Ten favorite characters in my books
Updated: Aug 4, 2020
I met fellow debut-author, Bex Drate, during an online publishing workshop in April 2020. She has a very warm, sparkly personality, and I was eager to see how her website reflected this. One of her blogs was all about the Ten Things Challenge, a concept quite popular on Twitter in which one lists ten different things per day for a month. Many of the things she had listed were general topics such as foods, flowers, etc. But some were related to writing, and I was immediately motivated to include a few in my own future blogs. Bex agreed that I could take a sampling of topics from her list and grow them into full blog posts. What follows is the first in a series spaced out over the next several months.
I liked the idea of ten favorite characters from my books, because the truth is, every writer has favorites. They are the ones we like to write about and get excited about when an upcoming scene is going to include them. They are often quirky. Many a time they portray characteristics we admire in others or wish we had ourselves. Perhaps they ARE like us, and we give those characters a little private nod of acknowledgement.
1) In First Impressions, however, Mr. William Cole is nothing like me at all! He is devastatingly handsome, smoothly charming, and playfully mischievous (ok, that last one is actually a lot like me). But we never quite feel we can trust him. I like that he is a bit of a mystery. He allows me to tease out the other characters’ strengths and weaknesses.
2) My other favorites in this book are two minor characters who I am going to group together as one.
I had great fun writing Alfred the coachman and Dirk the gamekeeper. Both of them have strong lower class accents. Their lack of pretension is especially refreshing within a genre that necessarily uses very formal language. Here is an example of each fellow’s particular turn of phrase:
Alfred the coachman: “They was taking the horses out of their harnesses, when one of the beauts rears up and strikes the bugger … um, sorry miss … I mean, the man … he strikes at one of the men with his hooves.”
Dirk the gamekeeper: “These foreign wimmen are nothing but trouble with their strange customs and wotnot.”
3) In A New Day, the main character crept right into my heart. Miss Anna Rose Garrett is a gentle, accommodating soul. Because she is often guided by others, one may be fooled into thinking her weak. But she has great inner strength and fortitude. Her story, which covers several years of painful life lessons, is nevertheless filled with her steady warmth. I mourned with her, and at the same time admired her. She is a definite personal favorite.
4) Mr. Colin Whitfield. Oh dear. Anna’s tormentor. Himself so sorely tormented by his own insecurity. Would it help if I say that this is not all there is to him? Besides Anna, he is the most well-developed character in the book. Secretly, I was rooting for him all the way.
5) Ah, Mr. Oliver Bradshawe! Would that the world were filled with Oliver Bradshawes! He certainly is that rarest of creatures: a true gentleman. Is he too good to be true? Let’s hope not. We could all use a little more genuine kindness and selflessness. Mr. Bradshawe rekindles my hope for humanity.
The remainder of my favorites are all in my four-part series, Armor of God. Since I spent eight years with these books, I (unsurprisingly) grew very attached to the characters.
6) Evander, the reluctant hero, was initially more my children’s favorite than mine. He was sulky and rebellious and made me cross. My children were delighted! But he was also just a boy who had some growing up to do. While I nurtured him towards greater maturity, I thought, really, how fragile he was. And when he ultimately became a better person, I was just as proud of him as if I had been his own mother!
7) Anshelm, the Garmani orphan, always wears his heart upon his sleeve. He speaks plainly and takes everything literally. But most of all, I love his broken English. At times, it was tricky to have him express complex thoughts, but there is also great humor in his tattered vocab.
8) Gevork. The slaver. Now here is a real dark horse. Why do we like him so much? How do we reconcile his contemptable profession with his fatherly instincts? Gevork is a complex character, which requires careful writing, but also the opportunity for great intrigue. As an author, what’s not to love?
9) Just as actors love to play baddies because there is usually more “meat” to the role, so the evil characters in books can be great fun to write. They give you permission to explore some of the darker elements of human nature, while at the same time firmly condemning them. Bazeh, leader of a band of mercenaries, is an apex predator. There is nothing that softens or excuses his actions. We are appalled by his lack of conscience. As an author, I imagine the shock and horror my readers will experience as his nature is revealed. Add to that a dash of sardonic humor, and I have a villain everyone will love to hate!
10) One of my all-time favorite characters must be Emasdouhi [E-mas-doo-wee]. This tiny but tough woman does not mince words. Yet she has a big heart. She makes some horrendous life choices, and we are tested in our fondness for her, but the sincerity with which she tries to redeem herself helps us to forgive her.
Is there a favorite character from any book you’ve read? What made them so appealing? Comment below and share with us which characters have stayed in your mind for years.