No, this is not an off-color political joke. My pal Bob Sanchez is on a blog book tour and he was
fool–I mean nice enough to visit me along the way. Little Mountain is the name of his book, and it really deserves better than for me to make cheap jokes.
Bob is the author of When Pigs Fly, (an iUniverse Star book), Getting Lucky, and Little Mountain, associate editor and webmaster of The Internet Review of Books, active in the El Paso Writers’ League, Mesilla Valley Writers, and the Internet Writing Workshop.
I asked Bob to share something about his character creation.
Take it away, Bob!
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Thanks for hosting me, Marian! I appreciate your generosity in lending me your corner of cyberspace.
Where do a novel’s characters come from? In the case of my novels, no one needs to worry that I’ve based a character on him. Or her. Not yet.
Largely, my characters are built from a combination of traits: this guy’s beer gut, that gal’s tattoo. Lots of the characters have a sliver of my personality: how I am, how I’d like to be, or what I fear I could become. But characters can and do arise completely out of my imagination, like Ace and Frosty in When Pigs Fly. How stupid could these two shoplifters be and still be entertaining? My operating theory as a writer is that criminals are inherently stupid. That’s not necessarily true, but it affords a license to look for laughs at their expense. (Ace and Frosty live in Massachusetts but do much of their shoplifting in New Hampshire to avoid the sales tax.)
Two of my main characters began life as the same person. During my own childhood, a neighborhood bully named Mike Durgin used to torment me. The kid was a rat, but even rats deserve second chances, so one of my fictional good guys became Mack Durgin of When Pigs Fly. He might once have been a problem child, but he matured into a decent man like—well, like me. And not strikingly handsome, but much closer to Brad Pitt than to Herman Munster. Then I needed him again in Getting Lucky, where he developed a bit differently—still a good guy but with a darker past. So I created Clay Webster from Mack Durgin’s literary DNA. They’re similar in lots of ways, but I’d rather have a beer with Mack. He’d never punch me out.
My latest hero is Sambath “Sam” Long of Little Mountain. He is an American homicide cop who survived the killing fields of Cambodia. His father’s dying act was to spit in his killer’s eye, and Sam hopes to measure up to his father’s courage. Sam has a lot of American traits and strong moral values. When his personal wish conflicts with his professional duty, he does his duty. My goal in creating Sam was to try to show someone transitioning from one culture to another—he knows where he’s going and respects where he’s been. All of my lead characters are good men at their core—but Mack is the funniest, Clay the edgiest, and Sam the most honorable. At a bar, Mack or Clay would be good company, but Sam would pay for the beer.
All of these are available as ebooks and paperbacks, and you can find out more about them at my blog, bobsanchez1.blogspot.com. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win an e-copy of your choice of these books, or to win the grand prize of all three signed paperbacks.
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Click here for Bob’s entire tour schedule.
WRITING PROMPT: Pick somebody you know. Make a list of his or her character qualities, life events, habits, etc. Create three different characters by emphasizing some of these over others or selecting some and eliminating or changing others.