By R.J. Harlick
Many characters wander in and out of our stories. Do you have any favorites?
Some characters fly onto the page fully formed; others unfold kicking and screaming almost as if they don’t want to be born. Some have become good friends, some I’ve even fallen in love with, while others I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, like one of the characters in my latest book A Cold White Fear.
I usually have no idea where they come from. I don’t consciously base them on people I know nor do I set out to design one good guy or one bad guy with such and such characteristics. They just happen. Sometimes a character will morph into another one as the story unfolds, when I realize the person who first appeared isn’t the one needed for the story.
During this writing journey with the Meg Harris mystery series, I’ve given birth to many characters. Needless to say the one I’m closest to is Meg. When she first appeared, I only had a rough idea of the kind of person she would become. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to like her, but as Meredith pointed out in yesterday’s blog, you can’t spend years with a character if you don’t like them. After seven books and well into the eighth, Meg has evolved into a fully formed person with a life of her own.
I admire her for her perspicacity in overcoming the challenges I throw at her, for her sense of fairness and her desire to fight injustice. I like and respect her as an individual and greatly enjoy her company. Though I know her intimately, she can surprise me. I may not always agree with her actions or the decisions she makes, but I give her the freedom to be her. I know her so well, that I sometimes find myself refusing a change my editor wants because it is something Meg would never do.
Because it is a series, several characters interweave their lives through the various books. Some I have grown very fond of. I suppose one who is close to my heart is the man in Meg’s life, Eric Odjik. He is Meg’s strength, an island of calm in the topsy-turvy world Meg finds herself living in. I will admit that I am half in love with him too, as are many of my fans. I remember being quite overwhelmed when a fan at a reading mentioned that the relationship between Eric and Meg had helped restore her faith in men. I had the sense that she had been in an abusive relationship, like Meg.
A character I have great fun with is Adjidamo, meaning Little Squirrel in Algonquin, a young boy Meg rescues from a drug overdose in Red Ice for a Shroud. Abandoned by his father at birth, his mother dead, he tackles life with a twinkle in his eye and a mischievous grin. He has laughed his way into Meg’s heart. In my latest book, A Cold White Fear, he faces his greatest hurdle.
Another character I have grown particularly fond of is Teht’aa, Eric’s daughter from a teenage relationship, a daughter he didn’t know he had until she was well into adulthood, a beautiful woman struggling to deal with the challenges in her life. Their relationship starts off in Red Ice for a Shroud full of suspicion, with neither woman liking the other. But as their lives interweave, the two of them come to form a special friendship. She plays a major role in the book I am currently writing, the eighth and as yet untitled Meg Harris mystery.
Take care everyone. Enjoy your day. Until next time.
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