I gave my post the title I did because that's what all authors do--we create people out of thin air. I hope that my characters are real to my readers. With as much time as I spend in the heads of my people, I feel like I know them intimately. And they depend on me to allow them to live in the minds of the readers who enjoy their stories. Win-win for all of us! (In fact, I deal with that idea in my upcoming story of a romance novelist's romance, complicated by her characters who feel free to comment on her life in her mind, and insist she write them the way they want to be written.)
But how do I do this? In a number of ways. As an author, I can take inspiration for a new character from anywhere. I might see someone walking down the street and wonder about them--or catch a glimpse of a face or a physique in media of any kind. Though women are not supposed to be as visually-oriented as men are, I'm always attracted to sexy men. And they can be any race or age. What's sexy to me is confidence. I'm attracted to men who seem as if they believe in themselves, and would welcome having an equally confident woman as their mate. I create my male characters to be someone I'd fall in love with. I create my female characters as someone I'd like to be, living a life I'd enjoy.
I've done this in other books as well. One woman I know lost her husband to a terrible disease. She isn't a nurse, but she helped him face death bravely, even though they were getting divorced. I used that as a plot point in one of my books. I have a WIP that I'm working on that includes a story about what happened to a woman I know who had made the decision early on, to bring up her child bi-lingual. The father's mother was dismayed, leading to family trouble. That's only one detail out of many that helped me to create a heroine who is tri-lingual.
In my Reyes Family Romances, I write the saga of a large Hispanic family, and the romances had by the various members of the family, pursuing their own HEA. When I need for them to speak español, I've sent emails to a professor I know who taught my Conversational Spanish class, and asked him what someone might say in a certain situation. I was surprised when he told me that with a heroine named Catalina, while her siblings who are more Americanized might call her Cat, her parents, and certainly her grandparents who came from Mexico, would instead call her Cata.
And since I write romance, I inhabit both people in a relationship, while I write their story. In a very real sense, a little bit of me is in every heroine I write. And I fall in love with each hero I create. My husband, who reads all of my books, doesn't mind as long as I only cheat on him with my book boyfriends. Though he has joked that no man has to ask anymore, what it is that makes any woman happy. All he has to do is read a romance novel--especially one that woman wrote!
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So now that you've read my blog, hop along to the others, to find out what they have to say about this subject!
Anne Stenhouse http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Diane Bator https://dbator.blogspot.com/
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-2TY
Marci Baun http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
A.J. Maguire http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog