Thursday, April 16, 2009


Hello, all! I’m so honored to be on this blog. J.K. writes some brilliant, lovely things, and I’ve been trying to think of something worthy for this blog.

I’ve been thinking a lot, of late, about how characters are created, how they are born.

The hardest thing, sometimes, is making sure that your character is a truly different person. Every person you put down on the page is a piece of you…the evils ones, the dumb ones, the beautiful ones…they all come out of the compost pile in the back of your head, they grow out of your thoughts and experiences. So how do you make sure that the people that you create don’t become carbon copies of each other?

I study people. I think it’s in part because I love them…once, a friend called me a people person, and I, going through my lone wolf stage in life, yelled at him to take it back. The last thing I wanted to be was a people person…they seemed so peppy and shiny and weak, who could possibly like someone like that?

But the fact of the matter is, being a people person has really helped me learn about them. I spend a lot of time listening to strangers tell me stories…I have that kind of face, I guess, and I also take as much time as I can to study the faces and expressions and actions of the people around me. Granted, I don’t do it with a mental note pad in my head, rather, I try to open myself up to the people around me and absorb what I can. Because I know it’ll go into the back of my mind, into the compost pile, and this person’s nervous tick, and that person’s oddly colored gold-brown eyes and all the other bits and pieces of the people I’ve seen will combine, like magic, into someone new, someone with the right recipe of flaws and talents, good and bad, to be interesting, to be someone you can live with for the two hundred or so pages of the book.

What do you think about that? If you write, how do you find characters? If you’re a reader, have you read an author whose characters, especially the main ones, all seem the same? Who are your favorite authors who seem to make the most real people?

The Chocolatier's Wife by Cindy Lynn Speer

Tasmin, William’s wife to be, was chosen by a spell, as all wives and husbands are chosen. It’s a nice, tidy way to find a reasonable mate for almost everyone. Unfortunately, Tasmin is from the North, a place of magic and strange ritual, and William is from the South, where people pride themselves on being above the kind of insanity practiced by the Northerners, which has nothing to do with the fact that most people in the South have lost their ability to practice magic.

William doesn’t seem in a hurry to send for Tasmin, for which none of his family blame him. After all, she’s a barbarian. She, on the other hand, would like to know what’s keeping him. When he’s framed for murdering his patron, Tasmin takes matters into her own hands, harnessing the wind to bring her to William’s side. She’s gotten to know Wiliam from his letters. He’s not a murderer and she’s going to help him prove it.

William, incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit is shunned by his family for the embarrassment, and for giving up the family shipping business for foolishness, and for saddling them with a Hag for a wife, which means he can’t protect Tasmin from his family’s cold dislike of his barbiaran wife-to-be–but that’s not the worst of it.

Someone out there doesn’t like him and is beginning to dislike Tasmin almost as much, and that someone isn’t at all averse to making sure William and Tasmin aren’t around long enough to celebrate their wedding.

Tasmin, of course, has other plans.