourite book retailer. You can also buy the book on


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