Finding the perfect character is all about inspiration, according to author Lindy Dale.
Characters are absolutely everywhere!
Readers often ask where I get the inspiration for my characters and the answer is … just about everywhere. Anyone and anything is fair game – especially if they can be embellished for the sake of comedy. So, without further ado, I give you my top sources of inspiration, in no particular order.
1. People I know. Despite how many times I’ve told my hubby he is NOT the main character, Sam, in The Taming of the Bastard series, if he read the book he would know I’m lying. The character looks like him and has very similar qualities to him. Sam’s a lovable rogue and despite the fact that he does the most outrageous things, is kind and very genuine. The only difference is that Sam is mega rich. My hubby is definitely not that.
2. Straight out of my imagination. For some reason, these tend to be the really whacky ones. Paige, in The Taming of the Bastard, was six going on twenty-six. She dropped names and brands with gay abandon and knew more about travelling first class than any child should unless they’re the spawn of the Jolie-Pitt family. It was so much fun creating things for her to say, I almost wanted her to be the centre of the story. And Denise and Colin, Sophie’s parents in Storm in a B Cup are extremely odd. Denise buys Sophie a vibrator and Colin has an interest in medical prostheses. They do Morris dancing and take treks to Nepal. I have no idea where these people came from. They just appeared and the sillier they got, the more I loved them. They’re great for providing light relief in the more serious parts of the plot.
3. Songs. I’m heavily inspired by songs. I don’t make book ‘soundtracks’ as such but whole book ideas often come from the lyrics. I love lyrics, they’re like a book set to music. For instance, I was listening to It Started With A Kiss by Hot Chocolate and I just decided to write a novella about it. And the manuscript for Aidan and Eloise – which almost done – is inspired by the Dire Straits song Romeo & Juliet, especially the acoustic version by Australian singer Lisa Mitchell. It’s beautiful.
4. Me. It might sound dreadfully lacking in modesty but I am my own biggest source of inspiration. I’ve been stranded in an airport in Lombok with no money and no passport, I’ve fallen, face first, down the stairs in the Qantas Club (while sober in case you were wondering) and landed with my Ali McBeal mini around my navel and my knickers on show to the business community of the globe. I’ve also had my breast prosthesis felt up at a party, an event that had to become part of Sophie’s journey in Storm in a B Cup. In fact, the character of Sophie is very like me, right down to loving wine and chocolate and being rather forthright in her approach to the disease of breast cancer.
5. Trashy TV and chick flicks. I hate to say it but I’m a trashy TV addict. I love the Real Housewives and series like Gossip Girl, The Carrie Diaries and Hart of Dixie. And as my writing is about now, it’s shows like these that keep me up to date with what’s going on in the world, – well, the worlds of Teresa and Kyle, anyway. It’s like research. At least, that’s what I tell my husband. Shows like that are so over the top, they provide enormous fodder for character development.
6. People watching/stalking. Especially if they have an over-the-top look or are doing something utterly outrageous. Take, for instance, Annoying Woman. I was in the hospital bed next to her this week. She whined about a private room for four hours, (okay so it was only two). She complained to her husband I was rude and mean when all I asked was that she please turn her mobile on to silent so I could get some sleep. She ordered cups of tea at 3am and turned on the TV. She is now the subject of a blog post. I might not have told her how annoying and rude she was face to face, but her lack of hospital etiquette will live for eternity on my blog.
And I suppose the only way to sum that up is to say … you may need to watch your step if we ever cross paths, or you too could end up as a character.
Sophie Molloy has breast cancer. She didn’t think it was cancer to begin with, she thought it was another cyst. She also didn’t think it would be the catalyst for a series of life-changing events, none of which involved chemotherapy. Within months of her diagnosis, Sophie loses not only her right breast but her boyfriend of three years, her house and her so-called best friend. Her life goes from great to bad, then ugly, and nothing can make it better, not even the crazy carepackages her mother keeps sending from Melbourne. To make matters worse, Sophie fears she’s developing a crush on the plastic surgeon that will be reconstructing her breast. Dr Hanson has the bedside manner of an angel and the looks to match. He’s so caring and compassionate, Sophie begins to believe he cares about her in a most non-doctor-patient kind of way. But he doesn’t, of course. He’s merely her doctor. Or does he?
Recently, I’ve changed my pen name to Lindy Dale in order to sound a little more chick lit but if you’ve come here in search of L.A. Dale, that’s me! I live on an acreage in country Western Australia with my long-suffering and handsome husband, Big G. I have two fabulously talented children and two dogs Poppy and Charlie. On a good day – when not at my day job – you can find me lurking around Twitter and Facebook saying ‘hi’ to followers and generally seeing how much useless information I can impart in 140 characters or less. I’m a hopeless U2 fan, rugby union fanatic, coffee lover, chocoholic, over-exaggerator, trashy TV, music and iPhone addict. If you can’t Google it then it’s not worth knowing! I’ve been writing in the genre of chick lit & women’s fiction for the past ten years and have recently tried my hand at a paranormal romance too!