Monday, September 8, 2014


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)

THE ART OF LOVE AND MURDER (first of five books in my Love and Murder Series)
Heroine: Lacy Dahl
Age: 43
Description: 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.

Background: 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.

Additional Information: 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
Age: 50
Description: 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.

Background: 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."

Additional Info: 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.


  1. I love your process, and really fun to read some of the tidbits you didn't put in the books. Makes the characters even more real, because no one ever knows everything about someone. There's always more to discover. :)