Meet the Main Characters

The Affair of the Mind Series 

Ann Mathews

Born on November 13, 1986, in Rockford, Illinois, Ann Mathews was the daughter of Darleen and Max Mathews. Due to being born high and addicted to drugs, she was removed from her biological parents’ care by the court system at the age of one. Ann was then placed with her biological grandfather, Richard Mathews, and his wife, Judith. She spent most of her childhood in Rockford until Judith and Richard relocated to Lakeworth, Arizona, in May 1996.

Ann Mathews grew up in what she considered a middle-class home. Her family was not wealthy—in fact, they lived below the poverty line for most of her childhood—but Ann never saw them as poor. Despite her grandparents relying on food stamps and other welfare programs intermittently, she was oblivious to their financial struggles. They spoiled her and treated her like a princess, indulging her every whim as the only child left in the house. No one initially thought of Ann as stuck-up or conceited. She was the quintessential good girl: straight-A student, teacher’s pet, and unfamiliar with the inside of a detention hall. For most of her youth, Ann walked the straight and narrow path. That changed when she met Justin Lenox. Known as one of the sweetest girls around, Ann would have given you the sweater off her back on a day when the temperature was -20 if you asked. She was naive and full of life until Justin cast a shadow over her world, turning her bright skies dark and grey.

Ann Mathews’ primary flaw was her tendency to become easily obsessed with people she should avoid. There had been Case Traven and Samuel Thompson—two individuals she should have steered clear of from the beginning. However, this story isn’t about them. Compared to Justin Lenox, both Case and Samuel were saints.

Many believe Ann’s downward spiral began the day she discovered the meaning of the word “homosexuality.” Her fascination and obsession with all things related to the LGBTQ+ community led her straight into Justin’s arms. Ann didn’t care about his sexuality, his profession as a drug dealer, his criminal activities, or the fact that he only sought her friendship to get closer to Tom Lenal. None of that mattered to Ann. To her, it was love at first sight.

Should Affair of the Mind (AOTM) ever be turned into a movie – currently the role of Ann Mathews would go to Nina Dobrev.

Justin Lenox

Born on March 7, 1985, in Riverside, California, Justin Lenox was the son of Scott and Georgia Lenox. When Justin was a toddler, the Lenox family relocated to Lakeworth, Arizona. Raised in a family unfamiliar with financial hardship, Justin developed a rather arrogant and self-centered demeanor, believing the world revolved around him and his drama. His parents, once prominent members of the Lakeworth community, homeschooled him until the eighth grade. It was then that Justin stepped into the broader world of adolescence.

He confided in his best friend, James Black, about his sexuality shortly after entering what he deemed the “real world.” His first significant romance with Michael Hart, a man twice his age, drew him into a perilous and chaotic existence. With his parents absorbed in their family affairs, they remained oblivious to their son navigating treacherous paths. Along the way, he entangled his best friend, James Black, and an obsessed follower, Ann Mathews, along with half the town, in a web of drugs, sex, and murder that would slowly unravel the fabric of Lakeworth, Arizona.

Should Affair of the Mind (AOTM) ever be turned into a movie – currently the role of Justin Lenox would go to Ian Somerhalder.

James Black

Born on December 5th, 1984, James Black’s birthplace remains a mystery. Ask him, and he’ll claim he was born and raised in Lakeworth, Arizona. But with James, as with many things, one must always question the truth.

James Black is the quintessential ‘mystery man’ of this series. Best friends with Justin Lenox since the age of five, they shared countless adventures—from trips to Disneyland and games of Dungeons and Dragons to being each other’s first homosexual relationship. They were inseparable until they weren’t. James insists he’s heterosexual, but once again, with James, one must always wonder, ‘Is that really true?’

Throughout Justin’s tumultuous relationship with Michael Hart, James stood by his side. Surprisingly, there was a time when James was seen as the more innocent of the two. But it wasn’t Michael Hart who came between them. Ask either of them, and they’ll tell you the same thing: it was Ann Mathews who tore them apart.

James became deeply entangled in Lakeworth’s illegal drug trade, far more than Justin ever did—at least in the beginning. Perhaps, in the end, even more than Michael. It wasn’t the drugs that consumed James; it was the allure of power and money that transformed what was once a sweet, innocent boy.

James was born into a typical family, neither wealthy nor struggling.  He was raised alongside an older brother and a younger sister, with two parents whose love for each other remained strong through the years. His upbringing was the epitome of a picture-perfect family. James might have become a great husband and father one day, had he not crossed paths with Justin and Ann.

Should Affair of the Mind (AOTM) ever be turned into a movie – currently the role of James Black would go to Joseph Morgan.

Timothy Edwards 

Born on September 5th, 1978, in Warroad, Minnesota—a town with a population of fewer than 5,000—he grew up in a unique family. His mother was a U.S. citizen, and his father was Canadian. They spent most of his childhood in Ontario, Canada, before relocating to Grand Rapids, Minnesota, where he completed high school and remained until his early twenties. He then divided his time between California and Minnesota before finally settling in Lakeworth, Arizona, with his family in late 2002.

Timothy’s upbringing was far from affluent. Throughout his childhood, he recalled his parents living paycheck to paycheck. He never wore designer clothes and considered himself fortunate to receive a Nintendo system when his father won it in a radio contest.

In his senior year of high school, Timothy came out to his parents as gay. They viewed his homosexuality as a phase he would outgrow. This revelation strained his relationship with his father irreparably. If not for his mother’s support, Timothy would have faced homelessness upon turning 18.

Anyone who met Timothy would tell you he was “the favorite of the group.” As Amber Brooks once put it, “No matter what Timothy did, people couldn’t hate him. He was just so lovable.” Despite his charm, Timothy was far from innocent. He spent his eighteenth birthday getting out of juvie after serving a year for drug possession.

Since high school, Timothy had dabbled in various drugs on and off from cocaine to heroin (his drug of choice). Despite this, he was the one among Justin, James, Ann, and himself whom everyone seemed to like and never held accountable for the chaos that surrounded them. Timothy’s only rationale for this was, “I was the last one to join the party.”

Should Affair of the Mind (AOTM) ever be turned into a movie – currently the role of Timothy Edwards would go to Adam Lambert.

Tom Lenal 

Born on January 27th, 1986, in Lakeworth, Arizona, Tom Lenal doesn’t consider himself a native of the town. He only lived there for the first two years of his life before moving to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he spent the majority of his childhood. It wasn’t until the final months of elementary school that his parents’ divorce forced his mother to relocate back to Lakeworth. Initially living with his grandmother, they eventually moved in with Mitchell Morris, who would later become Tom’s abusive stepfather.

Tom Lenal was the guy who found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. He became the object of Justin Lenox’s affection, a friend to Ann Mathews, and inadvertently got entangled in one of the most significant schemes in Lakeworth’s history.

Tom Lenal hailed from a modest home, never surrounded by life’s luxuries. Raised by his mother, who lived paycheck to paycheck, Tom appreciated what he had and never asked for more than she could provide. Unlike many children of divorced parents, Tom didn’t feel caught in the middle; he was resilient, crediting his strength to his mother’s upbringing.

In his freshman year of high school, Tom bravely came out as gay to his mother and close friends. While his mother worried about small-town prejudice in Lakeworth, Tom found acceptance among most people. However, his mother, overprotective of her eldest, harbored a strong dislike for Justin Lenox and anything associated with him.

Tom was the one person Justin always referred to as “the one who got away.” He stood firm in his principles, refusing to date Justin or anyone connected to him. Tom had a moral compass, ethics, and a steadfast foundation that guided his choices.

From the moment he laid eyes on Ann Mathews, Tom felt an immediate fondness for her, though not romantically. He admired her outgoing nature, her wild spirit, and how she appreciated his sense of humor. Tom had that magnetic quality that made people believe he would someday achieve fame for something significant. As the star of Lakeworth High School’s drama productions, he held onto the dream that his name would one day grace the bright lights.

Tom always maintained that he never intended to harm Ann in the end. His motive was to protect her, unaware that rescuing Ann from Justin Lenox also meant saving her from herself.

Should Affair of the Mind (AOTM) ever be turned into a movie – currently the role of Tom Lenal would go to Shia Labeouf.

Josh Randolph 

Josh was born in November of 1979 in Kansas City, Missouri, but his upbringing was far from ideal. He grew up in what could be described as a “broken home” after his drug-addicted mother abandoned him at just one year old, leaving him in the care of her ex-boyfriend. Josh considers this man, Frederick Reece, as his father figure, though Frederick had his flaws. He battled alcoholism, which sometimes led to abusive behavior towards Josh and his younger sister.

At sixteen, Josh made the decision to leave Frederick’s home and was legally emancipated by the state of Missouri. Despite his challenging upbringing, during his late teens and early twenties, Josh managed to complete high school, secure a job, and start building a life for himself. However, he struggled with a cocaine addiction during this time. Unlike many, Josh never became physically dependent on the drug; rather, he was drawn to the intense high it provided.

At twenty-three, Josh relocated to Lakeworth, Arizona, on a quest to find his biological father. What he discovered was his father, inebriated and incarcerated for domestic violence, which led Josh to abandon his pursuit. Despite this setback, Josh opted to remain in the quiet town of Lakeworth, seeking to establish a new life far removed from the turmoil of Frederick and Missouri. A fresh start was exactly what Josh craved and believed he desperately needed.

Despite warnings from his close friend and co-worker, Ally, to steer clear of Justin Lenox, Josh chose to disregard them like so many others. He pursued a relationship with Justin anyway, though he never allowed himself to become too emotionally invested. After their breakup, Josh dated several other men in Lakeworth, but it was Danny Henderson who captured his heart. Unbeknownst to Josh, Danny harbored a secret from his past that only Justin knew about.

In hindsight, Josh likely regrets ever setting foot in Lakeworth, Arizona. The challenges he faced in Kansas City now pale in comparison to the troubles he encountered with Justin and his circle of friends.

Should Affair of the Mind (AOTM) ever be turned into a movie – currently the role of Josh Randolph would go to Neil Patrick Harris.

Amber Brooks 

Born on May 20th, 1987, in Lakeworth, Arizona, Amber is a true native of the small town where she spent her entire childhood. Raised in a middle-class household, she never exhibited any sense of arrogance or pretentiousness. Amber grew up in a single-parent home with her mother, Lisa Brooks, and her sister, Hilda. Her parents separated when she was just seven years old, with her father leaving Lakeworth to start a new life in Sedona, three hours away.

Amber and Ann forged a strong friendship in sixth grade. When asked what drew her to Ann, Amber admits, “I have no idea.” Their bond deepened when Ann got caught putting cat food in her chicken patty sandwich one day at Lake Worth Junior High. After that incident, they became inseparable, spending weekends and after-school hours together. They had sleepovers where Amber would walk home the next morning in her sleeping bag. Their friendship was unbreakable.

Amber consistently cautioned Ann about Justin long before she became what Amber refers to as ‘his partner in crime.’ Amber was privy to everything—the secrets, the gossip, and the truths that Ann and Justin concealed until a decade later. Throughout it all—juvenile detention, abuse, and the countless fabrications Amber knew Ann devised to protect him—Amber remained a steadfast support.

In the eyes of others, Amber wasn’t implicated in any wrongdoing. She was seen as innocent throughout the ordeal. Her only ‘crime,’ as some would say, was her silence—not uttering a single word.

Should Affair of the Mind (AOTM) ever be turned into a movie – currently the role of Amber Brooks would go to Ashley Tisdale.