Tuesday, February 22, 2011

DEVELOPING UNIQUE CHARACTERS



Please welcome guest blogger Amie Louellen to our Roses Valentine Tour, Week Four.

Author Amie Louellen
Amie loves nothing more than a good book. Except for her family…and maybe homemade tacos…and shoes. But reading and writing are definitely high on the list. When she's not creating quirky characters and happy endings she enjoys going to little league baseball games and boy scout meetings. Born and bred in Mississippi, Amie is a transplanted Southern Belle who now lives in Oklahoma with her deputy husband, their genius son, a spoiled cat, and one very hyper beagle.
 
  DEVELOPING UNIQUE CHARACTERS



Ogres have layers
Ogres are like onions…” Shrek told donkey. “…They have layers.

And so do the most interesting characters.


But I have to tell you—all characters are interesting. The big burly biker, the blue haired, bingo playing granny, the metro/gay male BFF. They add reality to the story because we’ve seen these people. We know this granny, this friend, this biker.

But it’s the layers, the parts underneath, that make them truly unique. For instance, the big burly biker collects Beanie Babies or is afraid of spiders. The blue haired granny has a black belt in karate or drag races on the weekends. And the gay BFF is bouncer at a night club and has more tattoos than natural skin. These traits make them interesting because they’re unexpected. {Disclaimer—I write funny (please, God, let it be as funny as I think it is) and whimsical romance. Because of this, my characters cannot be too serious or take things too seriously. Even themselves. But a more…ahem, serious writer might choose more… ahem, serious traits to add depth to their characters.}


Adrenoline
junkie granny
In BRODIE'S BRIDE, my upcoming June release from TWRP, Brodie’s grandmother is an adventure junkie. Well into her seventies, she loves to sky dive, go white water rafting, and generally make Brodie worry over her non-grandmotherly activities. (Clever, huh? How I got my promo in here so smoothly.)


Interesting characters come out of the people we see everyday. I just watched a show—an entire one hour documentary, mind you—about the oldest bank robber. He was in his eighties when he started robbing banks. Let me just say, you can’t make this stuff up! J L Rountree once had everything. He lost it in the oil crash, then decided the only thing left to do was rob banks. He looked like my Popaw. Same black-framed glasses, same high-waisted pants, same cantankerous disposition.


J. L. Rountree's mug shot--
You can't make up this stuff!
 One time when Rountree was arrested (and, yes, he was arrested more than once and still continued his crime spree), he reprimanded the officer for pointing a gun at him. Rountree said, with incredulous disgust tainting his Texas drawl, “I have never, ever owned a pistol.” Here’s a man who just robbed a bank. Walked in and handed the teller an envelope with “Robbery” printed on it in big red letters, and he’s offended because the police officer thinks he might be armed? I’m still shaking my head over that one. And with a smile on my face. It seems that bank robbers—like onions and ogres—have layers too, and that’s a layer even I didn’t see coming.


Addendum—The quote “Truth is stranger than fiction.” came to mind as I started this blog. Of course, I wanted to include it. So I went online to find out who said it. I found that Mark Twain said, “Truth is more of a stranger than fiction.” But that doesn’t mean the same thing at all. So where did that quote come from? I don’t know. Still everyone agrees that truth can “out strange” anything in the human imagination. But there are limitations. Mark Twain did say, “Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities, truth isn’t.”


Amie, thanks for a great post, which reminded me of one of my favorite writerly quotes. When asked the difference between fiction and life, Tom Clancy remarked, "That's easy. Fiction has to make sense."

 Amie has a blurb for us from BRODIE'S BRIDE:

Available in June from
The Wild Rose Press
Waking up next to a beautiful golden-haired stranger isn’t the worst thing that has ever happened to Brodie Harper, but staying in a fake marriage in order to gain a new construction contract could very well be.


Savanna Morgan just wanted a way out of an engagement to a man she didn’t love. Marrying Brodie seemed liked the perfect answer at the time. Less perfect the next morning when she finds herself disowned by her father and flat broke. Now she must make it through the weekend. Monday they can get it all annulled and forget it ever happened.

The real problem may be keeping their hands off each other until then.


And now the excerpt from BRODIE'S BRIDE:

“Married,” the official supplied with a happy nod.

For the first time since the blonde had screamed and set off the pounding in his head, Brodie noticed the band that circled the fourth finger of his left hand. Married. Images of a scarlet chapel and gold rings flitted through his mind. Lost in the fog of straight shots of tequila, the whole ordeal seemed liked a dream. But if what the man said was true...


Holy heaven. The last time Brodie had gotten drunk had been the day his grandfather died. Then, he’d only acquired a tattoo, but this time... Married? And to a hooker? A gorgeous hooker. An expensive hooker by the depleted state of his wallet, but a hooker none-the-less.


“Where’s my dress?”


Brodie half-turned as his hooker-bride stumped down the stairs, her naked glory covered by the rumpled satin sheet. One red, high-rise pump was missing.


“I wouldn’t know,” he replied, his headache tripling.


“You took it off. You find it.” She punched him hard in the chest with one red lacquered fingernail.


“You want it. You find it,” he countered.


“That dress was an Armani. And you—”


Brodie leaned away from the blonde and closer to the man behind the counter. “Are you sure we’re married?”


“Quite certain.”


“Married?” she squeaked.


“One hundred percent sure?” Brodie added.


“It was a lovely ceremony.”


“Married?”


Damn, Brodie thought. He was too nice of a guy, but he couldn’t stand the panic he heard in her voice. He faced her and took her left hand in his own, turning them both so she could see their identical rings. “Seems we tied the knot last night, sunshine.”



Amie, what an intriguing excerpt--it does sound funny and lots of fun. I can't wait to read this book! Readers, if you wish to learn more about Amie, here are her contacts:
Author email amielouellen@gmail.com

amie louellen--author FaceBook
www.amielouellen.com
http://amielouellen.wordpress.com/
www.twitter.com/AmieLouellen

Another winner!


Last week's winner of $30.00 was Ann C. Congratulations, Ann! Your prizes of $15 each from two of our parrticipating authors should have reached you by now. Enjoy choosing books from The Wild Rose Press catalog. Thanks for your comment.

 

And now for the other part of today's tour. We hope you'll stop by each blog site and read the post and leave a comment. Each comment will be entered into the drawing. So, stop by and leave a comment on each blog to maximize your chances to win.


Blog Tour Schedule for Wednesday, February 23rd:

Meet author AJ Nuest at http://amielouellen.wordpress.com/


Meet author Lynne Roberts at http://authorjenniferjakes.blogspot.com/

Meet paranormal romance author Maeve Greyson at http://www.ajbooks.blogspot.com/


Meet author Amy Corwin at http://lynneroberts.blogspot.com/


Meet contemporary and paranormal romance author Jill James at http://maevegreyson.blogspot.com/


Meet romantic suspense author Kat Duncan at http://amycorwin.blogspot.com


Meet contemporary YA an adult romance author Linda Kage at www.jilljameswrites.com


Meet paranormal, and historical romance author Caroline Clemmons at http://www.katduncan.net/writeabout Please don't leave me sitting there alone!


Meet historical and paranormal romance writer Lilly Gayle at http://lindakage.blogspot.com/


Meet erotic western historical author Jennifer Jakes at www.lillygayleromance.blogspot.com



Thanks for stopping by!

8 comments:

rbooth43 said...

Amie, I love that you write funny and whimsical romance. BRODIE'S BRIDE sounds like a great, funny read, just what I need now!

Linda Kage said...

OMG, I actually KNOW that blue-haired adrenaline junkie grandma. She worked part-time in the library as the book-repair lady where I worked in college and she had a hearing problem so you always had to YELL REALLY LOUD when you talked to her. Her name was Patti and she was always brining picture into work of her parasailing and taking these trips to Hawaii and stuff.

Lilly Gayle said...

Love the onion analogy.
Great post.

Sherry Cahill said...

I love those funny, quirky characters, and if you can't have fun while writing, what's the point? Humor is such an underrated but essential characteristic to take that novel to the next level.

Great post!

Amy said...

Once again, I'm astounded at my computer limitations. I really wanted to leave a separate comment for each of you but alas...

Ms. Booth--thank you so much. I don't always want to read something heavy and earth-shattering. Sometimes I just want to enjoy myself for a few hours.

Linda--that's hysterical! I love characters that aren't at all who them seem. My grandmother used to climb up in the apple trees when the chickens would roost. Once they were there, she would grab one for dinner. She did that instead of running around the yard trying to catch them. She was in her 60s at the time.

Thanks, Lilly. Unfortunately, no one has ever told me to grow up, so I'd rather watch Shrek and cartoons than "age appropriate" shows.

And thanks to Sherry--I love a funny romance. I'm glad you do too!

So glad everyone stopped by today!

Bobbye Terry said...

Okay, I do funny, too, and this is funny. :) LOVED IT! You have my vote and my purchase. :) Great job!
Bobbye

Amy said...

Thanks, Bobbye. I love the funny stuff too, but it's hard to know if what I think is funny will make other people laugh as well! It's good to know that I gave you a giggle today!

Sandra Crowley said...

Amy, Great post! Funny, fun, informative. I wish you all the best.