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Picking A Favorite Is Never An Option

One of my favorite questions is: Do I have a favorite character? I wish I could give a straight answer, but I can’t. The characters are like the author’s children, and like any good parent, you never openly admit there is a favorite. Why? Because each child is different and you learn to appreciate each one for the uniqueness they bring to the family. And if you delve deeper, you find their personalities complement each other. It is those complementing characteristics that add a wonderful tapestry to the story and make it come alive.  

I know you are calling BS; after all, I created the characters.  I gave them their personalities and make them perform for your entertainment. That’s a common perception, but it’s not true. I start off with a framework for a new character. It’s quite simple like: “I need someone quirky,” or something just as simple, and then I go from there.

Let’s look at Quell. He is my most enigmatic character, but originally I wanted him to be the peculiar, handsome vampire that I thought of as the “Sheldon” (of Big Bang Theory) of the otherworld, and you see what he evolved into. It tail-spinned into something vastly different from what I wanted. Quell isn’t anything like Sheldon by any stretch. That happens quite often with characters.

For me, having a large cast of characters gives the reader a little perspective and appreciation for the difference each one offers. If you didn’t have Ethan, wouldn’t Josh’s relationship with Skylar be a little less endearing? And Steven’s boy-next-door charms are only amplified by Sebastian’s acerbic, cold mannerisms. Winter’s transition to who she is in Darkness Unchained and Midnight Falls has a lot to do with her interactions with Skylar. Their personalities complement, enhance and improve each other’s.

I don’t have a favorite because they are all my favorites for the purposes they serve in the story.

I do have characters that are more fun to write. Skylar is enjoyable to write, and not because she is the main character, but because she is truly the most challenging. As a reader, I like to read subtle but instrumental developmental changes in a main character. I hate when a main character gets a new power, a new role in life, finds out a new thing/power about herself and handles it with the mastery of someone that had been dealing with it for years. I like to see my characters fumble a little and overcome those obstacles as realistically as possible.

Although some hate a quirky, snarky character—like Ethan or Skylar—I love them. Probably because I am one—or so my family, friends, and even supervisor often point out.

Another fun character to write is Michaela. I can almost hear the collective gasps. She’s cruel, vindictive, arrogant, narcissistic, and without a shred of restraint. She is the id personified. She is the only character that I can unleash all the crazy and mean I can think of and never worry about having to rein it in. There is a level of freedom to writing her that I don’t get with the other characters.

The hardest character to write is Quell. Once again, I can hear Quell’s fangirls and fanboys gasp, and probably a couple of scoffs. Of all the characters I have, he is the most complex. He’s a murderer. Some may even go as far as to say his behavior borders on the line of a repressed psychotic. But his poetically tragic background (if you haven’t read Midnight Falls—get it!) breeds a certain level of compassion and empathy for him. If you are confused by your feelings about Quell, imagine how I feel!

I would love to hear from you all. Who is your favorite character and why?

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