Wheee! I’m so lucky to have this blog so I can bug all my friends whose books I love to guest! Give a nice warm welcome to HelenKay Dimon who writes awesome romance and romantic suspense!
Thank you so much for inviting me here today. I thought this would be a good time to answer a question/comment that keeps coming up in reader emails. It goes something like this: your characters, especially your heroines, have difficult pasts. Do you ever think about giving them a break?
The real answer is that I give the characters the backstory that fits who I think they are. You see, I was a divorce lawyer for a long time. I learned that many people live with very difficult, sometimes debilitating, pasts. Those things that happened to them before shape who they are now. How they act and react depends, at least in part, on what they’ve lived through. Someone with trauma in their past might have different survival skills. I love exploring those possibilities, playing the “what if” game in figuring out who these very special are and how they manage everything around them.
So, when coming up with a character, I think in terms of what the person has seen and experienced. Sometimes, like in my newest release, WHEN SHE WASN’T LOOKING, the backstory includes something so tragic that I can’t imagine how I would survive it if it happened to me. In this case, the heroine, Courtney, lost her entire family in a supposed murder-suicide. You read about those horrible events in the news all too frequently. I wondered what something so horrifying would do to a family member who managed to survive. How something that devastating happening to a teen girl would influence who she became as an adult…and the character of Courtney was born.
I think it really comes down to writing about survivors. These people aren’t victims. They are strong and determined, yet wounded. They deal with things most of us, fortunately, can’t fathom. Add in an ongoing suspense component and the promise of love and, for me, you have a winning combination. After all, who doesn’t want to see a survivor thrive? I know I do.
HelenKay is giving away WHEN SHE WASN’T LOOKING, or a book from her backlist, winner’s choice. Winner announced in the next Monday Winners Post!
May 8th, 2012 at 6:23 am · Link
I love your characters and your books! Can’t wait to read When She Wasn’t Looking!!
May 8th, 2012 at 6:25 am · Link
Waving hi to both of you. It’s always interesting to me to hear what the author thinks about her characters once the book is complete. Survivor is a good word for Courtney. I really liked this book! And she is, indeed wounded, strong, and determined.
May 8th, 2012 at 6:46 am · Link
Interesting post; I enjoyed reading it.
Thank you for sharing some insights to character development and writing.
May 8th, 2012 at 6:57 am · Link
I haven’t read your books so far. But your statement,
“After all, who doesn’t want to see a survivor thrive? I know I do.” , has piqued my curiosity. So I’ll give “When she wasn’t looking” a try.
May 8th, 2012 at 7:33 am · Link
Congrats on the book great reviews like the stories fof
survial and emotional chacaters
May 8th, 2012 at 8:00 am · Link
Hi, ladies! I think living through bad/rough experiences always turns out an awesome hero/heroine. Stronger, more determined. And it makes it easier for us to feel a connection w/ them ~ the fact that they aren’t perfect.
May 8th, 2012 at 9:10 am · Link
I love love love you books. I have a massive collection.
May 8th, 2012 at 9:33 am · Link
Wow, I hadn’t realized that you were a divorce lawyer – that had to give you enough writing material for mountains of books! And I agree with Melissa B – heroes and heroines are more interesting when they’ve lived a little.
May 8th, 2012 at 10:14 am · Link
Lauren – Thank you for having me here!
Hi everyone. Thank you for the lovely comments about my books. I think Melissa summed up my thoughts so nicely with this: “And it makes it easier for us to feel a connection w/ them ~ the fact that they aren’t perfect.” Yes. God, yes. I don’t want perfect. I don’t know perfect people. But I do know a lot of flawed people, a lot of survivors. I’d much rather write people like them. 😉
May 8th, 2012 at 10:39 am · Link
Very interesting post, I will definitely be checking out your books.
May 8th, 2012 at 11:19 am · Link
Great post, I enjoy learning small tidbits about the authors I like. 🙂
This book looks great and I am excited to read.
Thanks for the chance.
May 8th, 2012 at 1:55 pm · Link
Congrats on the new release, HelenKay. We need a backstory to better understand the character and their actions.
May 8th, 2012 at 2:57 pm · Link
I’ve not read any of your books. But I LOVE romantic suspense.
May 8th, 2012 at 4:19 pm · Link
And in today’s world we see so much bad stuff happening, it breaks my heart!
May 8th, 2012 at 5:01 pm · Link
“(Survivors) are not victims”
This is such an important distinction, I wish we would see it more clearly both in fiction and in the news. Thank you, Ms Dimon!
May 8th, 2012 at 5:41 pm · Link
Congrats on the book! That’s a terrible tragedy. Sounds like a strong heroine.
May 8th, 2012 at 6:36 pm · Link
Congrats on the release! I think stories with strong characters who have survived against the odds are really interesting.
May 8th, 2012 at 6:58 pm · Link
I just love Jelen Kay Dimon’s books. They are fun, easy reads. I look forward to reading this one.
May 8th, 2012 at 7:10 pm · Link
I would rather read about a flawed person or a survivor. It gives hope to the rest of us that you don’t need to be perfect or have everything easy to have a happy life. There is always that hope that things can and will get better.
May 9th, 2012 at 1:54 pm · Link
I’m thankful you put your characters through the wringer, HelenKay–survivors are great heroes and heroines. They’re interesting and exciting to read about, and they’re encouragement for those of us who need a little reminder to keep on!
May 9th, 2012 at 5:30 pm · Link
Hi everyone! I see I’m not the only one who enjoys stories about survivors. I LOVE that.
May 9th, 2012 at 11:34 pm · Link
I like characters who aren’t perfect. They are flawed and have a past. I like seeing them overcome their circumstances and grow as a person. I do think it depends on the story. Some calls for stronger characters.
May 10th, 2012 at 5:43 pm · Link
Sounds like a great read!
May 13th, 2012 at 4:34 am · Link
LOVED LOVED LOVED reading HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO. Now that you have whetted my appetite, so to speak, I’m looking forward to reading WHEN SHE WASN’T LOOKING too.
Yes, of COURSE I want to see a survivor thrive! One of the things I love about reading romances is the variety of themes that authors employ. I am never bored!
Thank you all for sharing your love of words with me – another person who loves the written word.