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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Books Imitate Life: Inspiration for Characters

On Select Wednesdays, I post tips and strategies for writers. 

BOOKS IMITATE LIFE: INSPIRATION FOR CHARACTERS
by J. Rose Allister

Careful, or you'll wind up in my next novel.
You've probably seen a variation of this joke on memes, t-shirts, or coffee mugs. While it may bring a smile to the lips, it might also prompt the question, "But is it true?"
It kind of is.
This confession may conjure images of writers killing characters remarkably similar to the guy who stole their parking spot. Or the nosy neighbor who reported them to the HOA for not trimming the lawn. OR the mailman who always dents the box marked "Fragile." Some may take deliberate delight in cranking out untimely ends for Specific Individuals. For the rest, it's a bit more complicated.

I've had people who, upon learning I'm a writer, ask me to make them a character. To  that I smile. I don't take Jane Smith and toss her whole-hog into a personalized adventure. But Jane's line of work, the way her mouth quirks when she smiles, or her habit of standing outside at precisely five a.m. to await the morning newspaper might be fodder. The first romance hero I wrote, Trenton Dane, is an amalgam of several men. I mashed traits together to give him the  right blend of down-to-earth vs dashing movie star. Other times, the influence of real life on my fiction is accidental. It doesn't become clear until later on.
This isn't to say that all I'm after are fun little nuances. Villains in romance may not meet an untimely end, but it's still satisfying to give them a comeuppance. In my current work in progress, the antagonist is a cheating ex-fiance who's out for revenge. Who wouldn't want to dish out a dose of hard consequences? And in a past werewolf series I wrote, one of the recurring antagonists is a grizzled former colonel type.  My son was injured during a tour with the military not long before this character was created. Though I had no clue at the time, I realized later just what demons I was exorcising when I wrote that guy. (You can imagine that things didn't go well for him by the end.)
So Yes, Virginia, you could wind up in my next book. Parts of you. Hopefully that doesn't sound like a horror novel in the making.


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J. Rose Allister is the author of more than thirty books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Camera Fire -Snippet Sunday

Today's snippet features a hint of brief mature content.

It's Snippet Sunday, a Weekend Writing Warriors'  blog hop!

I'm alternating snippets between this blog and my mainstream romance pen name. This week I'm moving on from the WIP I was thinking about reviving (and probably will, thanks to your feedback!)

Current WIP: I've been hard at work giving Their Secret Paradise, an urban fantasy that dovetails into my Immortal Paradise series, a thorough thrice-over. I'll be offering this 2009 release free to readers. A brand new cover is in the works, and I'm stoked about the design my ARC Team voted for hands down! (It's not quite ready for a blog reveal yet, though. No one else has seen it.)

Quick synopsis: Parapsychology graduate Gina Munson finds her uncle's island resort fascinating-but romantically dangerous. Where the gods Love and Lust reside, none will leave untouched, but the supernatural seduction of the island backfired on her before. Her only interest is to study the paranormal without falling victim to it’s “charms.”

Contractor David Gilroy wouldn’t believe in that power even if he knew about it. He cares only about his building job...until he discovers Gina sunbathing topless. But Gina knows she can’t trust what they’re feeling. How can David convince her that his passion is real? What if it isn’t?

The snippet...
(Edited to fit the snippet format)
This is from the opening chapter, a little ways in. David is snapping photographs of the resort he's been hired to do a construction project for when his camera lens discovers something unexpected...

David pushed into the press of exotic flora, hoping his mosquito repellent was enough to keep hungry tropical critters at bay. Fronds snapped back in place behind him, and he popped out into a generous, cylindrical nook. With interest but no conscious thought, the camera came up again. His finger depressed the shutter automatically for a rapid-fire round of photos as he took in the space. Maybe ten photos had already snapped off when he peered over the top of the Nikon just a bit too late. An occupied lounge chair was straight ahead, featuring the most luscious, mouth-watering pair of...
“Hey!”
He jumped as the heavenly mirage swung around on her lounger, the woman’s feet swooping into delicate sandals as she rose. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”


...So what do you think?


For more awesome snippets, check out 


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I'm J. Rose Allister, wife, working mom, and the author of over thirty-five books. Somewhere in between one and the next, I love hanging out here on my blog and over on Twitter. Give me a comment or follow-I love chatting with people!