CHOOSING YOUR CHARACTERS—OR CHARACTERS CHOOSING YOU.
When I began writing my upcoming Romantic Suspense release, EDGE OF SURVIVAL, I’d decided to use a setting in Northern Labrador that I’d had the pleasure of visiting as a fish biologist. I used much of my personal experience as the heroine’s own—minus hooking up with a hot helicopter pilot (I’d just got engaged)—because it worked for the plot, and was authentic and exciting. But the heroine isn’t me, so I got to thinking about who she was, and from out of the ether I got this idea she had diabetes.
She’s not diabetic. She has diabetes. She hates being called diabetic. It’s a disease, not a hair color.
So Dr. Cameran Young was coming through loud and clear in my head. She was smart, feisty, determined, trying to live her life and prove she was just as capable as everyone else. She’s happy, bubbly person despite life’s trials—but it isn’t easy trying to balance everything. She’s more complex than your average girl next door. Has struggled with survival on a daily basis since she was diagnosed at 14 years of age.
So what sort of man, what sort of hero, would fall for Cameran Young and vice versa?
OMG. Just let me tell you this guy gave me fits. He’s a former elite British soldier who’s fallen from grace into a bitter, what-the-hell-is-life-worth-anyway, mentality. He has a reckless regard for how he lives just so long as he fulfills short term needs with no hint of commitment, no desire for a relationship beyond the basic. But he can’t shake his deep-rooted need to defend people from danger and when he discovers Cameran has diabetes it unlocks long forgotten protective instincts.
Daniel Fox uses everything he can think of to push Cameran Young away, but the more threatened she becomes, the more he’s forced to leave his self-imposed exile and deal with reality. There’s a lot to forgive my hero for. There’s a lot to forgive most of my heroes. But all of them carry a very fierce sense of honor. I hope this shines through. I hope I do them justice.
I started with the idea of a heroine fish biologist and ex SAS helicopter pilot but they quickly morphed into amazing, complicated people who I loved getting to know. This happens to me all the time. And although I do choose my characters, once I’ve found them they jump in and tell me exactly who they really are.
Who are your favourite flawed heroes?
What do you think of a heroine who suffers from diabetes?
EDGE OF SURVIVAL comes out 23rd November 2011, from Carina Press.
(As a note, I’m donating 15% of my royalties to diabetes research).
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