Ann Gimpel, author of the sexy shifter book, Alice’s Alpha, has come by to guest blog today as part of her Bewitching Book Tour. Ann is talking about where characters come from.
Where Do Story Characters Come From?
Once people know I’m a writer, the first question is frequently, “Are your characters based on people you know?” The short answer to that question is sort of. My characters are composites of people I know. Maybe one’s gutsiness married to another’s compassion. That’s the beauty of fiction, my characters can be whomever I want them to. I’m lucky to have a cooperative muse. My last hero, an ancient, time traveling dragon shifter who’s been asleep for three hundred years, came to me in a dream. I just knew I had to write a book about him.
I’ll admit I have a weakness for a certain type of alpha male. I don’t like the rough and tough ones who are mostly good between the sheets, but lack the domestication necessary to establish and maintain interpersonal relationships. Nope, I like the ones who are tall, strong, and gorgeous. They’re able to power their way through most anything, yet they know how to be warm and tender to that special woman in their lives.
The appeal of shifter men is they can take on the traits of their animals. So they radiate danger and a don’t-screw-with-me attitude. They’re also possessive and take care of their own. While that may read well in fiction, the reality is that most women don’t want a Neanderthal breathing down their neck every waking moment. At least for me, effective shifter heroes temper their possessiveness with warmth and caring.
I also have a weakness for a certain type of heroine. I like my women strong and capable. They’re already successful, often in male-dominated professions. In other words, even if they’re on the prowl, they don’t need a man to complete them.
As a writer, I think I can get further with two strong protags. I frequently read stories—in fact, I’m reading one now by Sandra Brown—where both hero and heroine went through severe trauma in their early lives and find healing in one another. While that makes for awesome fiction, I know too much about the reality of trauma’s effects to want to build my books that way. It’s a long and difficult road back from abuse. Maybe because I lived there for so many years sitting in my therapy chair, I haven’t wanted to write about it. Some of my patients still haunt my dreams.
I suppose when all is said and done, I gravitate toward characters with strong personalities and plots that challenge their strength. The beauty of romance is the HEA or HFN and all that simmering sexual tension. The animal magnetism of shifters amps the sensuality till it’s over the top.
How about you? Who are your favorite characters and why would you pick them?
Ann Gimpel is a clinical psychologist, with a Jungian bent. Avocations include mountaineering, skiing, wilderness photography and, of course, writing. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Several paranormal romance novellas are available in e-format. Three novels, Psyche’s Prophecy, Psyche’s Search, and Psyche’s Promise are small press publications available in e-format and paperback. Look for two more urban fantasy novels coming this summer and fall: Fortune’s Scion and Earth’s Requiem.
A husband, grown children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out her family.
@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)