To write their story you will have to know your characters intimately. For this, you need to do more than fill out a character worksheet with all their physical characteristics, their birth sign, their place in the family hierarchy, the names of their siblings. — from Liz Fielding’s Little Book of Writing Romance
My new book, started at the beginning of the year, has a ready-made heroine (always a help!) Sorrel is the younger sister of Elle Amery – the heroine of Tempted By Trouble – so I know quite a lot about her before I start. She’s tall, willowy, with dark red hair and a wicked sense of humour that she does her best to keep strapped down.
She’s totally focussed on her career, determined to be a success and to never have to rely on anyone else. To never be poor. (She’s been there, done that…) She was a student when we last met her, taking a business management degree and determined to make her first million by the time she’s twenty-five.
Her sister’s creation of Scoop!, an ice-cream events business, gave her big ideas and by the time Elle is ready to take a back seat and concentrate on being a mother, she is ready to take over the management of the business and propel it out of the local, small business category and into the big time.
But it takes more than a driving ambition to make a heroine. She has to be someone your reader can empathise with, someone with those little failings, weaknesses that we all have. She has to be human.
Sorrel has always had style — she’s an expert at spotting classic bargains in charity shops and wearing them like a model. The budget isn’t as tight as it once was, but she’d still rather hunt down a great “previously owned” find in the local Oxfam shop, or on eBay than shop in the local high street (one of the suits she finds gets her into trouble from the word go). For clothes, that is.
Shoes are something else and the minute I saw this pair of gorgeous Mui Mui sandals, I knew she would live on bread and water for a month in order to have them.
What heroine weakness would make her your natural best friend?
What would you give up your lunchtime chocolate bar, your double skinny latte, for?
I’ll put all the comments in a hat and draw one on Monday. The winner will get the book of her choice from my backlist.