Writing a novel is an odd experience. You create a core plot, then act it out by invented characters, kind of like a puppet show except it’s all in your head. To really bring it to life, you need to fill it in with a million little details. I do invent a good many of those details, usually when I want it to serve a purpose, like a character collecting cheesy magnets to illustrate an aspect of that character’s development. But with so many details needed from how a character looks when confused to how a character cleans, sometimes (okay, a lot of the time), I turn to the people I know to help flush out the details. I’m a character trait thief, observing everyone around me for little quirks I can steal for my books.
If you go to my website, it’s right there on the Welcome screen – #3. You’ve been warned.
Case in point, some good friends of mine recently shared the adorable way they met – which involves a pie they now enjoy every year on their anniversary. No question, I’m putting this in my next book. I already told them. Thankfully, they’re cool with it, so be on the look out for anniversary pie in book 2.
In THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE, I had plenty of inspiration. A character’s favorite gum and profession are stolen from my husband. A lot of the restaurant details are stolen from back in my waitressing days, when I witnessed first hand the craziness that happens in a restaurant kitchen. And, yes, much of Lou’s appearance is inspired by me. When you’re struggling to describe a character, sometimes it’s nice to be able to look in a mirror for ideas.
So, dear reader, if you find a bit of yourself in one of my books, know it’s because I found it delightful and worth sharing with the world–a compliment of the highest order. Now, if I name a character after you and kill them off–well, that’s a different post.
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