I have the pleasure of welcoming author, Cindy Blackburn, to Saph's Book Blog today!!! Thank you for being here and talking about your books!!
“I loved Jessie from the very first line!” a book reviewer writes.
“Geez Louise Urko was my favorite character of all,” a reader tells me at a book signing.
“I was so worried about Snowflake!” someone else admits. (Snowflake’s a cat, by the way.)
I love my characters. And I am especially thrilled when readers love them, too. So when Saph invited me to guest post on her blog, I decided to concentrate on my characters. Where do these guys come from? How do I create my characters?
I furrowed my brow and thought about it really hard, and here it is folks—Cindy Blackburn’s startling revelation about character development: It’s all in the writing. I create my characters by writing, and writing some more. And then I just keep on writing and let the characters find me, instead of vise versa. Indeed, my most magical and favorite moments happen when I get into the groove and the characters walk on stage and take over. I sit up straight, listen carefully, and type what they tell me. Bless their hearts, my characters tend to do a lot of talking. Sometimes my fingers can’t keep up!
But some characters are a little shy, or contrary, or downright ornery. They refuse to cooperate. For instance, why won’t the very necessary school superintendant in my current work in progress tell me who he or she is? Are you male or female? Loud or quiet? Kind or obnoxious? Old or young? I sigh dramatically and keep writing. Eventually that superintendant will come out from hiding and start speaking for himself. Or herself. And when this finally, finally happens I’ll need to go back and revise all that stuff I wrote about them when I was in the dark. Like I said, some characters are downright ornery.
But far more troublesome is the dreaded “Character Sketch.” There are several versions of these nasty questionnaires that we authors are supposed to complete for each character before we ever begin writing our books. I ask you, do you enjoy filling out questionnaires? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
The most benign Character Sketch Questionnaires are only a page or two long. But some—I hope you are sitting down—are five pages! No, really! And like any questionnaire you’ve ever filled out, they ask the most tedious and unnecessary things.
How am I supposed to know the age, sex, shoe size, and favorite color of each and every one of my characters before I even begin? Favorite color? I’ve been writing about the co-star of my books Wilson Rye for eight years, three novels, and counting. Cindy Blackburn to Wilson Rye: “Hey Wilson, would you tell me your favorite color for this here character sketch I’m filling out?” Wilson Rye to Cindy: “Are you kidding me?”
There, you see? How am I supposed to know something about my character that he’s never even thought about himself? Some of these charts insist I know every character’s favorite childhood memory or most embarrassing moment. Give me a break. Or better yet, give me my lap top and let me start writing, already!
So there you have it. Just like you and I, characters come alive and take shape when they get thrown into new situations and start mingling with other people. So how do I create my characters? I toss them into the fray and see what happens. Surprise me, I tell them, and let’s have some fun.
Thank you so much for coming here today and talking to the readers and fans!!!
About Playing with Poison:
Pool shark Jessie Hewitt usually knows where the balls will fall and how the game will end. But when a body lands on her couch, and the cute cop in her kitchen accuses her of murder, even Jessie isn’t sure what will happen next. Playing With Poison is a cozy mystery with a lot of humor, a little romance, and far too much champagne.
About Double Shot:
Jessie Hewitt thought her pool-hustling days were long gone. But when uber-hunky cop Wilson Rye asks her to go undercover to catch a killer, she jumps at the chance to return to a sleazy poolroom. Jessie is confident she can handle a double homicide, but the doubly-annoying Wilson Rye is another matter altogether. What’s he doing flirting with a woman half his age? Will Jessie have what it takes to deal with Tiffany La-Dee-Doo-Da Sass and solve the murders? Take a guess.
About Three Odd Balls:
A romantic vacation for…five? This wasn’t exactly what Jessie and Wilson had in mind when they planned their trip to the tropics. But when Jessie’s delightfully spry mother, Wilson’s surfer dude son, and Jessie’s rabidly hyperactive New York agent decide to tag along the fun begins. What kind of trouble can these three oddest of odd balls possibly get into? Take a guess.
Cindy Blackburn has a confession to make–she does not play pool. It’s that whole eye-hand coordination thing. What Cindy does do well is school. So when she’s not writing silly stories she’s teaching serious history. European history is her favorite subject, and the ancient stuff is best of all. The deader the better! A native Vermonter who hates cold weather, Cindy divides her time between the south and the north. During the school year you’ll find her in South Carolina, but come summer she’ll be on the porch of her lakeside shack in Vermont. Cindy has a fat cat named Betty and a cute husband named John. Betty the muse meows constantly while Cindy tries to type. John provides the technical support. Both are extremely lovable.
When Cindy isn’t writing, grading papers, or feeding the cat, she likes to take long walks or paddle her kayak around the lake. Her favorite travel destinations are all in Europe, her favorite TV show is NCIS, her favorite movie is Moonstruck, her favorite color is orange, and her favorite authors (if she must choose) are Joan Hess and Spencer Quinn. Cindy dislikes vacuuming, traffic, and lima beans.
I will choose a winner using Random.org in a few days. Good luck!!