Friday, June 12, 2015

Any Resemblance...

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Coincidental or ... 

  • heavily researched but not authorized
  • authorized but not heavily researched
  • composite
  • figurative
  • counting on the reader not knowing that the murder victim is really your first boss
The truth: fiction writers are imaginative, but we're not THAT imaginative. We can't make up, whole cloth, all the people, places and events we depict. They're all based on people, place and events in our experience or research, more or less.

Take my first book, Under A Texas Star... please. (You can wait until the end of the post to go buy or borrow it.)

Under A Texas Star is a Historical Western Romance. No historical characters appear in it but a lot of history was read before and during the writing of the book. Actual events and locales are referred to. Unlike some periods of history, the old west is well documented with surviving newspaper articles, collections of letters and contemporary histories. So, when I was creating the fictional characters and places, I had real people and places to act as models. Because of the romance aspect, some of those models were polished up so they looked better than they might have been* and I took a few liberties, depicting what might have happened as opposed to what usually happened.

That a young woman could successfully pass as a boy is not something I took liberties with. This has been documented throughout history, but especially in the American Civil War.

No, I took liberties with the Oasis Saloon (and cooperative whorehouse). The life of a saloon girl was not, ordinarily, the least bit romantic. Jezebel, the grand dame of the Oasis, is based on the few exceptions combined with the old west trope of the fallen woman with a heart of gold. Then I asked myself, how would a woman like that run her own operation? What would I want to do in her place?

Jase Strachan (pronounced strawn) is the hero of my youth. As such, he is the composite of many men, real and fictional. He is also the kind of man I'd want to be if I were a guy instead of a gal. So, in a way, he's also based on me.

Marly is the heroine I would have liked to have been at that age, modified by the circumstances of where and when and how she grew up. Their romance could be considered a bit narcissistic if they hadn't developed into their own persons.

For me, and a lot of authors I know, that's the key. Whatever the original source, we make our characters and locations our own, then they assert themselves as their own.

Under A Texas Star is a work of fiction... Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is only the seed of the final work.

Next time... Deadly Legacy and the murder I committed for my mother.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Book Tour

A Bodyguard to Remember is on tour at the review sites below. I'm looking forward to meeting new friends, but I hope a few of my old ones will come along for the ride.
Many thanks to Goddess Fish for being so easy to work with and my hosts for inviting me over.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

My Characters - Myself

“Do you make up all your characters, or do you put some of yourself in them?”

That is the question Melodie Campbell answered last week in her post: Damn Right, there’s Me in my Characters!

This got me thinking. I know how I create characters and I can't help but insert a little of me in each one... including the villains. With the protagonist it's inevitable.

My characters are like my children... if my children had been grown in vitro, with multiple fathers.

For example, if I needed my character to be a bond enforcer, I'd start thinking about what I would be like doing that job. What if she got the job through her cousin and really wasn't cut out for it... at least not at first.

I can relate. My cousin Hilary wasn't a bail bondsman, but when I needed work and she needed a writer, she contracted my services. She was my first client as a freelance writer/editor. Getting that job from a family member made me feel a bit like a fraud and gave me something to prove.That's something of me that would probably end up in my finished character.

Next I have to look at what my character needs for the story I want to tell. What are her cultural roots. What are her hair roots? What are her skills and where did she get them? I start picking out donors who can contribute to the creation of the character. Maybe I want her to look cross between Katherine Heigl and Sandra Bullock. There's two donors. Maybe I want a little Married to the Mob vibe to her character. There's another donor.

Would I end up with Stephanie Plum? Not likely. Even if we had all the same "fathers" in the mix, Janet Evanovich would still be the mother. Steph is her baby.

My offspring might be just as disaster prone, but she'd get into trouble for different reasons. Her house might be a mess, but she'd know how to cook. And coffee, not birthday cake, would be her go-to pick-me-up. And she might turn out to be a he. Who knows?