Ann’s family enjoys many outdoor activities: hiking, cycling, gardening, birdwatching, snow-shoeing and snowboarding as well as the many cultural activities WNY provides, attending theatre and concerts and visiting museums as often as possible. Inside their little cabin in the woods, it is all about cooking, music, and, of course, reading and writing. When Ann’s son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, the family embraced a healthier lifestyle, and that's also when she decided her dream of becoming a romance writer couldn't wait. Life's just too precious to waste one moment, and she completely embraces the concept of happily ever after.
Ann cut her teeth on the classics of romance literature and is still passionate about the genre. Her day job is professor of English at a community college. She attended the University of California at Los Angeles, earning a BA in English Literature. At Humboldt State University, she earned two MAs—one in English Literature and another in Composition and Rhetoric. Once she moved east, she earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College. Since then, she has published poems and non-fiction in various small publications.
Step One in Writing a Novel: Building Your Characters
My firm belief that a great story is character driven means I spend most of my plotting or outlining time on character development. When it’s time for me to start a new novel, I spend a full week on building my lead roles.
For the hero, I start with physical appearance, current occupation, family structure, childhood events, tragedies, triumphs, unmet goals, met goals, where he lived and lives currently, pets, pet peeves, past love-life and present love-life, one motto/maxim that drives him, and then I write a few pages titled “A Typical Day in the Life of…”
Answering these questions is a long and messy process, but lots of fun. Once I’ve written all that information down on my legal pad, I name him. His name should somehow reflect his character. I try a bunch of different combinations, ask my family, and take suggestions before I settle on a name. I always live with the name for a few days before I start drafting my story.
I follow a similar process for my heroine except I add an extra section on “Where (name) will be in Twenty Years.” My female protagonist always has a clear view of where she wants to be, and my male protagonist is living day by day, never forgetting past lessons.
Once I know so much about each character, I begin to imagine how they’ll meet on the first page of my novel. Their back-story is so rich in my mind, it’s easier to imagine them in a scenario that is exciting and has some risk and something at stake.
In my first contemporary romance novel, THE BILLIONAIRE'S BAUBLE, my hero is a rich oil company owner and CEO interviewing candidates for an executive assistant position; my heroine is trying to get the job. When she enters the office as part of the hiring process, she is shocked to find he’s the guy she met in a bar two years earlier, kissed, and never forgot. The story ensues. It is fun and sexy, and David and Sloane are people I hope my readers can love as much as I do.
If you want to write a novel, knowing your characters inside and out is key. Everything evolves from them. I promise: if you do the work up front to build rich characters, your story will be easier to write.
Thanks, Caroline, for allowing me to visit your blog and its readers. Readers, come visit me! I’d love to meet you!
|Available now from Soul Mate Publishing|
The blurb for BILLIONAIRE'S BAUBLE:
She wants a soul mate. He wants another bauble. But once fast-track billionaire David Grant meets modern day, home spun sweetheart Sloane Porter, he finds a gem too rare to discard.
The hero is David Grant, billionaire owner and CEO of Grant Oil. He meets Sloane Porter once, briefly, at a college bar in Fairbanks, Alaska, and their passions explode. She runs away after one dance, one kiss, but neither can forget the moments they shared, even though they don't know each other's names. Sloane decides to stay in Alaska in hopes of reuniting with her "mystery man." The novel opens two years after the kiss in the bar. Sloane, fresh out of college, trying to land a job that will keep her in Alaska, enters David's office, a final candidate for a position as an executive assistant. They are mutually shocked when they recognize one another, and again they let their incredible magnetism get the best of them. But Sloane won't run away this time, and she won't be any man's one night stand. David Grant doesn't know it, but the pretty bauble he seeks will become his most precious gem.
Buy link: http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/the-billionaires-bauble/
Learn more about Ann Montclair from her website http://www.annmontclair.com
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