Last week turned out to be virtually technology free for me. My family and I stayed in Devon for a few days in a lovely cottage in the Dartmoor National Park. I knew it didn’t have a dishwasher and a tumble dryer and I was prepared. It did have a fabulous walled garden, lovely and safe for my dogs, so I was prepared to make the sacrifice.
However, what I didn’t bargain for was the almost total absence of internet. Not good when I had posts to share on my blog. So last week’s author blog challenge on ‘6 Book Marketing Tips’, never happened.
This week’s author blog challenge is Character Inspiration.
Visual stimulation is important for me as a writer. I plan out my story initially in my head, rather like watching a film or TV programme and as I write, I visualise what I’m writing. This makes my story very real to me and its one of the reasons having other pairs of eyes to read your work is so important. What makes perfect sense to me, may not be clear at all, to my readers, so having other people read it is essential.
My characters spring mostly from my imagination. I usually think about what they look like first and then add in their personality traits. This is usually only an outline, very similar to the plot outline I have and then I start writing. The characters’ outlines develop, as they are faced with conflicts, meeting new people and situations. Once I have written the first few chapters, I read my work back in detail to make sure the characters are behaving as I thought they would and that they are consistent.
There are of course other things that inspire my characters. For their physical appearance I use Pinterest. I create a new board for each book and pin likely heroes, heroines and antagonists, as well as setting and other key factors as they occur to me.
I’ve met lots of people in the course of my life and the memorable ones stay in my head. Some of these I use as characters or part of characters. Observation is a core skill in character inspiration and who doesn’t love people watching?
Today I have the lovely Christy Newton on my blog talking about the inspiration behind her latest books. I got to know Christy during my first ‘So You Think You Can Write’ contest in 2012 and I’ve read and enjoyed all her books.
Hi! I’m Christy Newton, author of over ten novels. I’m a wife, mother and book lover. Thank you, Jane, for having me on your blog. I have to say I’m a little jealous of where you live. Visiting the UK is a dream of mine. Maybe someday if I can sell enough books. Anyway, I’d like to tell you a little about the inspiration I had for writing my two newest books. The first, Naturally Enchanted, is a paranormal about witches of Mango Cove Island. This book was always inside me—probably from the time I was a little girl and adored the TV show Bewitched. I would even play witches with my Barbies. And if only I could cast a spell on my pesky little brother hehe, sorry Johnny.
When I started writing four years ago, I knew someday I’d write a witch story. When I finished Naturally Enchanted I knew I had not only wrote this for my fans and family, I wrote it for myself. My newest book, Breaking Free, is a young adult romance. Here again, is something from my childhood. I don’t talk a lot about my past, but like Elin, I had an evil stepfather. Having two teens myself now, I wanted to write a book that dealt with the serious issue of abuse that a lot of children have experienced. I also wanted to write about how strong a person is who can overcome that abuse. The one thing every one of my books will have in common is a feel good theme with a happy ending.
A Guide to Love: Genre: Contemporary Romance
The love ship sailed long ago for Daphne Pepper…
Feisty native of Sand Crest Island, Daphne has everything she needs… or so she thought. Until she meets handsome Remy Rosetto who is on a mission to complete his grandfather’s request in order to earn his inheritance.
Remy hires Daphne to be his tour guide for an unheard of amount of money and she is more than happy to take his cash then send him away. Which is fine with Remy, who wants to get back to his penthouse in New York.
Daphne loves her island and will not even think of leaving her family and friends, but as Remy falls for this island beauty he has other plans.
Can they both find more than they ever wanted or are they too stubborn to compromise?
This is fun-filled sweet romance set on an island, in the Bahamas. Daphne loves her family and her home and even gave up her chance for love to stay there. She lives an ordinary life filled with work, friends and family and a lovely cat. The humour in this story is there from the first page and you can’t help but like Daphne’s outlook on life. Island life is a lot like village life in the UK, everyone knows everyone’s business and they look out for each other. When Remy arrives on the island to fulfil his Grandfather’s wishes and claim his inheritance, Remy and Daphne’s attraction is instant and grows, when she becomes his island guide. The mystery of the letter keeps the two in close proximity and inevitably passion overtakes them. They say opposites attract and these two are opposite in many ways. A Guide to Love offers the chance of a happy ending and a mystery to solve, perfect escapism; an easy to read, light-hearted story perfect for couple of hours on the beach. I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Other Books by Christy Newton
More Than Treasure Trilogy (Stolen Hearts#1, Something to Treasure #2, Treasured Hearts #3) Genre: Romantic Suspense
Jewels, deception and adventure…
Twenty-two year old, Cammie Adams knows one thing for sure… life isn’t fair. She’s still a wreck from the tragic loss of her parents seven years ago. Right after she gets her PI license she is not only robbed, but abducted, only to find her life was all a lie. When she finds her mother’s diary she discovers she was only a pawn in her mother’s dangerous game. Now she must get back what is rightfully hers from the man who murdered her mother.
Hot and mysterious Simon Fisher has really only loved one thing… jewels. This ex-jewel thief, now bodyguard, doesn’t even know what hits him when he rescues Cammie as a favor to her father. Simon must protect her, but soon finds where there is trouble, Cammie isn’t far behind.
She will not only steal his prized jewel, but his heart.
When Cammie Adams, determined novice PI, gets an urgent call from her ex, she is compelled to take his case. Miles, a luxury hotel owner and an upstanding citizen of Upton Hills, finds one of the maids dead. He turns to Cammie for help to keep his beloved hotel from being tarnished. With her partner and boyfriend, Simon, she takes on a case that might just be their last. Her ex’s hotel is an eighty-year-old building that has secrets of its own.
Can they catch the murderer to save the hotel and her ex’s reputation or will the case take a turn that will leave them lost forever?
Ready to get back to work after a long leave from their PI business, Simon Fisher and Cammie Adams take the first case that comes their way. Someone is selling company secrets and it’s up to them to find the spy. But when they get their answer, they uncover much more than espionage.
After attending recent family weddings, Simon has become an expert at dodging Cammie’s hints about giving her a certain piece of jewelry he has always secretly feared. Simon doesn’t know how long he’ll be able to keep his girlfriend satisfied without giving her the one thing she still desires.
As they work their case, will Simon and Cammie discover another fortune or will they see that the greatest treasure of all is the one they already have… love?
Maisie Scott lost not only her husband and unborn child in a tornado two years ago she lost her will to live. Keeping busy is the only way she can get by. This small town waitress won’t let herself get attached to anyone… until Ryan, the new veterinarian for exotic animals, starts making regular trips to her diner. As hard as she tries not to feel anything, Ryan ignites a spark in her broken heart.
Ryan Tucker craves a happy family of his own more than his Momma’s apple pie. Getting over his fiancée leaving him six months ago, he moves to Pleasant Valley for a fresh start. When he meets Maisie and notices the sadness in her eyes he is determined to put a smile on her pretty face.
What starts out as innocent flirting turns into two people finding something they no longer want to live without. The problem is Maisie has deep scars inside and out. Showing Ryan that part of her may just be too painful.
When another dangerous storm hits, Ryan stays by Maisie’s side. She fills the missing piece in his heart, but will Ryan share his secret? Can Maisie move on from the past and learn to begin again?
Dreams of escaping her small town brought Ellie Oliver to New York only to find that life there wasn’t all she’d hoped. Seven years later, she is returning to Pleasant Valley, Indiana with new hopes and secrets. She wants nothing more than to fade into the slow pace of small town life and forget about the demons of her past.
Jacob Jones is at loose ends. At twenty-six, a man shouldn’t be starting his life over from scratch. Finding himself out of work, Jacob looks for a new home in Pleasant Valley. He is ready for the single life just enjoying the company of close friends. All that changes when he takes a job remodeling the town’s toy shop and comes head to head with its new owner. Ellie turns out to be sweeter than the candy she sells in her store.
Ellie and Jacob bring out feelings in each other neither were looking for, but both can’t deny. Can they truly trust again or will their shattered hearts refuse to mend
Julianna Fox was made for her job. Or so she is told. The only memory Julianna has of her past is after the explosion. She was a nameless victim until a man pulled her out of the darkness and gave her new life. A new purpose, because anything is better than being no one. When she is about to eliminate her next mark something stops her. The moment Julianna makes eye contact with Reid Castleton, she has a flashback of her forgotten past. How does she know the man? And why can’t she follow through with her assignment?
Expert assassin, Reid Castleton, has been told to kill the only woman he ever loved if he wants to live. When he finds his fiancée, he can’t go through with the hit, even if it means losing his own life. Either she can’t remember who she is or is damn good at acting.
Neither one knows who to trust. Both make a truce until they can find out why the leader of ETE 7 wants them both dead. What they uncover is a long line of lies and deception that started the moment Julianna was conceived. Will love conquer all or will fear make them do the unthinkable?
After a tragic accident that brought the small town of Wynter Haven to their knees, Claire Belmont and Nick Lewis went in opposite directions coping in very different ways. Three years later, Claire gets a call urging her to come back to help her friend move past his grief.
It will take more than a little hot cider, gingerbread and mistletoe to bring back Nick’s holiday spirit. He hasn’t celebrated Christmas since his twin sister died. In fact, he’s mastered locking up his feelings so he will never be hurt again.
Claire has a secret and hopes that somehow she and Nick can both get a Christmas miracle this year. After all, Nichole would want them to be happy and cherish the holiday that had been their favorite. Maybe a little bit of Christmas is just what they both need.
Ezra Ravenhart has lived with the rumors of her family’s witchcraft her whole life. Too bad she doesn’t believe them – she’d conjure up a boyfriend. But the thing called love remains as mysterious as her Grana’s herb shop on their tropical island. As a struggling journalist, Owen Cooper has to make a name for himself, and a tip that a real-life witch is living on Mango Cove may just lead to the big story he needs. Undercover as a shipwrecked tourist, he worms his way into Ezra’s family – and their secrets. But how will he handle the fact that Ezra has found the magic answer to his heart when his body belongs in Chicago? And is their love strong enough to survive the evil stalking their every move?
Being sixteen is hard enough without Elin Skye pretending to be a new person over and over again. On the run with her mom from a psycho stepdad, who happens to be a deputy sheriff, her life sucks. She’s determined to sever Wyatt’s hold on them even if it means breaking all the rules.
Sawyer Knight’s summer is doomed when he’s unjustly grounded and must stay with his pain in the ass older brother to earn back his parents’ trust. Things start turning around when he meets a pretty but odd girl trying to kill a vending machine. After Sawyer learns the truth about Elin he has to help her no matter the consequences.
Two teens on their own with little money could be dangerous, not to mention life changing. In order to be free Elin must do something her mom never could—stand up to the monster who made them his prisoners.
Christy Newton is a hopeless romantic and writes many genres of romance. She just might be the only author out there who doesn’t drink caffeine, but dark chocolate is her must have. She falls in love with each of her heroes and hopes you will too! Christy is the author of over ten novels.
In the quaint, seaside town of Silenshore a legacy of secrets is about to be revealed…
Growing up in the imposing Castle du Rêve during 1940s wartime, young Evelyn longs for a life outside the castle walls. She dreams of attending glamorous parties, gracing the silver screen and being swept off her feet by a dashing, debonair beau. But innocent Evelyn is unaware that her bid for freedom from the oppressive castle will change the course of more than just her life…
In the early Sixties, sweet, intelligent Victoria meets the man of her dreams! Yet the expression of their love comes with consequences. In the shadow of the mysterious castle, is their relationship doomed from the start?
In the present day, Isobel has just learned she’s pregnant. An unexpected challenge she can only hope she’s up to. Except living in the father of her child’s family home, beneath the eyes of the castle, all is not as it seems… Soon secrets that have been hidden for decades threaten to change the lives of Isobel’s new family irrevocably.
Three women’s lives tangled together in a web of secrets, scandal and deceit, as the legacy of Castle du Rêve is finally discovered…
A few years ago, when I was starting to think about ideas for The Secrets of Castle du Reve, I came across an article on homes for unmarried mothers. I’d heard about the homes before that, but reading about individual women who’d been forced to go away to have their babies in secret, sometimes not even telling their families because of the scandal that it would cause, really touched me. Soon after I read the article, I saw an episode of Long Lost Family that outlined the case of a woman who had been sent to a mother and baby home in the 1960s when she was seventeen. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and about how different life is now.
Motherhood was particularly significant to me at that point because my first daughter was about two years old then and I was feeling stunned by how powerful and intense it all was. I already knew that motherhood would be an important part of my book. The idea of having to hide a pregnancy, and the different ways relationships have been seen throughout the last hundred years or so added a whole new dimension to my plot. It took ages to decide on how to include something about mother and baby homes. I wrote so many different scenes, and even had some poor characters that didn’t make it into the first draft.
I didn’t know much at all about the homes before I started writing the book, so I read a lot of accounts of women who’d been forced to go away to have their babies, and I stared quite endlessly at pictures of the places they’d stayed in, imagining what it must have been like for them. I read about the types of lives the women had before they’d become pregnant, and the stark contrast of their times in the homes. Once I’d done my research, I enjoyed placing Isobel in 2010 alongside Victoria in the 1960s. Both women fall in love quite quickly and have such different experiences, mainly because of how much things have changed for women in a relatively short amount of time.
The clichéd writing advice that people always seem to share is: write about what you know. But I like writing about things that I don’t know. I love learning about times that have passed and bringing them back to life. For me, that’s what curling up with a book is all about.
Thanks for revealing some of the secrets behind your story Hannah. I certainly agree that its much more fun to write about things that are new to you because the research is such an important part of the writing process. I am currently reading this intriguing story and I’ll be reviewing it here later this week.
I have written stories for as long as I can remember. I love writing about how fragile the present is and how so much of it depends on chance events that took place years ago. I studied English at the University of Chester, and I know work in a College where I mentor degree students. The most important things in my life are my family, my friends, books, baking on a Saturday afternoon, getting glammed up to go out for champagne and dinner and having cosy weekends away. I live in Blackpool with my husband and our two little girls
I really like the inspiration behind ‘Real Magic’ by Elsa Winckler, another charming story from the Magical Wedding series.
As a sous chef in a busy restaurant, Carly’s days are full. Her free time is taken up by baking cakes for those less fortunate and spending time with friends and family – she is not looking for love. And then on her way to her cousin’s wedding an angry, gorgeous man with one blue and one brown eye nearly runs her over in the street. And she remembers a previous wedding twenty-two years ago when the family psychic predicted that she would one day marry a man with one eye the colour of the sky and one the colour of chocolate. When the man who almost ran her over turns out to be the best man the evening becomes surreal. Carly knows, though, that whatever she is feeling isn’t real. She has already lost her one shoe, by tomorrow her Prince Charming will be gone, she’ll be back in her kitchen and the magic will have disappeared.
So what’s the inspiration behind Elsa’s Cinderella fairy-tale?
‘I live in South Africa, a beautiful country with so many possibilities and so many wonderful, creative people in it. I read an article about someone who, instead of complaining, tries to do her little bit to improve the lives of those less fortunate. And what she can do, is to bake. So each day she bakes a cake, goes out to those less fortunate and gives them a cake, because, as she says in her blog – everyone deserves cake made with love! And of course, this had me thinking – what if …
She’s a bridesmaid, he’s a best man. Will the magical evening stay just that or will it turn out to be real after all? Carley has already lost her one shoe, by tomorrow her Prince Charming will be gone, she’ll be back in her kitchen and the magic will have disappeared. Or not?
This story is truly magical right from the start. A chance meeting makes Carley remember something from her past and Brett is similarly affected. Serendipity makes them meet up at Carley’s cousin’s wedding and the real magic begins to weave its spell. Like a modern day Cinderella fairy tale, the story unfolds and there is a romantic happy ending, what more could you ask for? It seems Carley’s good deeds, baking cakes for those who cannot afford them makes her the perfect candidate for a fairy tale wedding of her own.
Dragons, Lakes and Murder Mystery are the main inspirations for ‘The Dragon Legacy’.
Dragons are my favourite mystical creatures. They are powerful,intelligent, a source of ancient knowledge and magic.
Lukas Draco, my hero in The Dragon Legacy is the embodiment of all these things. One of the ancient dragons. He exists in two dimensions; our world in his human form, whilst his true dragon survives in a parallel world, living in deep still water until Lukas requires his powers. The dragons are champions of good and fight against evil demons to protect humanity.
The Lake District has always been popular holiday destination for me. A few years ago I visited Lake Ullswater. In the surrounding hills, it’s easy to imagine paranormal creatures hiding in plain sight. This setting inspired me to write the first book.
My fascination with murder mystery is the final inspiration for this story. I love the drama of these events, the dressing up and adopting a new character. My shy Fleur becomes the street wise business whiz, Megan and manages to ensnare herself a dragon.
The original draft of The Dragon Legacy contains more scenes devoted to the murder mystery event. I intend to rewrite and post these as flash fiction on #wattpad soon.
Readers inspired me to write ‘The Revenge Masquerade’ about Jasmine, an independently minded young woman, destined to be guardian witch and Zane, the street wise wolf shifter. It’s great readers wanted to know what happened to these characters after they met them in The Dragon Legacy.
Lost love, Reunion and facing one’s destiny are all explored in the story.
The story starts one year after Zane leaves. Jasmine is in the Lake District with a new companion and strange mystical dreams.Whilst Zane reaches the final stop on his mission – Venice and is confronted with a new evil. Can he save Larna (Lukas’ the dragon lord’s sister)? Should he contact Lukas and risk the safety of the infant dragon Tarriannah? Has he really seen Jasmine in Venice? There’s lots of fast paced action, mystical occurrences and romantic heat.
When I wrote my debut novel I didn’t think past the initial story. I wanted to write about a dragon in the twenty-first century searching for the last dragon egg. His motivation? To save the dragon race and ultimately the human race from domination by evil. I wanted my fantasy/paranormal characters to have a human appearance in our world but also be part of a secret paranormal world, not normally seen by us.
When people started to read my first story most commented on two of the secondary charactersJasmine, an independently minded young woman, destined to be guardian witch and Zane, the street wise wolf shifter.
They were together in several scenes of ‘The Dragon Legacy’ and people wanted to see how their fledgling relationship played out.
Readerswere the main motivation behind ‘The Revenge Masquerade’ , it was great to know I’d created two characters they wanted to know more about. 🙂
Having decided to write Jasmine and Zane’s story, what came next? Defining my characters is important to me but I’d already done this with Jasmine and Zane, as they featured in my first story.
TheSettingwhere my characters travel on their emotional journey is an important part of what motivates me to write a story.
With ‘The Revenge Masquerade’, deciding on the Plot was the last of my motivations. At the end of ‘The Dragon Legacy’, Jasmine is separated from Zane. I wanted to explore what happened to her emotionally in the months that followed. Zane left to act as an ambassador for the infant dragon with the supernatural world, what happened to him? Does his still think about Jasmine and how he treated her, or is he really the player he appears to be?
Lost love, Reunion and facing one’s destiny are all explored in the story. The story starts one year after Zane leaves. Jasmine is in the Lake District with a new companion and strange mystical dreams.Whilst Zane reaches the final stop on his mission – Venice and is confronted with a new evil. Can he save Larna (Lukas’ the dragon lord’s sister)? Should he contact Lukas and risk the safety of the infant dragon Tarriannah? Has he really seen Jasmine in Venice?
After the first couple of chapters I let the characters tell their own stories whilst I buckled up for the ride , peeking through my fingers whenever it got too scary. 🙂
I hope you enjoyed sharing some of my motivations for writing and thoughts about ‘The Revenge Masquerade’. If you want to know what happens next it’s available at the following outlets:
The English Lake District: Just over a year ago in Hallows House’s garden.
Zane shook his body until his fur lay flat against his broad back. His shift into his wolf completed, he padded across the silent garden, eager to be on his way. He paused and looked back at the house. A movement at a downstairs window drew his predatory gaze. He stood transfixed as the artificial light illuminated Jasmine’s titian hair. Jasmine leant against the kitchen window and stared into the moonlit garden. His silvery-eyed stare moved lower and devoured her hourglass figure’s perfection, barely concealed by the emerald robe she wore.
His ears flattened as a shrill whistle assaulted his acute hearing. Jasmine disappeared. Instinctively he edged further away from the house to where the garden merged with the dark hills. He waited. A turquoise streak of light momentarily dazzled him. He followed its progress and recognized the baby dragon as it flew into the room occupied by its guardian, Fleur. Zane assumed Lukas, his friend the dragon lord, was there too. He growled softly, pleased by Lukas’ happiness. Jasmine’s image flashed into his mind. Zane shook his shaggy head–she wasn’t for him.
The shrieking noise quieted and the unmistakable creek of the heavy door alerted him of someone’s approach. His hackles rose and then flattened in recognition of the scent: a mixture of flowers and spice unique to Jasmine. He resisted the urge to shift into his human form. As a wolf, their encounter would remain platonic. His mind and heart warred over the morality of his desires. He couldn’t stay. His mission necessitated he leave immediately. Was it fair to take Jasmine’s heart and leave her alone with needs mere memories wouldn’t satisfy? The wolf ignored his human conscience. Time was short and the instinctive need to brand the flame-haired witch with his mark too strong. He shifted back into his human form.
Zane leant against the jagged stone wall. His naked body barely registered the rough-hewn rock, which imprinted his skin. His abrupt shift into human form didn’t include clothes. The cool night air soothed his fevered body as Jasmine appeared. A faint blush stained her pale skin everywhere his gaze rested.
“I saw your wolf through the window,” Jasmine said, perhaps to explain her presence in the garden.
“I wanted to talk to you.” Zane enclosed her small hand in his. She offered no resistance.
“Just talk?” Her gaze darted away from his erection, taunt against his abdomen. He sighed and pulled her tight against his hardness, enjoying the contact with her soft curves. “This isn’t talking, Zane,” she said, her voice breathless.