Tuesday, 16 August 2011
Author Spotlight - Linda McMaken talks about books with character
I was recently asked why I write contemporary novels. I had to think about that quite awhile, as there wasn't a definitive answer. Since I was writing a blog post, I had to come up with a bit more then, "I dunno, I just like'em".
Right when I had it all figured out, Desert Breeze Publishing contracted for a historical novel I'd submitted. Then I was asked if I plotted, outlined, or created a story first? I had to answer none of the above. My books usually begin with a character. I love personalities.
I am a people watcher and many manuscripts have evolved from my encounter with one person who made me laugh, or cry or even made me angry. Joe, in Baer Truth came from a cowboy I'd listened to at a rodeo in Wyoming.
There was a woman reporter was talking to him. She was interviewing the cowboy because he'd just won the bronc riding event. I felt so sorry for the poor woman, because every question she asked him, he would answer with "yep" or "nope." The cowboy was handsome, covered with dust, and didn't seem very comfortable in front of a camera. Plus, she wasn't asking questions that begged for an answer. Suddenly a kid popped up, wearing a cowboy hat and asked what every cowboy wants to talk about - the horse he bested, and the next rodeo. Then he talked like a mockingbird on speed!
Joe's personality is loosely based on this cowboy. Joe doesn't talk much until Abby asks him about Hidden Rock Ranch, then she gets to see a side of him she never knew existed.
Tessa, Abby's friend in Baer Truth is based on a couple of people. A co-worker, a cousin, and a friend, she's a blend of personalities. Of all the characters, Tessa was the most fun to write because she vocalized what everyone else was thinking and wanting to say.
The brothers in the book all have very different personalities. As in most families, siblings, like the Baer brothers, have a love/hate relationship. They do love each other; will always be there for one another, but sometimes they just cannot understand each other. Of course, the Baers had a little help from other people driving those wedges into their family, and now they are trying to mend fences.
Then there's that historical I have coming in January 2012, The Granite Rose. It's set in ancient Rome – I know I get that look a lot. Well, as a kid I did have a major crush on Charlton Heston, and Kirk Douglas, and Tony Curtis – I had lots of crushes! I will be having updates on my website for this one.
My writing path starts with a character, and then I wonder what that personality would do when placed in a certain situation. From there the story evolves, and usually I have nothing to do with it other than the typing. My characters, they are a determined bunch!