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.
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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
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