Saturday, June 24, 2017

Where Do Your Characters Come From?

This month we have a very basic topic --how do you go about developing your characters for a story? How much time do you spend or does it just happen in the writing process? What inspires it?

Oh, characters – my favorite subject! Of all the components that go into creating a story, of whatever length, it’s the characters that get my juices flowing. I’ve always been lucky in that my characters simply present themselves to me. I can see them, I know their names, and then I go from there.

Even though I have this very visual start I still complete my basic character outline. I start with looking for images that are as like my characters as possible. Even though I mostly write historical I will comb through glossy magazines, stock photo sites like and for these images. If the face is right I can imagine the costume they would be wearing. As an example, Lord Lucius Clifton, Earl of Avondale, looked remarkably like French actor Vincent Cassel whose movie list is extensive but might be more 

recognizable for his roles in Ocean’s Twelve, Ocean’s Thirteen and Black Swan. He was also, for a time, the face of an Yves Saint Laurent's men's fragrance.

I know their family backgrounds, their relationships, their strengths and weaknesses, their likes and dislikes, hopes and fears. I know where they went to school (unless they were tutored at home), I know who were their childhood friends and what influences they had when they were growing up. I do not do this for my whole cast of characters, only the major characters which makes life much easier for me by the time I start writing.

Lord Randolph and Lady Serena Buxton, the characters in my Cold Gold novella set in California, would not let go so I continued to write about them. Plus, I had queries from readers as to what happened to them when they returned to England and did they ever have children? Sorry, if you want the answers to those questions you’ll have to read the books. That first story was set in 1907, the subsequent tale, On Borrowed Time, was set in 1913 and the final part of what turned into a trilogy was Shell Shocked set in 1918. Those novellas appeared in one volume as The Buxton Chronicles.

Such is the way my mind works, when I started writing my first Regency, His Dark Enchantress, I wondered if there was a way I could link Serena back to the Cliftons: Lucius, Earl of Avondale and his younger sister, Juliana. Juliana was so intrusive while I was writing Enchantress that I promised her a book of her own which I did with His Ocean Vixen. I linked Serena’s family tree back through a whole set of characters and marriages that I may, or may not, one day choose to bring to life on the page.

These characters are like my best friends. Once they are in my life I’m reluctant to let them go. Although I have used the same characters in several of my books, each is written as a stand-alone. My current work-in-progress is another Regency, the third in my Berkeley Square series and this has been so easy to start because I have all the information I need on these characters, Lady Olivia Darnley and Lord Peter Skeffington who first appeared in His Dark Enchantress.

Do they surprise me sometimes? Always. Just as in life, something always crops up that throws them a curveball and presents a fear for them to overcome. As I write, I’m always looking for the opportunity to up the ante for them. Sometimes I just plain don’t like the characters I create but always try to give them some kind of credibility by including snippets of their backstory to at least explain why they are the villain or villainess of the piece.

Check with these authors to see what they have to say on the subject of their characters.

Skye Taylor
Margaret Fieland
A.J. Maguire
Marci Baun
Judith Copek 
Rachael Kosinski
Diane Bator
Dr. Bob Rich
Fiona McGier
Beverley Bateman
Anne Stenhouse 
Marie Laval
Rhobin Courtright

Friday, June 16, 2017

Books by Katie O'Connor.

To A Tea (A Thurston Hotel Novel Book 11):
They’re battling a love that won't be extinguished.

Chastity Howell has always loved Logan Wright. But at age seventeen, she made a mistake that almost destroyed both of their lives. Angry and disappointed, Logan ended their relationship. Unable to cope with the consequences, Chastity started drinking. Now, her heart won’t accept that their young love has perished in the aftermath of the disaster.

A man of convictions, firefighter Logan Wright desires a good woman to start a family with. Once upon a time, a long time ago, he thought Chastity Howell was that woman. But with her troubled past, she doesn’t fit his image of the perfect wife.

Watching her interact with Harmony’s less fortunate, he wonders if maybe he’s mistaken. But with pain and hurt between them, can they forgive the past to build a new future together?

BUY HERE currently available only from Amazon

The Gift:

Two women. Two men. Are their hearts big enough to share?

Sammy Jarvis is harboring a secret fantasy and desperately wants to make it a reality. After years of mental struggle, she finds the courage to ask her adoring husband for a special Christmas gift, one that will make her dreams come true. She wants Nick to help her find a woman to make love with.

What’s a man to do? Stymied, Nick turns to his old college lover Carl. While brainstorming the problem, Nick and Carl take a trip down memory lane to the time when they were lovers. With their rekindled desires satisfied for the moment, they devise a plan for Sammy to meet Carl’s girlfriend Gina.

When Sammy and Gina meet, clothing begins to fly. Being with Gina is everything that Sammy had imagined, but now she wants more. She’s set her cap on Carl as well. Sammy’s heart is big enough to encompass them all, but is there room in her marriage to Nick to accommodate her new-found love for Gina and Carl, or will this tangled lover’s heap destroy them all?

BUY HERE Barnes & Noble

Running Home (A Heart’s Haven Novel):

Can love empower and free a scared, abused woman?

Natalie Walker’s life is in tatters. An abused wife and devoted mother, she runs from her rich husband, intending to start a new life in hiding. When her car breaks down outside of a small town, she must accept the help of the local garage owner. Unable to access her money, she works for Clint Dawson to pay off her debt for car repairs and to feed her son. Despite her best efforts, she finds herself succumbing to Clint’s kindness.

Already falling for her, Clint is more than willing to help provide protection for Natalie and her son, especially after her abusive husband turns up dead. There is no doubt that in his mind that Natalie did not kill her husband and is not hiding anything. However, Clint has a past and a secret of his own.

Will the revelation of Clint’s deceit destroy the fragile trust he has built with Natalie? Or will their love be strong enough to survive?

BUY HERE Itunes - not available in the Canadian Itunes store
BUY HERE Barnes & Noble

Check out Katie's site for more information about her and her books. Happy reading and please remember to make this author's heart sing by leaving a review.