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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

THE FRIENDS INSIDE MY HEAD and a Giveaway by Charlene Sands

I know that’s a screwy title, but I was thinking about the mind of a writer and how we observe everything.  It gets me in trouble a lot, especially when dear hubby catches me eyeing a gorgeous man.  But what I am really calculating is his “hero-ness”.  Why is he appealing?  What physical traits does he have? How does he move?  How does he speak?  Is he cocky or arrogant and a real alpha, or the kind of Beta man who doesn’t realize his own appeal?

I do this with women too, but for some odd reason, hubby doesn't mind me noticing them.  It  doesn't register with him, so I get away with it a lot more.  But again, when I see a celebrity whether it be on TV or movie or even meet an interesting woman in real life, I’m wondering if she could be my heroine.  What traits does she have?   Does she bat her eyes or push her hair away from her face when she’s nervous?  Is her voice pitchy or do the sounds come out soft and smooth?  Is her smile infectious?  Is she a good friend? Does she own a business?  Is she a single mom, raising a child?  

When I create my characters, often I don’t know them really well until midway into the story.  As the pages turn, I learn and observe and I find motivation.  Usually, I have an idea of what my hero/heroine will do in a certain circumstance…but not always.  My characters often surprise me.  Which is weird in itself, because I’m the author, I’m designing the story and I am in control…or am I?
Friends from RWA- LARA Chapter 

Too many times my characters say or do something I didn’t know they would.  For instance, in The Cowboy Contract, when it was time for Trey and Maddie to consummate their relationship, there was a big whopping Texas storm brewing and Trey was anxious to get Maddie home to safety.  I had visions of them getting together by a crackling fire in the warmth of his home. The romantic mood would be set.   But Trey had other thoughts.  The storm brought out his baser needs as Trey began to recognize his strong feelings for Maddie.  With both trapped inside the cab of his truck, things sort of spiraled out of my control. Trey took over and the romantic scene I’d envisioned in my head, wound up being a hot, sensual love scene in the truck, rain pounding down all around them.  In this case, Trey knew better than I did.
On sale for the month of April for $.99. 


So why the title: The Friends Inside my Head?   Well, that’s because my characters are always with me.  All throughout the day, I’m thinking of them. What will they say? What will they do?  It’s a conscious and deliberate thing.  But there are times, when I hear someone speak a phrase or behave a certain way and it registers deep into my subconscious.  It’s stored away in there for the future, without me really even knowing it.  Then if there’s an opportunity for my hero or heroine to use it, I inadvertently summon it up and fit it into the scene. It’s odd how the brain works, isn't it? 

So I live my life with friends I adore. I have writer friends who get what loving the craft is all about, the obsession, the pitfalls, the amazing ups and devastating downs.  I have friends that I’ve known since grammar school. They are like family to me now and we have raised our children together.  I have friends in my neighborhood that have shared earthquakes and fires, births and deaths with me.  They are my cul-de-sac friends. 

And I have the friends inside my head.  My characters-- the people who populate my stories and who are my best friends and closest allies for the four months they live within me.  I adore them even when I have to make them do silly or inappropriate or shocking things.   The heroines are my girlfriends, people I’d love to spend time with; strong, feisty, kind women.  They are the type of woman a young girl would aspire to be.

The heroes are well…hot and hunky, alpha to an extreme, but they are amazingly tender and vulnerable too at times. They hide their soft spot until the heroine brings it out in them. They are men any woman would want to tame, adore, love. 

When I finish writing and polishing a story…I find myself missing my characters.  Why did that story have to end?  What’s next for them?  I go through a particular withdrawal wondering, who will be my next set of friends?  Will I love them as much? Will they have all the flaws and deep-seeded goodness to make them believable, lovable?

Yes, I have lots of friends and many of them…live inside my head.

Answer this one question and be entered to win either an ebook copy of The Cowboy Contract or the print copy of The Texas Renegade Returns.  If you could pick two celebrities to star in YOUR book, who would they be?  (Mine would be Chris Hemsworth and Emma Stone) 

Charlene Sands is a USA Today Bestselling author of series, contemporary and historical romance. She's the proud recepient of the National Readers’ Choice Award, the Bookseller’s Best Award and the Cataromance Reviewer’s Choice Award.  She is an active member of Romance Writers of America.   When not writing, she enjoys reading books from her favorite authors, sipping hot mocha cappuccinos, taking walks along the Pacific shores and date nights with her “hero” husband.  

Look for Charlene’s next Harlequin Desire, Redeeming the CEO Cowboy coming this August and be sure to sign up for her quarterly newsletter where she gives away prizes, and holds contests EXCLUSIVELY for her members at www.charlenesands.com  


***Charlene's winner is Traci Wilcox!  Please email totebag@authorsoundrelations.com with your mailing details!***



32 comments:

Mary Preston said...

I imagine that your characters never really leave you.

I would go with Hugh Jackman & Cate Blanchett.

Janine said...

I always like Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore together. Those two would pretty much sum up my silly life story.

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Mary - I think that would be a great couple. Love Hugh!!

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Janine - Fifty First Dates is one of my favorite movies. And the Wedding Singer, from back in the day. I do like those two together!! I think they'll be in another movie together soon.

Janie Emaus said...

My book is not finished yet, but I'd pick Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep and Sally Fields. If only!

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Janie.. well you certainly have good taste. What a great cast of characters they'd make. If only, is right!

Traci Wilcox said...

I would pick Judy Garland (I love her in The Wizard of Oz!) and Josh Holloway because he is good looking and great in the t.v. series Intelligence. Kind of an odd couple, but two of my favorites.

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Charlene!
I totally understand your friends inside your head. What drives me batty is when they're talking up a storm all day while I'm out or away from my computer, having fabulous conversations, and when I finally get in front of the computer, go mute. Dang it! Then I have to depend on my memory - and it always sounds better in my head.
I LOVE how your hero ripped the scene out of your hands. Those characters really do take on lives of their own sometimes, don't they?

JL Hammer said...

Hello Charlene,
I loved your post. You summed up my own writing relationship with my characters quite nicely. I'm going to have my hubby read this because he thinks I'm a little but strange. My characters for my book would be the flirty Matthew McConaughey and the spitfire Lucy Liu. BTW-Love the LARA picture. Congrats on The Texas Renegade Returns being selected as an RT top pick!

Robena Grant said...

I love this, Charlene. And I get it! Our characters do enter our lives and become friends, even if only for the length of that book. We have to learn to get quiet, and get out of their way, so that we can truly hear their voices. In my latest story I'd go with Ryan Reynolds and Jennifer Lawrence.

Samanthe Beck said...

Hi Charlene,

I go through the same sad period when I finish a story and have to say goodbye to my characters. I also worry about meeting my new characters. Will I like them? Will we do fun things together as I figure out their story, or is it going to be all work?!

As for casting my latest...I mentally cast Elisha Cuthbert as my stripper-turned-actress heroine and Sam Worthington, (Avatar), as my hot homicide detective hero. The characters were fun to work with, but they would NOT behave!

Linda O. Johnston said...

I definitely identify with your relationship with your characters, Charlene. And since I write ongoing mystery series as well as romances, some of my characters stay with me for a long time. It's always sad to see them leave!

erin said...

Thanks for a great post! and congrats on the new release :) I'd have to pick Chris Helmsworth and Jennifer Lawrence.

Charlene Sands said...

OH, Josh Hollaway is an amazing choice! And how interesting to pair him with Judy Garland, as we knew her in The Wizard of Oz!

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Lynne - I have that too, the scene is working just great in my head and then bam, when I get in front of the computer, I lose it. Makes me crazy. I need a tape recorder 24/7 to log into those times.

Charlene Sands said...

Hi J.L. Oh, yeah, please have hubby read this...and Matthew and Lucy...a great pairing too. Thanks for the congrats!!

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Robena - I'm thinking that Ryan and Jennifer...a good choice. I love her acting and he's adorable.

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Sam - oh well, where would you be, if your characters DID behave? Certainly not a Rita finalist!! I often struggle to like my characters in the beginning...because I have to live with them for months and it wouldn't be fun if they were creepy people.

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Linda- Yep, when I write a series, I do miss the family and the location when I'm done. I think it's harder for me to set a new location for a series, than to create characters. I sort of fall in love with the place too. But it's nice for you as an author to have them with you for the duration of the series.

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Erin -- Oh another Chris Hemsworth fan? I think I'm totally smitten. And Jennifer Lawrence is an amazing actress. She's got a lot going for her!

Robin Bielman said...

Hi Charlene! Hmm… my latest casting includes Matt Bomer and Olivia Wilde. And I had the best time with them! Think you could write me alongside Chris Hemsworth next time? ;) Loved reading this post!

Pamela DuMond, D.C. said...

Ah Chris Hemsworth - he of the beautiful shoulders. Good pick!

Laney4 said...

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood. Love their chemistry when they host country music award shows.

Kate Willoughby said...

I think maybe Anna Kendrick (from Pitch Perfect) and Channing Tatum. Yeah. Or ME and Channing. Even better. The movie would tank because I can't act my way out of a paper bag, but I wouldn't care. I'd have had kissing scenes with CHANNING TATUM.

Kate Willoughby said...

Okay, my eyes are so bad I totally read Matt BONER. LMAO

Charlene Sands said...

Oh Wow, Laney4. Never thought of that, but they are so funny and cute together!!

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Kate,
I guess you are a super fan of Channing Tatum! I kinda feel that very same way about Chris Hemsworth!! And Anna Kendrick, do I know her from Twilight movies?

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Pamela - And beautiful everything else! Ha!

Kate Willoughby said...

I think so. I think she was one of the friends (non-vampire or werewolf).

Alicia Reynolds said...

This post was brilliant, Charlene! It speaks to in so many ways. One time, my hero was in my dream. I was so excited that he was real (and gorgeous) and that I got to spend time with him. I'm the same way with not really knowing my characters and how they react to certain situations until about half way through. I just love being surprised by them. Hands down, for my current novel, my hero and heroine would be Armie Hammer and Rebecca Hall. :)

Carol L. said...

Enjoyed your post Charlene. I'd imagine my characters would stay with me also.
I'd choose Tom Mison from the Sleepy Hollow TV show and Katia Winter (who plays his wife on the show.
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

lag123 said...

George Clooney and Cameron Diaz.

lag110 at mchsi dot com