A Word About My Characters

First, let me acknowledge that there are conflicting styles or theories or beliefs on how to craft your characters’ physical traits—make-believe versus reality. Do you paint your hero as the Adonis-bodied, thick-haired hunk who makes every woman swoon, or do you make him the relatable guy next door who’s got flab around his middle and a receding hairline? Should your heroine have Barbie’s figure (and risk the ire of every mother who’s concerned over a daughter’s self-image), or the flabby thighs and sagging bottom you might see in your own mirror?

Here’s how I view it:
I read fiction to be entertained. When I read for pleasure, I like to be carried away to a world so far outside my reality, I might actually forget where I am. I might even forget who I am for those few brief hours spent visiting that alternate universe. And when I flip or click past the last page, if I’m not filled with a vague disappointment that I’m back to my world, I feel gypped.

I also believe that beauty IS in the eyes of the beholder. What I find beautiful isn’t necessarily what you find beautiful. How many times have I been watching TV with my husband and sons when I make a remark about some stunning woman on the screen only to have three male voices overpower mine with some version of, “You gotta be kidding me! She eats Alpo!”…or other charming words to that effect. (And yes, as a mother, I have counseled my sons that likening women to dogs is never appreciated by women, even if they’re referring to another woman….well, usually not anyway.)

So, having said that, when I craft my characters’ physical traits, I want them to be appealing not only to the rest of the characters, but to me. Sometimes I go with the full-out hunk and beauty queen, and sometimes I’ll tone it down. But if I don’t like looking at a guy (or girl) in my head, it’s tough to write that person into a love scene.

So no, I don’t apologize for my hunks.

Personality-wise, all bets are off. Put simply, we all have good sides and bad sides, and often those innermost traits don’t match the outside “cover.” I love incorporating all those elements, good and bad, into my characters. In fact, sometimes the “bad” is the more fascinating path to follow for the writer, and the reader.

Click on the photos below for the profiles of some of my most-loved characters. I hope I can bring them to life for you as vividly as they live in my head.