Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Finding the right face

My novella, The Ninja Vampire's Girl came out last week in electronic form.  You can find it at your favorite online retailer.  I thought I'd chat about about how I create my characters.  When I start a story I have to have the characters in mind before I can find the words to make them move.  And that character needs a name.  I had already been working on a Nocturne (Ashes of Angels) in the Of Angels & Demons series and knew that heroine had a sister named Coco.  Make that Rococo.  (Their parents had a thing for 18th century Europe.)  So Coco Stevens became the heroine of this short story.  I had a few details on her from her sister's story, but wasn't sure what she looked like.  I'm very visual, and like pictures on my computer monitor, right alongside the page as I type.

I have a manila folder for Men and one for Women.  I fill these with pics I've torn out of magazines over the years.  When I need a character, I pull out the file and page through until one of them catches my eye.  Carey Mulligan seemed to leap out and scream for me to use her as the heroine.  That was cool.  Only, my heroine is French/British/African-American.  Hmm...well that was no problem.  I think it was the waifishness of Mulligan that really called to me, and then I gave her dark hair and a darker skin tone and it worked.

As for the hero, okay, I admit it, I've always had a thing for Spike, and really, it's not Spike acting in the role of Zane, my vampire in this story.  But I do like his appearance.  So imagine Spike, except give him a scar from forehead, through his left eye, and down to his cheek.  Then add a twist of Jude Law, and that's my guy!  [Can we please just take a moment to admire the pic of James Marsters below?  The man is a god.  No question.]

So you see, it isn't always an exact image that gives me ideas about the hero and heroine, but rather a certain part of the face, or maybe the way they stand in the picture, or a hair style, or even the funky British accent that Spike had.  But pictures help me to keep characters straight, and I always use them.

When you read a book, do you cast the characters and imagine them as movie stars or otherwise when reading?  Do you like knowing who the author had in mind when writing the story, or would you rather come up with your own cast?  

I have an electronic download of THE NINJA VAMPIRE'S GIRL for one lucky commenter, so let me know what you think in the comments!  [Winner announced Saturday.]


Kelly M said...

When I read a book I do think about what the charaters would look and sound like... But I love to know who the author would cast in the roll..... Sometimes I agree with who they pick and other times I think WTF???

Thank you for a chance to win...
Kelly M

Tanya1224 said...

I would rather come up w/my own. If they have a person on the front of the book, I'm constantly comparing the book descriptions w/the cover. So I have my own ideal guy I picture and he's always Tall, dark and handsome. When the book describes golden hair or short etc. I still fill it in w/the version I like =) I think I've liked most of your men in the books of yours I've read though ;)