I always wondered how many people come up with their ideas and characters. Not that I am fishing for ideas, mind you. It intrigues me and I’m also nosy. I know how I came up with the characters and premise behind the story for my first WIP. At least for the female character. As for the male, it’s much more of a shallow reason. He’s over six feet tall, longish curling black hair. light green eyes and his name is Tristan. (I’ve always loved that name) And he’s British. (Of course.) Which means he speaks with THAT delicious accent. Just for the record, I could listen to the phone book read by anyone British and sit with a silly smile on my face. (Well maybe not Cockney, but you all know what I’m talking about).
Hey, it’s my fantasy. Where did a girl from New York City come up with the name of Tristan? Lots and Lots of Romance novel reading. Two of my all time favorite male characters have had that name, Suzanne Enoch’s Tristan Carroway, Lord Dare, in The Rake, and Lord Tristan Easton, from Lorraine Heath’s Lord of Temptation one of the Lost Lords of Pembrooke. Sigh…If you haven’t read these books, do so now.
So it was never a doubt for me that when I would try my hand at writing a Regency romance, this character of mine, Tristan Moore, would pop up, fully formed and ready to roll. His issues of fear and abandonment were also present in his psyche, ready for me to manipulate.
My heroine, Victoria was harder, not in her name or her looks, but in her character development. Her issues were much more of a personal journey for me.
When I was young I had a dear friend who was the victim of child abuse, only none of knew about it. It was the 1970′s and back then, people didn’t speak of these things, and children didn’t dare tell. I found out, these many years ago when we reconnected over Facebook, that she had told my mother and my mother had urged her to speak to someone. My friend told me she was always grateful to my mother for speaking kindly to her and not turning away from her.
i didn’t know any of this was happening. I didn’t know she was abused and I also never knew that she faced discrimination because she was gay.
My heroine came named and with her personal demons, which reflected what I wanted to say in my writing. When I was young I had a severe accident that left me until recently with a limp. it happened when I was 13, at the worst possible time for a teenage’s self esteem It made me self conscious and as I grew older, I thought I would remain alone.
But I overcame it with the help of my family and my wonderful friends and my own acceptance.
When I decided to write, I wanted to put a little of her story into mine, knowing that even though it was a romance novel, it needed to reflect real life. So I created Victoria, a girl who was being abused by her father but couldn’t tell anyone. I gave her a slight limp and let the story unfold as to her emotional handling of the subjects. I think she did pretty well. After all, she does get the duke. :)
I also created a character of a viscount who is gay, and had to keep silent for fear of death. The friends all sense it but still offer their friendship.
My friend is the only person outside of this writing community whom I have told I am writing a book. She is my biggest cheerleader and if I ever do get published, she will know that she is my inspiration.
What about you? Do you have real life inspirations for your characters? Do you see little bits and pieces of yourself? Or, do you walk down the street, see a very hot man and say, “Hmmm, he would make a great character in my next book.”