What was interesting is that the character (young American girl who worked the raft on the Colorado River, and who was the innocent embodiment of a canyon flower, turned out to be a secondary character instead of the main character. Skylar is the cook on the rafting trip. In my mind's eye, Skylar, The Canyon Flower looks something like this:
Jango Norris is the boatsman and guide on the trip. This good looking dude is the type I had in mind when I wrote this character who is the love interest of Skylar, and keeps the river raft going downriver:
But after restructuring the novel, Ishida Ikiro, the protegee of the geisha, Kimi, has taken over the book and become its protagonist. Ishi is a sweet Japanese girl who has endured a painful childhood and is sent away to Japan to become an apprentice to her cousin in the geisha district of Kyoto.
Ishi's cousin, a beautiful geisha celebrity, Kimi-san, is a secondary character, but the story and the action and the other characters actually pivot around her.
Michael is the patron of Kimi. He is a rich investment banker who works in Los Angeles, but commutes to Kyoto regularly to be with the woman he loves. (the woman he does not love is his wife.)
Buyo is Michael's associate, but a very different type of man. He sees and understands Ishi, something no one else can do.