Mayor Anna agonises over the parlous finances of both her alpaca stud and her country town.
Is this sexy television producer financial salvation or major trouble?
Several characters in my contemporary romantic fiction choose themselves. Sealing the Deal developed from a farmer sitting on a gate watching her alpaca stud; for Hot Ticket, I had noticed a woman looking in the window of a lingerie shop; the ferry hand who managed to get me and my rental car aboard his tiny boat without a scratch won a place in Dancing the Reel.
As an author, I need to know my characters well, and ensure they and their actions are appropriately motivated and credible; my familiarity with them increases as the story progresses. I don't plot in advance, thus offering them a lot of freedom to change or augment their personalities, backgrounds, mindsets, actions. But they must always have a narrative purpose - the rationale behind their existences, earning their keep so to speak. Every character has strengths and weaknesses, which, among other ramifications, determine how this person will respond to obstacles and to the behaviour of others; basically to move the story along.
I often find this character development a challenge - for example, I may like a certain individual, but will the reader be sympathetic to her/him? And when I introduce a villain into the story, will the reader judge this character as such, and, as I intend, worry about the connection with the main characters? In my romance stories, the 'villain' is frequently the person keeping the hero and heroine apart.
Although I do not plot at the start, I always need to keep my characters under control. It may sound crazy to a non-writer, but our fictitious people do take on a life of their own. I have to stop them from wandering into idiosyncrasies and behaviours that do not fit with my overall idea of their place. A couple of stories ago, one of my chosen secondary characters wandered out of the story and into one where he was more important, so choosing him like that for the length of a novel was not going to work. He's waiting for a story of his own.
Ultimately, by the time I have finished the drafts, I must be sure I have chosen the characters suitably, and that the tone, the mood, which I impose on them are relevant both to what they have by now turned into a plot and to the genre; the whole narrative should coalesce into a pleasurable read.
Enjoy your reading, best wishes, Priscilla