How I Choose My Characters

I was asked recently how I formulate my characters. I feel like they formulate themselves. I have a vague idea what I want them to be like. I’ll know the sex, the age and the physical characteristics but as for the personality it develops as the book progresses.

It’s like getting to know a good friend.  You know you have a lot in common and you’ll get on really well but it’s not until you really spend time with each other do you realise the extent of your friendship. I feel like that with my characters. They become my friends and we share part of my life while I’m writing the book. All of the books I’ve written, which is five in all, I’ve come to identify with the main heroine and usually at the end of the book I’m extremely sad to say goodbye. So much so, that the last two books I’ve written have had some of the same characters in both stories. I usually cry when I finish a book and feel slightly empty (I absolutely need to get a real life!).

Someone asked me once how I choose my names. The names of the characters just come to me. My first heroine was called Jane which I felt was a bit boring so I tried to change her name to Louise, but every time I tried to type the name Louise I found myself typing Jane – so I gave up in the end and she remained as Jane.

I have often heard writers say that theirs is a solitary profession but I never feel lonely with my characters. I look forward to a day’s writing so I get to spend a day with my friends and I look forward to inventing new characters and learning about their personalities.

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