Welcome to Author Louisa George

Hi everyonejane

That time again.  This week I’m absolutely delighted to bring author Louisa George to you.  I’ve known Louisa for quite a few years now and when she received THE CALL from Harlequin Medical a few years ago I was dancing for joy for her.  (just a note here… LEAVE A COMMENT – because Louisa is giving away a book to one lucky person)

 I’ve asked Louisa to tell us about how she creates characters.

 Character Forming

 Louisa George photoHi Jane! Thanks so much for inviting me here- hello from Auckland, New Zealand where the sun is shining and we’re just moving into fall!

Today I’m going to share a little about creating characters Louisa George style.

For me, characters aren’t just important to the story- they are the story. If, as we are told, there are really only 7 true plots, characters are what make those plots unique and different for each author’s books. Characters and their actions/reactions to a situation, in genre fiction at least, are what draw the reader in and keep them hooked to the end. Why? Because without character you don’t have emotion. And emotion is what romance readers expect.

There are lots of how-to books to help with character development, I use one called ‘45 Master Characters’ by Victoria Lynn Schmidt if I’m looking for character trait inspiration.

People often ask me if I base my characters on an individual /friend / relative. Heck no! I’d be sued! Instead I look for inspiration from everywhere/anywhere- magazine images, overheard conversations, an emotion (such as jealousy or revenge), or the news.  In my current release, The Last Doctor She Should Ever Date I kind of based heroine Dani’s family on the Kardashians! I wondered what it would be like if you were the only member of that family who didn’t seek fame and fortune and notoriety. So Dani was born!

I often start with an image or a feeling to develop character. In my third book, The War Hero’s Locked-Away Heart I began my story with an image that I just couldn’t get out of my head.  A woman is jogging along a seemingly deserted beach (although she hates jogging) and she sees a man standing on a rocky outcrop staring out to sea. He looks disheveled and haunted and her interest is piqued.

I began to ask myself a few questions:

-why would a woman be jogging if she hated it

-why would she be intrigued by someone standing on a rock

-why was he there

-why was he disheveled

I already knew a couple of things: the heroine, Skye was a secondary character in another book I wrote and she became quite real to me so I just had to write her story. But until I began I had no idea what her story was.  I also knew she was an unconventional heroine- she had short black spiky hair and a pierced nose. (Yeah, why I wrote her like that in the first book I don’t know, but it came back to haunt me lots of times!).

Turns out that Skye has a nurturer personality. She has looked after her dying mother and then taken on the care of her 3 younger teenage brothers. She’s also a nurse at the local GP practice. That’s why she’s intrigued by the loner on the rock. Does he need helping? Because she’s the one to do it. Only, she’s out jogging because she’s getting fit to go travelling, leave all her nurturing days behind and have an adventure with an exotic Mediterranean man somewhere far away.

Hero- Adam. I just had a ‘feeling’ about him. I knew he’d suffered something terrible.  So I asked him a load of questions until he told me what it was.

I don’t always do character questionnaires, although they can be useful to get to know a character. But I prefer to ‘write myself’ into the character’s head a little –a few pages, maybe a chapter until I can see them more clearly, what they like, and don’t like, what they want. What motivates them. What are their goals etc. Often from their goals you can derive a great conflict. Eg: Army medic Adam was suffering from survivor’s guilt after his platoon went down, he has wandered aimlessly through the last 4 years and now needs to put roots down.

So we have a basic external conflict: Skye wants to leave. Adam wants to stay. For me, that’s a good enough basis to start writing!

I’ve just finished my 6th book for publication and I’m trying to think which character is my favourite. They’re like my children, though, I can’t have a favourite! I think the most fun to write was Dani, she had a wild past and such a bubbly personality I couldn’t help but love her.

Category books are great for finding well-written characters. In 55,000 words you can only generally deal with the two main protagonists’ story of falling in love – but we do get to know them very well. It’s important to make readers empathise immediately so I always like to put them in some sort of predicament on page 1. I particularly admire authors who write great characters, such as the great Liz Fielding and Kate Hardy. When I read their books I know I’m in for a deeply emotional ride with characters I will immediately love.

I was once told that to find the true strength of your main character you have to be mean to them. Throughout the course of the book you have to give them a variety of obstacles to face, and they have to a) get steadily worse and b) be the worse possible things they could ever imagine! I started out resisting this idea because I didn’t want to hurt my babies, but now I get tougher and meaner. Mainly, however, in category romance, the tests are to their emotions- I make them want to trust but be unable to, to want to let go, but struggle against it. Then when they finally do, things go bad. And then worse. (hee, hee). But it’s testament to their inner strength that they can get over all their character faults and let love in, just before I write those wonderful words The End.

Visit Louisa’s website www.louisageorge.com

Louisa’s latest release, The Last Doctor She Should Ever Date Last Doctor US

And here:

All about Louisa George

Having tried a variety of careers in retail, marketing and nursing (where a scratchy starched uniform was mandatory), Louisa is now thrilled that her dream job of writing for Harlequin Mills and Boon means she gets to go to work in her pyjamas.

 Originally from Yorkshire, England, Louisa now lives in Auckland, New Zealand, with her husband, two sports-mad teenage sons and two male cats. Writing romance is her opportunity to covertly inject a hefty dose of pink into her heavily testosterone-dominated household.

When she’s not writing or reading Louisa loves to spend time with her family and friends, enjoys traveling, and adores eating great food (preferably cooked by someone else). She’s also hopelessly addicted to zumba.

Visit her at www.louisageorge.com

 

Thanks to Louisa for some great character insight.  Now you won’t think your authors are mean to their characters when they leave them in a burning house, or kill off the only person they’ve ever loved – until the hero comes along of course!

Happy reading everyone AND DON’T FORGET – LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW AND ONE OF YOU WILL WIN ONE OF LOUISA’S FABULOUS BOOKS – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BY ME!  – GOOD LUCK – WINNER CHOSEN 6PM SUNDAY 7th EST.

Jane Beckenham

PS – ROMEO FOR HIREromeo

Scorching sex: definitely on the menu. Hold the love, please…

Workaholic Carly Mason is caught between a rock and a hard place. The rock: an invitation for four days of sun and sand with her friends and their men. The hard place: “Mr. Invisible”, who lusts after her with delicious abandon, doesn’t exist—Carly invented him to keep her friends off her back about her lack of a love life.

Then she encounters a motorbike-riding Adonis whose image taunts her during the wee small hours. When fate drops him in her sights the next day, she grabs the opportunity to offer him a job. Pretend to be her Romeo, just for the duration of her getaway.

Exhausted from months negotiating his multi-million-dollar company’s expansion, Marco Valente is more than tempted by Carly’s outrageous proposal. If nothing else, it’ll give him a temporary escape from his high-profile life—and his mother’s serial-bride attitude.

Once on the island, Carly realizes her well-meaning friends have tricked her into a “relaxing” vacation. For the next four days and nights, it’s just her and her hired Romeo. And a growing connection that definitely wasn’t part of the contract…

 

16 comments


  • TashNz (@TashNz)

    Hi Jane and Louisa. What a neat insight to the making of characters. I absolutely loved the character of Skye, she was original, it’s not often the main character has short hair OR a pierced nose. I’ve also been lucky enough to read The Last Dr She Should Ever Date and Dani was a delight to read. Good luck with the new release :))) P.S Loving the sound of Romeo For Hire, Jane.

    April 4, 2013
  • Hi Tash, thanks for stopping by. Yes, i loved the way Louisa talks about her character development. So much we can learn from that.
    And a pierced nose – sounds just like my youngest!

    Have a great day
    Jane

    April 4, 2013
  • Hi Tash! Hi Jane!

    Tash- I’m so glad you liked Skye, once I’d got over the fact that I’d created someone a little different I really enjoyed writing her story. I think it’s possibly my favourite so far….may be….LOL Glad you enjoyed Last Dr!

    April 4, 2013
  • Hi Louisa & Jane – great post. Developing characters is one of my favourite things to do. I usually start with one of the sixteen archetypes and work from there. But movies and television can also be great resources for building a character profile (That’s my excuse for watching soapies :))
    Some wonderful insights Louisa and I am so looking forward to reading The Last Doctor She Should Ever Date (Great title too!)

    April 5, 2013
    • Hi Helen! Thanks for stopping by- oooh, I never thought about watching soaps for character development! What a great excuse for…er….research!

      April 5, 2013
  • Jane Beckenham

    Hi Helen.
    Don’t you just love that cover of Louisa’s book. Man i would so like a doctor that looks like that!

    Jane

    April 5, 2013
    • I know- so yummy!!!!!! I’m very lucky…

      April 5, 2013
  • Interesting Louisa –

    I think there are as many ways of forming characters as there are writers, but I like yours. Obviously it works well.

    April 5, 2013
    • Hi Frances! Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth- other times it feels very natural.

      April 5, 2013
  • Sigh….your cover is dreamy, Louisa. I’ve GOT to get my hands on this book!
    I love the way your characters come to you. It makes the writing process that much more exciting don’t you think? 🙂

    April 5, 2013
    • Jane Beckenham

      Laverne, apologies for not approving comment earlier, but i’ve been up north with my sick mum
      I agree, the cover is scrummy

      Jane

      April 7, 2013
    • Hi LaVerne! Thanks for stopping by! It’s amazing that different writers have completely different processes, isn’t it? And yes, the cover fairies were definitely on my side for this baby!

      April 7, 2013
  • Thanks for sharing this Louisa. This insight into how Skye and Adam were created really makes me want to read the book! Isn’t it amazing how characters can just drop into your mind like that fully formed – you just have to get to know them.

    April 5, 2013
    • Jane Beckenham

      Hi Charlotte, thanks for popping in. It is neat isn’t it to hear how characters are created.

      Jane

      April 7, 2013
    • Hi Charlotte- makes you wonder just how many people we have in our heads!! LOL

      April 7, 2013
  • Jane Beckenham

    Want to thank the wonderful Louisa George for stopping by this week. Louisa has used random.org to pick a winner and the lovely LaVerne has won a copy of Louisa’s book.
    LaVerne, can u email me directly, and i’ll forward your email to Louisa.

    Thanks everyone for partaking.

    Jane Beckenham

    April 7, 2013

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