Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Adding Depth to a Character by Starla Kaye

In Maggie’s Secret Wish, I wanted to create a female character that many women could identify with. Maggie’s life had lost its spark after a bad relationship and she’d buried herself in her work. Her best friend is worried about her. “I bet you haven’t left this apartment in days, maybe weeks. I bet you’ve even been wearing those same clothes all that time. As lovely as those cow-printed lounge pants and KU T-shirt are…not!”

Maggie’s friend wanted to do an intervention, force her out of the seclusion of her comfort zone and into the dating world again. Like many women who have gone through a depressing end to a romantic relationship, she is reluctant. Her self-esteem is at a low level, other than with her work. She’s out of practice at looking her dating best, especially in comparison to her “perfect” friend. Nail polish? What was that? Maggie hadn’t been to a beauty salon in… okay, it had been a while. Her almost waist-length pale blonde hair had a mind of its own, so usually ended up in a braid in an attempt to control it. Maggie felt she always looked like she didn’t have a clue about what to do with her hair, how to apply more than just eye shadow and mascara, or what was the latest fashion trend..

These are the kinds of specifics to turn the computer geek who lost her last lover into a character that a reader could identify with. Most of us have had a depressing time now and then. We’ve worn our comfy clothes and hidden away for a short time to watch TV or read a book or whatever. We’ve given in to the need to baby ourselves and let our bruised heart/ego heal. We don’t look our best at those times.

Taking that character depth and growth a step farther, Maggie now faced stepping back into the world, getting out of her apartment, and possibly trying out the unique matching 1 Night Stand service of Madame Evangeline that her friend recommended. Still, like most of us would, she balked. Am I really that desperate? Well, there was that no-sex-with-an-actual-man-in-almost-forever thing. And she’d been having these dreams lately, these fantasies about…

I also wanted to create a male character worthy of my heart-bruised, yet secretly curious, woman about to try dating again. I wanted someone unique, a man facing his own issues, and a man who needed a woman like Maggie. Ian is Scottish and far from any kind of man Maggie had known. When he’d turned forty the previous month, he’d finally started questioning what he was doing and what he really wanted to do. It wasn’t that he felt old but rather ready to step into a new phase in his life. Not that he didn’t like both his full-time career as an erotica writer and his part-time career as a professional Dom, because he did. But lately all of it had just felt…well, same-old, same-old.

Ian is a confident man in many aspects of his life and work, but he, like Maggie, doubts he can ever find real love, true happiness. His quirks alone would make many women want nothing to do with him. Oh, he could please a woman better than a lot of men, but that was a sideline of his work as a Dom. And his experiences as a skillful lover helped him add credible depth to his erotica novels. But he was not suitable husband material and he knew it. He’d done quite a bit of thinking about that lately. The fact saddened him. Once upon a time he’d been like the majority of people, certain he would mature into adulthood, establish his life’s work, find a woman to settle down with, and then have a family. Now because of what he did, because of what he’d done, because of…no, he’d never have that kind of normalcy in his life.

These are some of the little ways to fluff out a basic character into someone who seems real to the reader. To find out how Maggie and Ian continue to reveal themselves, continue to grow and heal, and see the specialness of their unique relationship, you will have to read their story, Maggie’s Secret Wish.


Maggie’s boring workaholic life and focus on her obnoxious ex is grinding her down. A friend’s advice sends her to Madame Evangeline’s high-end dating service 1 Night Stand. She hopes to find some fun, a date, and va-va-voom sex…not necessarily in that order. At least she will get out of her apartment for one hot night! Because, yes, she is just that desperate for a change, and there is that secret fantasy she’s been wanting to try out….

As Ian turns forty, his day job as writer of steamy erotica and night job as part-time Dom has him worried he will never have a “normal” relationship. With his particular kinky quirks, what woman would consider him husband material? Madame Eve is pretty good at her own job, are these two a match in a million or just a one night flash in the pan?



Maureen said...

I'm intrigued. And I like the thoughtful nature of both characters. That lost in life angst is very attractive to my inner reader.

Starla Kaye said...

Thanks for stopping by, Maureen. I loved working with these two characters--real people to me. Both had flaws, hopes, secret desires.

irishshammrocks said...

I always want to try a new book! Good luck! :)

Barbara Elsborg said...

That was very interesting, Starla. You sound as though you put a lot of thought into those characters. I feel ashamed to say mine sort of just happen, but I do love inventing flaws!

Starla Kaye said...

Barbara, I put some basic thought into the characters when I come up with their very basic info. Then I start writing and they show me all the details I didn't know. I'm almost as surprised by how things develop as readers are. Which is great fun!

Keira Kroft said...

It's nice too meet you Starla.This is defiantely a book I am going to judge by it's cover--Hot!It's on my must read soon list :)

Have a rockin awesome day!
Hugs, Keira

Anonymous said...

Maggie's Secret Wish sounds like a great read! I think most women have had at least one time in their lives where they are down, sit in the same clothes for a while, and have a hard time getting going again. I wouldn't mind meeting a sexy guy getting me out of my funk, though! LOL

books4me67 at ymail.com

Unknown said...

Sounds Good.


Starla Kaye said...

Thanks to all of you who stopped by. There are a lot of great books here at Decadent and I feel honored to be among these outstanding authors.

Dominique Eastwick said...

OOOOO I can not wait to read this,