Sunday, July 26, 2020

Coffee and Conversation with the #RomanceGems

It's time for Coffee and Conversation with the Romance Gems! So, grab a cup of your favorite beverage and join us for some fun. This month's topic is: Is that character based on you? 

At some point in every author’s career someone will ask, “Is that character you?” Parts of “us” likely slips into our stories, things we enjoy, (or don’t!) people we meet, issues we’ve faced. Good things, bad things, challenges, triumphs. So, tell me… Do you have characters based on you? OR are there characters inspired by those you know or have met? Was a character sparked by a movie, or a song, maybe a place? Tell me how you come up with those imaginary people in your books. Let’s talk!

“Based on me? LOL ... no. If that were the case, my poor heroine would never get any! I love to people watch and interacting with unusual characters has often given me inspiration. However, I think the best example of basing a character on real-life would have to come from my secret-baby book, Home is Where the Hunk is. The idea for this contemporary novel was based on two sisters I met by chance. The younger sister served as a surrogate and carried her terminally-ill sister’s baby. I found their story compelling and, of course, romantic!” ~ Nancy Fraser

“The only character I ever based on another person was Suzanne, one of The Girls of Tonsil Lake. It wasn't intentional, but it certainly worked out that way. I was so worried my friend Deb would be insulted that I had "used" her in such a way, but she loved it, and Suzanne's presence deepened an already long and profound friendship.”
~ Liz Flaherty

“All my heroines have a bit of me in her. And they usually learn something that I’ve learned over the years—dreams do come true if you make them; it takes two to love. I’ve written about my passions—horses, dogs and cats. My heroines have been writers and teachers and mostly single mothers. However, it did take me twenty years to finally write a story about a divorced single mother. By that time I was ready.” ~ Jan Scarbrough

“I’m moody. Annoyingly so. And I’ve learned to stay away from people during one of my moody-bouts. For the character of Gemma Laine in A Shot at Love, I made her a moody-pus, too. She’s a lot crankier than I am, though, so it was fun to put her in situations that sparked a bad mood and then watch how she reacted.

"Gemma knows martial arts and is a deadly shot with a gun, so I did my best to give her circumstances where she had to choose between reacting moodily or rationally. And it was fun to watch her deal!” ~ Peggy Jaeger

“I have based many characters off people I know, but don’t worry…they ALL know it and LOVE it. My sister was the inspiration for Alice, the heroine in The Sheriff’s Gift. My sister is one of the strongest people I know. She is a leader, a problem-solver and a creator. She is a no-nonsense person, who can see through a lie as if it’s a ragged screen door. Thus, Alice Parker, my determined schoolteacher heroine, was born.” ~ Kara O’Neal

“I probably take a trait from this person and a trait from that person without realizing it. I don’t intentionally pattern an entire person after anyone. There are two exceptions to this. First, the Stone brothers’ aunts in the Stone Mountain Texas series are patterned after my mom and her older sister. I adore those two characters! The other time is in my cozy mystery, DEATH IN THE GARDEN. The great grandmother is a combination of my mom and a friend of hers. Otherwise, there’s a bit of me in all the characters I create, good or bad.”
~ Caroline Clemmons

“My warning to people, “anything you say or do may show up one day in a book, with the name changed to protect the guilty,” always gets a laugh. Sometimes a nervous one, like they’re not quite sure I’m kidding. Which I’m not. My brain is a filing cabinet full of snippets of people and situations that I drag out at will to flesh out a character or bring an extra layer of emotion to a scene. And like most writers, little bits of my heart and soul pepper the pages of my work; the only way I know to make it real. Luckily, there’s always more where that came from.” ~ Kathleen Lawless

“I have a character based on a stranger. I was at the beach a few years back and very pregnant and couldn't teach my son to surf (I am a terrible surfer when I'm not pregnant so maybe that wasn't a bad thing lol), and a girl helped teach him. I wound up writing a character based off her in Highland Games. My surfer girl heroine who worked part time at the library.” ~ Laura Hunsaker

“Lost and Found is loosely based on my internet dating experience when I was single in my early 40's. Cari decides, after 15 years of being a widow, she's going to get back out there. Her daughters explain to her that internet dating is like window shopping and trying on a coat. Let's just say the toads she met, but didn't kiss, were similar to some of my dates. All names were changed to protect the guilty. LOL” ~ Lucinda Race

“Back in the day while working for BET Books, I wrote women’s fiction. Often, I had to deliver four books a year. Truth being stranger than fiction, I turned to newspaper captions for ideas. Those of you may remember the Marla Hanson story. Marla was a model whose face was mutilated by her landlord over a rental deposit. This story sparked the idea for This Way Home. My heroine, Liza Hamilton makes a living as a model until she’s mugged in Central Park. When your livelihood depends on looks, sometimes it seems impossible to move on?” ~ Marcia King-Gamble

“Alex Storm, from Stolen Dreams, Book 3- Storms of New England has lots of my characteristics. He's very scheduled and organized and borderline OCD. He has a place for everything and if it's not there, he can’t function. He has little quirks that come straight from me. Folding straw wrappers, fixing the clasp on a necklace so it’s in the back, sorting pens and pencils on his desk, tapping his fingers in a rhythm simultaneously. And when he freaked about losing his planner, that whole anxiety scene came straight from my head and my experience. I totally identify with Alex.” ~ Kari Lemor

“It’s safe to say I soak up sights, sounds, scents, and people’s behaviors and physical traits EVERYWHERE I go. While some characters have snippets of those I know best, most are a combination of MANY stored thoughts, memories, and experiences. They come from strangers. Some from me. One exception is Dr. Rick Hauser from Hellfire and Handbaskets. He’s an Army Medic Veteran, and he’s based on a few fine, brave men I have the honor to call friends. Their shared experiences and memories helped create the man I envisioned in my story. A powerful hint of truth in fiction.”
~ Kathryn Hills

“None of my characters are based on me, but some characters' may share a personality trait with me once in a while. For instance, in Hot August Night, which I wrote for Last Chance Beach: Summer's End, heroine Chelsea Elliot says something but suppresses part of what she wanted to say because it wasn't exactly nice. I find myself speaking, for instance to the bank officer who told me he was going to write a book as soon as he had time, and saying, "I hope you find the time soon." In my mind, I'm adding, ‘You dumb jerk! As if time were the only requirement for writing a book?’" ~ Joan Reeves

“I think all of my characters have a little bit of me in them, but the most obvious was Eden Sinclair in Man Wanted. I never thought about it until one of my children pointed out that when she was stressed, Eden got great satisfaction not just from cleaning and organizing her closets, but also from sitting and staring at what a good job she did. Like someone else they knew.” ~ Hannah Rowan 

Okay, it's your turn to join the conversation! Add your comments below or send via email through the "contact us” link on the bottom of the left sidebar. You can also make suggestions on what you'd like to discuss here in the future.

 Thanks for joining us!

 ~ The Romance Gems ~

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  1. This was great! I enjoyed reading this post. Seems like we all draw from someone or something. Which is good because it makes the stories more real.

  2. Another great conversation to go with cup #3 !!! Love how we all deal with building our characters a bit differently.

  3. I love the way our comments are as varied as the group of us are.

  4. Since some of my characters have lived, ahem, less-than-stellar lives (like former car thieves and con men) I'm not really saying where I get my inspiration. Except to say it's fun to come from a working class 'hood sometimes. Where "home" is can be a rich vein for characters.

  5. Of course "be careful or I'll put you in a book" is a good threat. Interesting variety of approaches!

  6. As always a fun read. I give my characters things I wish I had. Thick hair. Excellent shot with guns. Brave enough to confront killers and anyone who threatens their family. I'd be hiding from them.

  7. All of you did such a great job with this month's subject. I loved reading these.

  8. Such interesting reading. This group inspires me. We are all talented in a variety of areas. But the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I love creating characters and developing them.

  9. I'm reading a murder mystery/thriller right now, so this post made me laugh. A touch of the psychotic?

  10. Thanks, Kathy. I love this monthly gabfest.


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