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
“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 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
“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
“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
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~ The Romance Gems ~
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