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Sunday, January 27, 2019

Kid Characters

by Joanne Rock
My cartoonized profile
pic from a reader friend!


My first writing love will always be romance, so kid characters are never my central focus. But I dearly love it when I have a child in a story because they are so much fun to write. From teens to babies, the differences in personality, gestures and actions are so vastly different from one year to the next. Think about it… between the time you are thirty and forty, does all that much change about you? Maybe you tweak your hair cut or color. But in a child, the difference of ten years is a whole world. So to write any age authentically means research.

My first stop is often my family photo albums. Because what better case studies do I have than the kids that I raised? I had a front seat to watch them grow through all stages. To marvel at their new mastery of skills day by day, seeing how they changed from adorably dependent little baby bundles to the amazing young men they are today.

Bachelor dad falls for nanny
to his nephew
For my January release, THE RANCHER’S BARGAIN, the story set up was given to me because it is part of the Texas Cattleman’s Club series. That means the Harlequin editors dream up the rough concepts and outline character basics, then I write a fifty thousand word story based on a couple of outlined pages. It’s a fun challenge. And for this particular story, I was given a toddler named Teddy.

In one important way, he was very different from any of my boys in that he’d lost his birth parents at a young age. When we meet him, he’s been given to his bachelor uncle to raise—a good-hearted with man with no knowledge of parenting. Is it any wonder my toddler character acts out in unpredictable ways after so much injustice in his young life?

But in so many other ways, Teddy was a boy I absolutely recognized. While my heart hurt for all Teddy had lost, he also has the gift of toddlerhood that allows him to find joy in the moment no matter what happened the day before. Tears to giddy laugher and back again comes with the age. So when my baby-loving nanny steps onto the scene, she can find this boy’s smile in no time.

One of my three favorite toddlers-- my middle
son being sweetly adorable. Yes, that's a
sock in his mouth.
I love the irreverent goofiness of this age. The way a toddler will go full throttle at whatever they try—running down a hill, climbing a bookcase (you know they try it), throwing their sippy cups across a crowded restaurant. It’s amazing what a toddler can do. Who would guess their arm had enough range to ping the man seated at the next table? Toddlers can be exasperating, yes. But so amazing and fun. And you won’t find a more loving age than this one, when sticky hugs and kisses are given with abandon, declarations of love made on a regular basis once the find their words. It’s enough to make a mother’s heart—or a nanny’s, or a bachelor’s—swell with joy.

**Do you have any toddlers in your life? Enjoy a certain age of childhood in particular? Share with me in the comments and I’ll give a random poster a copy of an earlier Texas Cattleman’s Club book, Expecting a Scandal. In the meantime, I hope you’ll keep an eye out for THE RANCHER’S BARGAIN in stores!

22 comments:

Emily Stemp said...

Hi Joanne. love the cover

Unknown said...

Not at this time, but I do have a kitten right now that is at the age of a toddler ..lol
Patricia Bennett Barber

girlfromwva said...

i do not have any toddlers at the moment. all 4 of mine are grown. i sure do miss them being little. i think my favorite age was when they were 5, before they started school. they were able to do things for themselves & come up with some crazy ideas.

Diana Tidlund said...

No toddlers of my own but I have newborn nephew , 1 year old great niece , 4 year old niece and great nephew ( yes my brother and my nephew had kids at the same time . And those are just the ones here my sister has a 5 year old named Luna and a 2 year old named Cedric in Florida.

Linda Popielski said...

My favorite toddler is my children's little cousin. She discovered i will read endless amounts of books and since she loves them It's what i always gift her at least one of.

dstoutholcomb said...

I have two younger brothers, and the one immediately below me--middle child--became a first-time dad two years ago. I have a toddler niece. Adorable. Unfortunately, I don't get to see her that much. But, she seems to have my curls (her daddy had curls, too).

denise

Donamae Kutska said...

I have a 23 month old granddaughter she’s amazing and fun. You have to wonder what is she thinking? She’ll laugh and you don’t know why! She’s always walking and running around the room stopping to play with a toy or rest for a bit on the couch. Bellemere loves books and the show beat bugs with beatle songs. When a song comes on she’ll run and look like it’s the first time. She has red hair and is cute as a bug in the rug, lol.

Donamae Kutska said...

I have a 23 month old granddaughter she’s amazing and fun. You have to wonder what is she thinking? She’ll laugh and you don’t know why! She’s always walking and running around the room stopping to play with a toy or rest for a bit on the couch. Bellemere loves books and the show beat bugs with beatle songs. When a song comes on she’ll run and look like it’s the first time. She has red hair and is cute as a bug in the rug, lol.

Mary Preston said...

No toddlers in our family right now. All at school age or much older. We will need to wait for the next generation to arrive.

Laney4 said...

No toddlers at the moment.
Daughter is expecting our first grandchild, due last Tuesday, and she had a contraction yesterday at the hospital (and they sent her home). I'm guessing birth is imminent, LOL.
Exciting times!

Linda May said...

I have 2 Grandson's one is 5 years old & the other is 9 years old. The youngest, Gavin loves for me to read to him, plays games with him & gives me alot of hugs. The older one is usually reading or playing with his Lego's. I love the cover of this book & Thanks as always for your amazing generosity.

Joanne Rock said...

Patricia B-- I love your kitten pics!! I'm having watching her grow, too :-)

Joanne Rock said...

Diana, I love the names Luna and Cedric! The mom should be naming my characters for me :-).

Joanne Rock said...

Donnamae... what a joy to share in that! My sons were mesmerized when the Teletubbies song came on the TV. It was like magic the way they'd stop and stare at the television no matter what else they were doing at the time.

Joanne Rock said...

Laney, I'm so excited for you!!! Can't wait to hear an update on this next month :-).

Joanne Rock said...

Linda P- what a gift you share with reading her books! I know I'm biased, but I see how much a love of reading helps propels students with every single other subject in school. It's the key to so much success for them. And, as a fiction lover, I also firmly believe it's the key to JOY!

Joanne Rock said...

Linda May, how nice you get to spend time with them. It's fun hearing my now adult sons reminisce about times spent with their grandparents when they were little. They are still very close, and it's fun to hear the memories that stand out for them. A grandparent relationship is a special one to have!

Anonymous said...

I have 3 adorable grandchildren, Nyah is 7, Everett is almost 5 and Malia is 2 1/2.

SOCKS- When Nyah was a baby her mom put socks on her hands to keep them warm. (They live in Wisconsin.) She became attached to them and refused to go to bed without them on. It was a nightmare weaning her off of them.

I like age 3-4. They're so much fun to read to and play with. They understand and say the cutest things, They give great hugs and lots of love. Their personalities start coming out.

Anonymous said...

OOPS this goes with the previous comment.

Laurie Gommermann johnslakke at usa dot com

Joanne Rock said...

Laurie, how funny about the socks! I could never keep them on my kids' feet. Ever!! Although I don't remember anyone buy my middle son carrying them around in his teeth. I gave up the battle for socks ;-).

Joanne Rock said...

Congratulations to Linda May, winner of the prize this time! Linda, feel free to message me privately at jrock008@gmail.com with a mailing address and I'll get your book out to you asap! Have a wonderful week, my friends, and thank you for visiting!

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