First where do characters come from? It’s one of those questions that writers are often asked. My own characters arrive from various places: some stroll onto the page fully-formed complete with name*, description and dialogue; others start out as bit parts or walk-ons and then suddenly demand a life of their own and a much bigger slice of the wordage; and a few take a bit of investigating before they start to form in my head.
Genny Taylor – the main character in my books – was one who took a bit of
But there are other ways to find characters for your books! [cue dramatic organ music]
One thing I’d never thought I’d do was base characters on anyone I know [winces at possible litigation and rotten tomatoes], or anyone famous, except then
Fiona: [best writing buddy] You know I really don’t like vampires, I just can’t see what the attraction is [shudders]
Suzanne: [wondering where this conversation is going and how anyone cannot love vampires] Uh-huh.
Fiona: Although there are exceptions I s’pose, I mean Pierce Brosnan*** would make a great vamp, don’t you think?
Suzanne: [cool, hot-looking in that sophisticated older guy way and with that Bond charisma thing going on] Sure.
Fiona: Good! I’m glad that’s settled, you can make him a vampire in your book and then I can be his girlfriend.
Suzanne: [reels in shock] but you just said you don’t like vampires.
Fiona: I do if they’re Pierce Brosnan and I get to be his girlfriend.
Suzanne: You really want to be a character in my book who dates a vampire?
Fiona: [Looks determined] Of course, but only if it’s PB.
Suzanne: Oh! [Sees the end of a beautiful friendship happening.] What if you don’t like you in the book?
Fiona: He’s PB! What’s not to like. [hands over a brochure] Now here’s the dress I have to wear, it’s a Chanel.
Oh and these are the shoes [flips page briskly] they’re Christian Louboutin.
And PB should have that casual look going on; you know where he’s on the beach in that film – The Thomas Crown Affair – dark tousled hair, linen shirt, jeans … [stares dreamily into distance]
Suzanne: [starts mulling over the possibilities, rubs hands] Okay, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Some time later . . .
Spouse reading book: [wry tone] I see Fiona got herself in the book then.
Writing group: [collectively hold hands up and gasp in horror] Fiona does what!!??!!
Fiona: Brilliant - all my chums at work are waiting for your book now - they have heard that I'm in it and get practically strangled by a ruby necklace. Makes you realize who your friends are *G*
And here’s where Genny first meets Fiona in The Sweet Scent of Blood . . .
‘Not at all, Ms Taylor. I can assure you that all of our customers are very satisfied.’
I swivelled towards the woman’s voice and saw luminous grey eyes, short white-blonde hair and salon-perfect makeup.
‘I am Fiona, the proprietor of Tir na n’Og.’ Her dress was spectacular, form-fitting black silk with what looked like very expensive ruby and diamond catches holding it together. There were more rubies sewn onto her elbow-length evening gloves.
...I followed Fiona up the stairs, or rather, followed her shoes: red suede courts with four-inch heels, studded with more rubies. The ruby extravaganza made my spine crawl. Fiona had hit my radar as human, so why was she blinged up like a witch or a goblin queen?
More recent conversation . . .
Fiona: [discussing The Cold Kiss of Death] umm . . . Fiona doesn’t get much of a mention does she? [steely look] I hope you’re going to give her more page time in book 3?
Suzanne: [looks shifty] umm . . . I’m not sure what’s happening with Fiona in book 3—
Fiona: [points an accusing finger] you’re not going to kill her off are you? You can’t! I won’t let you!
Suzanne: [mentally resurrects Fiona] ooh, alright then . . . maybe I’ll kill PB instead [evil grin].
The Worlds largest and most exquisitely faceted ruby, A 23.1 carat gem, is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution's National Gem and Mineral collection in Washington, D.C.
The dazzling diamond and ruby ring was a gift from Peter Buck, founder of the Subway Sandwich chain in honor of his late wife.
*Trivia! Walk on characters’ names are something I have an issue with; in the first draft of my book, I ended up with three characters all called Peter, and because they were such different people in my mind, I never noticed until after I’d written them in. Trouble is I still think of all three of them as Peter! So now a lot of my secondary characters start out as XXX until I can think of suitable [and different] names for them. *g*
**Currently undergoing a re-vamp :- )
***Profuse apologies to PB – it wasn’t my idea, but you really do make a fantastic vamp!