Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Warts and All

Creating a Character

I look through blogs and articles on line frequently in hopes of hitting on some remarkable secret to help me sell a few more books. A lot more would be nice, but I fancy myself a realist, especially about the writing business. So a few more would be great. More than once I have read the suggestion that writing about my characters might prompt people to want to read one of my novels. I can do this.

I like my characters. Creating them was a work of love. But one of my readers in particular cautioned me constantly to not make them too perfect. I had to study them carefully to find their shortcomings and include them, in order to make them the interesting people my readers come to care about. I had to uncover their warts.

It’s nice to read in reviews of Eli’s Heart:
The characters of the stubborn, lovable, brilliant Eli and the wistful, loving Krissy are beautifully drawn ...
These fictional figures become utterly real to the reader, helping to develop a connection that will make you need to know what is coming next.
“The interpersonal relationships of family and friends is presented with such heartfelt sincerity that the reader is drawn into the story line, feeling all the emotional highs and lows of the characters.”

Eli is a perfectionist, with all the ramifications that entails. He has two heavy burdens he deals with daily: he’s a prodigiously gifted musician and pianist, and he has a frightening congenital heart defect. He can be stubborn. He can be impatient and opinionated. He has a temper which he sometimes has to work hard to control. He has a difficult time sharing his most intense feelings with his wife. He doesn’t want her to know the fear he sometimes experiences. He has to find a way to truly share all of his life with her. He hates that his heart is defective but he doesn’t let it become what defines him.

Krissy is a dreamer. She’s little and cute, and that affects the way she sees the world. She has to deal with disappointment. She bites her fingernails when she’s young. She carries the guilt of having hurt Eli when they were both young teens. Facing up to realizing what Eli lives with daily is not easy for her, and when she finally understands his heart condition and what it means for both of them, it rocks her. She loves her brilliant husband beyond reason and would do anything for him. She can’t fix his heart, but she can try to help him live with his condition.

There is an intense emotional bond between Eli and Krissy – strongly enhanced by the love of music they share ─ and they live with love, courage and humor. One reader commented: “This was more than a love story. It was one filled with music and courage.”  Another said: “The story was fairy tale, full of music and wonder. I felt the love that Eli and Krissy had for each other.” Even though they are musicians, and there is much about music in the book, I’ve been told anyone can appreciate the love story.

One last quote from a reviewer (which I, of course, hope will prompt you to read the book!):
“There are many love stories out there, but Eli’s Heart is probably one of the best love stories of all time.

 cover design by Tristan Flanagan