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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

It's You, Isn't It?

I find it fascinating when readers are convinced that I am the character in my book.

It's happened several times this past week. One reader is convinced that I really am Sheila Carpenter, the spunky main character in Kickback and Ricochet. Truthfully, I wish I was more like her. When she came upon the deserted, decrepit hotel in the middle of nowhere, she moved beyond her fear and checked in - knowing something was wrong but determined to investigate. When she turned on the dim light in the hotel room and found spiders and insects crawling on everything, I would have turned tail and run. Not Sheila. She waited until the bad guys had gone and then broke into the office to find an illegal operation in full swing.

Sheila, like the characters in all my books, are composites. Sometimes they have traits based on people I know. Sometimes they have characteristics that are simply needed for the roles they play.

Recently, I've been publicizing my newest book, Vicki's Key, with some blogs about ghosts and ghost sightings and psychic spies. It actually does not matter whether I believe in ghosts. What matters is if the reader believes in them, at least long enough to read through the book. But now there is a segment of my audience who believes I am a psychic spy. That I see ghosts or live with ghosts or I am a ghost.

I find this rather interesting from a writer's perspective. Did Audrey Niffenegger, the author of The Time Traveler's Wife, actually marry someone with that capability in order to write the book? I think not.

Did H.G.Wells travel through time, discover lost worlds, encounter aliens from other planets?

Or was it simply imagination, that which authors are supposed to be famous for?

What relationship do you think an author personally has with their book plots and their characters?

3 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Like you said, we pick up little bits as we live our lives, but I am not my characters nor do they resemble anyone else. I might have Byron's qualities of perfectionism and being a loner, but I am not driven to achieve in the same manner.

onespoiledcat said...

Good question...I immerse myself in my writing rather deeply I suppose because I FEEL like I'm my main character as I'm creating the plot and moving the story through to its conclusion. Not everyone would be comfortable "becoming" their character for a period of time while at the keyboard but I do. We all find the method that works for us(a "method to the madness" ??).

Pam Kimmell

p.m.terrell said...

Thanks for the comments! I really enjoy hearing about your methods and how closely (or not) you resemble your characters. Intriguing, isn't it?