Monday, August 20, 2012

How much of your actual life gets written?

The best parts. Because that’s what gives it color, richness. There’s one scene where my protagonist and his love interest meet at his apartment. She’s looking at photographs on a book shelf and she sees one of him as a child with his family. The thoughts she has are directly related to thoughts I had looking at a picture of my young niece many years ago with her family.

It’s the little moments in life that must be woven into your book to make it real.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Are character names important?

Absolutely the names are important. Are the names to your children important? I named my female lead Kate. That’s sort of a popular name for leading ladies in movies and books and there’s a reason. Kate is a strong name, wholesome, all-American (and Irish, of course). Clean, has that long ‘a’ sound. Crisp, clear. Beautiful.

As opposed to, say, Bobbie. Bobbie happens to be one of my favorite names for a girl. I had an aunt named Bobbie and she was my favorite aunt when I was a kid. She was young and pretty and infinitely cool. But she also happened to be born in the country. I had no problem with that growing up, but I probably wouldn’t give my main character that name. Unless, of course, I wanted her to be a country girl. See?

My main antagonist, Cheslov – for that, I just needed a Russian name. I wanted to avoid the obvious names you see all the times – like Borlov or Boris or Vlad or Vasily. So I googled and googled and finally ran across Cheslov. As soon as I saw that name, I thought it was perfect.

For my protagonist – Mitch – I wanted a simple, single syllable, manly name.

Woody had to be sort of goofy. Molly had to be care free. Paxton had to be a little geekly. The Mayor is really just the Mayor. His name didn’t matter as much.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


My favorite character is Cheslov who is an antagonist… but not necessarily THE antagonist. I struggled at times with dialogue and scene creation for other characters. But for some reason, it just flowed with Cheslov.

My book takes place in 2020. Cheslov is Russian, born around the turn of the century. Around 1900, that is. Somehow he ends up in Tampa in 2020 as hired muscle for the Mayor. How did he survive to 2020 if he was born in 1900?

Something happened in the woods of Rostov.

It’s like that with Cheslov, he’s just naturally creepy. I think Kirkus reviews put it pretty well when they wrote the following in their review of inSyte:

Woven throughout a story with many finely crafted twists, turns and revelations is the charismatic, mysterious, murderous Cheslov Kirill. As a classic merciless political operator, Kirill is unforgettable and chillingly, complexly rendered, especially for a man who uses a school of sharks off the Florida coast for corpse disposal.”

But he’s also charming, likeable on some level. He is the character everyone who reads my novel seems to talk about. Some are darkly drawn to him. Most found him fascinating in his evilness. But he’s the one people remember. Me too.