When I write a full length novel, each character has a history and
traits that may or may not be part of the story on the page. In order to
make a character come to life, I have to know about the character's life outside my
book. Here's an inside peek at how this works. Below are partial character sketches about two characters from two of my books. If you've read them, you'll learn new tidbits that didn't make it into the books. (hint: what's in red)
Heroine: Lacy Dahl
Lacy's eyes are a remarkable light green shade. Her hair is the color of ebony and
falls below her shoulder blades. She's 5'7" and weighs 135 pounds. She's
half Hopi Indian and half Austrian.
Characteristics and Personality Traits: She has a habit of lifting a tendril of hair and brushing it along her
chin when she's deep in thought. Her preference is for "real" things
such as ceramic over paper, real stones and metals in her jewelry and
leather over plastic. She is happy, self-assured, independent and responsible.
She was born in Flagstaff, Arizona. An airplane crash killed both her
parents when she was a few months old. Her foster parents eventually
adopted her and she was raised in Phoenix. Her childhood was normal. In
high school, she excelled academically and was Homecoming Queen two
years in a row. Her college degree was earned at the University of
California in San Francisco where she met her husband. She married and
had two children. At the time of her husband's death, three years before
the story opens, she was a pharmacist and he was a surgeon. She left
her profession after he died and bought a coffee cafe, naming it the
Lacy Latte. Her love life has been non-existent, too busy taking care of
her sick mother and the cafe.
She drives a crimson red BMW Z4, convertible. She runs every morning
then changes into jeans and filmy blouses and expensive shoes before
going to the cafe. She has a special closet just for shoes. She
practices yoga twice a week and has recently talked her friend Phoebe
into going to the classes with her. Her son is at a chef school in Paris
and her daughter owns an art gallery in Tucson, Arizona where she is
going through a divorce.
Heroine: Sandra Holiday
Sandra is a green eyed, blonde. More than likely there's gray under
that blonde, but we'll never know. Her hair still brushes her shoulders
in soft waves. At 5'3", she's petite and just slim enough. She prefers
jeans but wears form-fitting skirts to work.
Sandra was born in Phoenix, Arizona. She excelled in English class but
didn't have much time for her other studies. Community College held her
interest for as long as it took to get her Associates of Arts degree.
She married young and it didn't last two years. One night, in Las Vegas
Nevada, she met Carson Holiday who was performing on the casino stage at
the Sam's Town Casino. He spotted her at the bar, playing video poker
with a girlfriend on each side of her. She was twenty-seven. They were
married three months later. The marriage lasted five years. Why not
longer? Well, you'd have to read my notes on Carson. For the last eighteen years,
Sandra has had some colorful relationships from a radio DJ that was too
young for her to the Iranian who disappeared and was found dead in the
Salt River. Her love of travel keeps pointing her toward careers in the
field but it seems every time she gets close, some man distracts her
from her goal. As Sandra says, "Always a sucker for romance, but romance
never lasts and I'm left without a career."
Sandra hates to clean. She still has clothes from high school.
Beaujolais is her favorite wine and Starbuck's is her favorite coffee.
She has a sister named Abby who is taller, married and her best friend.
That's a sample of how it goes. These character sketches are the first things I write when I start a new book. I add to them as the book progresses and the characters reveal more of their personalities and pasts to me. This is my favorite part of writing a book.
Both Sleeping with the Lights On and The Art of Love and Murder were published by The Wild Rose Press and are available most everywhere!
Click HERE for all my books at The Wild Rose Press.