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When we first began writing together, we wrote romances. Correction, we attempted to write romances. The results were dismal. Once we figured out why, we detailed the reasons in an essay for a Chicken Soup anthology titled Going Where You Look. The short version: we were not writing about characters we loved—which is kind of funny, since romances are about love.
When we focused on book people we loved, acceptances soon followed. How’d we start creating characters that resonated? We thought about what we like to read—stories of plucky characters who wrestle with insecurities and frustrations, who fail and succeed and fail again, and who discover they are, at bottom, admirable and courageous and ordinary and not-so-ordinary, all at the same time. These are the people who populate our books, from a septuagenarian sleuth in our mystery series to the teenager in our most recent young adult novel.
Whatever their age or outward appearance, in whatever genre of book life they dwell, all our characters have something in common: They’re real people. They learn and change and teach us about ourselves and how to cope with the world we live in, despite self-perceived limitations. They’re the people we wish we could be and the people we may yet grow into being. They’re us, only better…and yet they’re not us. They give us a way to explore and to become, in the safety of a place that could be and probably is, somewhere out there, just up ahead, past the innocent sunflower swaying delicately in the gentle breeze, and around the darkly mysterious curve beyond.
We want to travel with them, to complete a quest we cannot abandon, and to emerge, covered with sweat and grit, victorious and humbled.
We love our characters and we like to think our readers do too. What about you? Do you love your characters? Tell us in the comments.
HL Carpenter—Read along with us!
Florida-based mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter writes sweet, clean fiction that is suitable for everyone in your family. The Carpenters write from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit HLCarpenter.com to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happening in Carpenter Country.
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