How To Really Get To Know Your Characters! #MondayBlogs #AmWriting

How To Really Get To Know Your Characters! #MondayBlogs #AmWriting

Author Lucy has a unique way of getting to know her characters.

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Do you want to know how to reallyget to know your characters? The answer is simple.

Pretend you are having coffee with your fictional character!

I have been using this role play method for sometime and I think it has really improved my second draft. My reviewers in November might disagree…

The thought of doing some character development can make some writers groan, as they view it as aboring writing chore. I will hold my hand up and admit to this.

For a long time I have been more focused on plot, as that is what excites me. In my head character development was just a tedious couple of hours writing lists of facial features. Ugh!

After a couple of bad draft novels I realised (the hard way!) that characters are so important to a story and it is the nuggets of character detail which…

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5 Tips For Starting Your Story

Katy Cannon has some good tips for getting started on a new story. Here’s her advice.

This week, I’ve been doing one of my absolute favourite things – starting to write a new book! The beginning of a new story is always exciting. Even if I’ve got it all mapped out in my head, …

Source: 5 Tips For Starting Your Story

Music, Murder, and Mayhem

If you enjoy reading mysteries, then I have someone I want you to meet. Donn Taylor is a novelist, poet extraordinaire, and a lover of puns. Those who know him personally enjoy his sharp wit and his books.

Donn, welcome to the blog. Tell us a little bit about yourself.    

Donn Taylor portraits 12/7/07

I’m older than dirt but younger than chaos. My first career was Army: Infantry in Korea and aviation in Vietnam. Afterwards, I taught English lit at two liberal arts colleges. Now I just write fiction and poetry, and also teach at writers’ conferences. The highlight of my life was my 61-year marriage to the loveliest of God’s creatures.

How did you get started writing?  

I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t trying to create something. I began writing music at age 14. Two years later I entered college as a music major, studied piano with an instructor on leave from Cincinnati Conservatory and played some of my classical compositions in her recitals. But at age 18 I got interested in poetry—the Romantics, of course—and began writing poetry and some very bad short stories. Since then, writing is just something I have to do, though there have been long periods when professional and family requirements pushed it far into the background. I always wanted to write a novel. After I retired from college teaching, I joined a local writers’ group and finally realized my ambition with The Lazarus File, a novel of spies and airplanes in the Caribbean, still available as an e-book.

What kind of books do you write and why?

I write poetry because I have to for personal reasons—some published and some not. I began writing suspense novels because my military and aviation experience provided good background information. For years I’ve been fascinated by mysteries like those written by Raymond Chandler, so I decided to try one of those. My college experience gave a good background for that. You’d think that a small liberal arts college would be as close to Shangri-La as you’d find on this earth. But as one of my characters says, the reality is more like unsupervised recess in a public schoolyard in a tough neighborhood. So I wrote the mystery—Rhapsody in Red—and had a good bit of fun with comic satire of the college scene. I’ve continued in the mystery genre with this present book and at least one in progress. Then we’ll see…

Tell us about your book.MurderMezzoForte500x750(1)

Murder Mezzo Forte is a sequel to Rhapsody in Red with the same protagonists. Preston Barclay (“Press”) is a reclusive history professor who suffers from musical hallucinations. Mara Thorn (the name she chose when she re-invented herself) is a headstrong professor of comparative religion, a former Wiccan recently converted to Christianity. Earlier, they solved a campus murder, but now police say they formed two-thirds of an illicit love triangle with a newly murdered female colleague—and they’re probably guilty of her murder. The leaked scandal threatens their jobs. Their desperate attempt to prove their innocence plunges them into a tangle of unsavory corporate relationships among trustees and puts their lives in danger from a hidden but powerful criminal organization. Those circumstances provide suspense, but along the way there’s also a good bit of comic satire of the college scene.

 

Where do you get your ideas?

Creativity remains a mystery. I don’t think we ever know whether we generate our ideas or whether they’re gifts from God. I think probably a mixture of both. Shakespeare’s Owen Glendower claimed he could “call forth spirits from the vasty deep.” Then Hotspur asked, “But will they come when you do call for them?” It’s the same with ideas: We can call, but will they come? Some come from asking “What if…?” My question that resulted in the Preston Barclay character was, “What if a faculty member actually said what the rest of the faculty was thinking and didn’t dare say?” But usually, my ideas come out of reading and research. In researching Colombia for The Lazarus File, I came on a striking photograph of a lone house on a bare hilltop. That photo, transformed in several ways, provided one of the important landscapes for the novel. In casual reading in the New York Times, I read about someone with musical hallucinations. So I gave the character Preston Barclay a constant stream of music in his head, and thus Rhapsody and Murder Mezzo Forte became the only novels I know of that have built-in music scores. To summarize: I suppose my method is to start reading and researching, believing that something good will eventually fall out of it. It’s like going where lightning strikes while you’re carrying a lightning rod. Sooner or later, God’s lightning will strike.

Where can readers purchase your book?

Although it can be ordered through any book store, the best bet is to type my name into Amazon. (Readers can also click on the word Amazon to go straight to the new book.) That will take you to a page with all my books on it. Hope you enjoy!

Donn, thank you for sharing your story and your books with us today.

Donn has graciously offered a free e-book of his new mystery, Murder Mezzo Forte to one lucky name that I will draw out of those who leave a comment below. So if you like mysteries, leave a few words below. You just might win. I love Donn’s books and I know you will too.

 

 

 

 

 

If you enjoy historical fiction or nonfiction,then you need to get acquainted with Lana Higginbotham’s books. She’s not only a good storyteller, but Lana’s a diligent researcher of the history she weaves into her stories. She writes under the pen name, Lana Lynne.Lana Lynne Higginotham Bio Photo

Welcome, Lana, tell us how you got started writing.

I started writing on my mother’s typewriter during a period of childhood illness at the age of ten. My High School Creative writing teacher remains one of my greatest inspirations. I write historical Fiction and non-fiction. I grew up in a family who loves heritage and history. My fascination with both started early.

Lana, you’ve published three novels, but your latest book is nonfiction. Can you share some details with us.

My fourth book is a departure from my normal genre of historical fiction. A reader approached my table at a book signing with an unexpected question, “Would you ever consider doing a nonfiction?” This lovely lady introduced me to her mother. I traveled to Slidell, Louisiana to meet Mary K. Felder. Her true WWII love story captured me from the moment I interviewed her. I longed to meet her late husband.Lifebetweentheletters (1) She shared copies of hundreds of the letters they exchanged during 1945. Our journey of writing their story started and unfolded with many blessings along the way. Mary is now 90 years young and doing well. We do book signings together when we can. Barnes and Noble in Mandeville, Louisiana hosted us for a second time on May 14, 2016. Mary loves meeting our readers and sharing a bit of their story in person. We delight in encouraging aspiring writings of all ages.

Where did you get the ideas for your novels?

My combined love of history and reading stirred the storyteller in me long ago. The “what-ifs” lure my imagination, and I find my characters playing hide and seek within that creative pairing. The theme of faith during adversity remains an integral part of each story.

Where can readers purchase your books?

All of my books are available via Amazon and Barnes nd Noble. My first two historical fiction novels: Home Always Beckons and Trails of Change, as well as the nonfiction: Life Between the Letters, co-written by Mary Felder are also available via Tate Publishing’s website. Sunbeams at Twilight is also available through EBOOKIT.COM.

Thank you, Lana, for sharing your stories with us today.

Lana has graciously offered a copy of her book, Sunbeams at Twilight to one lucky reader of this blog. Just leave a comment below and one name will be chosen for a free copy of the book.SUNBEAMS-Cover (1)

 

Heaven’s Touch in Earthly Tales

Delia Latham is a born-and-bred California gal, currently living in East Texas with her husband Johnny. She’s a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend, and Outside 2 cropped (72)author of inspirational romance. But above all, she treasures her role as child of the King and heir to the throne of God. She’s got a “thing” for Dr. Pepper and absolutely loves hearing from friends and readers.

How did you get started writing?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing something. As a child, I never went anywhere without a pencil and notebook. In third grade, I won an essay writing contest…and that was when I knew I wanted to be a writer “forever and always.”

What kind of books do you write and why?

I write inspirational romance. Why? Romance is what I like to read to escape, but I don’t like bodice rippers and graphic sex that makes me blush sitting in my own living room—so inspirational romance works for me. Besides, I think there’s a ministry in it. A lot of people don’t understand how there can be a ministry in romance, but comments from my readers suggest otherwise. I guess it’s one of those things that is best understood by actually reading an inspirational romance book.

Tell us about your newest book.

Spring Raine is the first of four books in the Paradise Pines Series, set in the beautiful town of Cambria, on California’s Central Coast. Miss Angelina love either owns or manages the Lodge. No one seems to know for sure. She maySpring Raine_72 or may not be an angel, but no one’s got any real proof of that either. One thing that is absolutely certain is that no one stays at the Lodge for the required 3-month contract period without being changed—usually both heart and soul.
I will add a note about my latest book, At First Sight. I was excited and honored to hear that it recently won the Clash of the Titles annual Laurel award—which means a lot to me because this a reader-judged contest. Readers are the ultimate judges, are they not? 

Where do you get your ideas?

I have to give all the credit to God, because I’m simply not that imaginative on my own. My ideas usually come to me right out of the blue. Sometimes I actually dream them. Now and then—as in the case of Paradise Pines—I simply fall in love with a location and build lives and stories around it. Once God gives me a starting point, I just go with it—following His lead, of course, otherwise…why bother? 

Where can readers purchase your books?

All of my books are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble online, CBD and publisherAtFirstSight_mjpg direct, through Pelican Book Group.

Delia, thanks so much for sharing your story and your books with us. To learn more about Delia, visit her website, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog.

Delia will give an ebook of one of her titles to a lucky reader. Just leave a comment below along with your email address to be entered in the giveaway.

Alligator Creek

If you enjoy historical fiction, let me introduce you to Alligator Creek and its author, Lottie Guttry.

Lottie, tell us a little about yourself.Lottie

I grew up in Kilgore, Texas, and received a doctorate degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce. I taught at Kilgore College and UT Tyler and owned Sylvan Learning Center in Longview. I am the author of the historical novel, Alligator Creek and the musical, Boom. I live in Longview with my husband, Dr. John S. Guttry,

How did you get started writing?

I started as a playwright, writing skits, plays for children, and the musical Boom. After retiring from Sylvan Learning Center, I took several creative writing courses at Southern Methodist University. Alligator Creek is my first completed novel.Alligator Creek

Lottie, what kind of books do you write and why?

I enjoy writing about the past, researching history and customs. I was especially drawn to a family story about my civil war ancestors, Sarah and Alexander Browning, I began by researching family history and Civil War History.

Tell us about your book.

Sarah and Alexander Browning lived in Lake City, Florida during the Civil War. When Alex failed to come home from the war, Sarah took a wagon train for Texas after swimming across a swollen stream with each of her five children. I thought about this story for several years, especially Sarah’s inspiring strength and bravery. In 2004, I finally sat down at my computer and began to expand the story into the historical novel, Alligator Creek.

Where do you get your ideas?

The family story gave me the framework of the story. The characters grew in my mind as I wrote. The story needed to be expanded and detailed to make the characters and the time period come to life. Through research I immersed myself in the period, so I could create dialogue and descriptions for people who lived without technology, without electricity, and without automobiles. My most interesting research finds were online scanned documents of Alexander Browning’s handwritten letters.

Lottie, tell us where can readers can purchase your book?

Alligator Creek is available at Amazon and also my website, AlligatorCreekBook.com. Locally, in East Texas, Alligator Creek can be purchased in Longview at  Pen and Company, Louis Morgan Drugs, and Barrons; in Kilgore at J & Co.; and in Lake City Florida at the Columbia County Historical Museum, and Treasures of Lake City.

Lottie, thank you for talking with us about Alligator Creek.

Ready for a New Story?

Some of you have read Postmark from the Past, my novel about Emily Patterson and the strange letters in her mailbox. I appreciate your support so much. For those who haven’t yet read Postmark, it’s available at Amazon or CrossRiver Media. My editor at CrossRiver has encouraged me to do a series about the people and town in Postmark, so look for that sometime in the future.

But, it’s time for a new story and it will be coming soon. It’s not related to Postmark From the Past in any form, but I hope you will enjoy it. Here’s a little teaser to pique your interest.

I knocked on the door, and a lock clicked on the other side. A crack appeared between the door and the frame. A voice spoke from inside. “I don’t rent rooms anymore.”

“I don’t need a room. I’m looking for someone.”

The crack grew larger as someone opened the door wider. A wrinkled face peered at me. Shock flew to her eyes as swiftly as a frightened bird takes flight, and a small cry escaped her lips.

The unexpected noise took me by surprise, and I stepped back. The door started to close.” Wait, I’m not going to harm you. I just want to ask you some questions.” The crack remained open a few inches. “I’m Joel.”

“I know.”

“How,” I asked, both puzzled and surprised, but she didn’t answer.

Silence filled the space around us. My heart rate increased. I felt sure I was onto something here.

The door opened a few more inches. She continued to stare at me. I pulled the picture from my pocket and held it out to her. She hesitated a moment, then took the photo and studied it.

“You’re Lila, aren’t you?”

The novel is titled, Moved, Left No Address. I really enjoyed writing this story, and I hope you will enjoy reading it. Look for it real soon.