Telling the author a story
Thanks, Delilah, for having me here today! One of the most basic reasons people read stories is to connect and relate to the characters. There can be a great premise, a fantastic setting… but if the characters suck, then we the readers are left unfulfilled and cheated.
Our characters, particularly in romance, drive the story. We need them to be memorable.
As a writer, we have many tools available to us to make that happen.
For Off Her Game, I had a hard time figuring out Darren, my hockey playing hunk of a hero. And somewhere during that process of drafting the story, I realized I wasn’t going deep enough into the character interviews to really feel out who they are. And then a friend suggested that I have Darren tell me his story. I had nothing to lose at that point, so I said, “What the hell?”
So I sat down with a blank document and pretty soon, Darren was pouring his little heart out to me. I started with age, physical description and then he started talking to me about his life. How was his relationship with his parents? What was his education like? How did he get into hockey? When did he think marriage was a good idea when his wife was a harpy? What kind of wounds does Darren carry? And the hardest question ever: What does the character want most of all?
It takes a while to get him or any character to answer that question. They might say something but then I need to dig deeper, ask him why and force him to give me his real secret desire.
For Darren, his life is hockey. He eats, lives, breathes the game. A bad marriage nearly killed that for him. So when it came time to ask what he’d be willing to sacrifice to reach that goal… well, I’ll save that for the book. The point is that letting him talk to me made him a real, live character that any woman could love.
Doing this with Darren opened my eyes to who he really was. It streamlined the drafting process, because as soon as I knew who he was, the words flowed on the page of the book. So naturally, I had to do it with Valerie too. As the heroine, Off Her Game strongly favors her story. She’s coming into her own in the story, figuring out that the job wasn’t what defined her. I never would have realized that if it weren’t for me sitting down and letting her tell me her story.
As a reader, have you ever read that book that had such a brilliantly alive character you wondered if they really existed? Or, on the flip side, read a book with a character that had yet to tell their story?
Penalty Number One: Men
Making time for men and relationships doesn’t fit into Valerie Chase’s game plan. This crisis-counselor-turned-cocktail-waitress knows the score—Men are a distraction. But when a certain hockey player tempts her wild side, part of her wants to indulge in a little harmless fun.
Penalty Number Two: Desire
As the star center for the Texas Highlanders, Darren Moran’s good looks and deadly determination make him a fan favorite. But after the previous season’s disaster, the last thing he needs is to let some woman crawl under his skin. But… Valerie is different. She brings out the best in him—both on and off the ice—and he’s not about to lose her.
Penalty Number Three: Passion
When the game moves to the next level, Darren and Val have got to call timeout. An unplanned romance is a game-thrower, a sinful temptation that neither of them can afford. After all, there’s no way to have order in matters of the heart when the penalties tally up to an ejection from the game.
Off Her Game is now available at all major retailers!
Suzan Butler is a romance author with a penchant for Dr. Pepper, ice hockey, and world domination. She lives in Texas under a not-so-secret identity with two monsters, writing books and planning the next step in her evil plans into the twilight hours of the night because that’s when it’s quiet in the house. Visit her online at her website, suzanbutler.com, on Twitter (@SuzanButler) or come join the conversation on Facebook. To keep up to date on new releases, subscribe to the Fabulous, her mailing list.