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Ann, welcome back! I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on believable characters. I know your story-stars have a wonderful way of sticking in my mind long after the last page of their story has been read ;) Ann, pens paranormal romance and you’ll get a peek at a couple of her books below…along with a bit about Ann.
Without further delay…let’s hear what Ann has to say about:
What is it about Believable Fictional Characters?
Think about your favorite hero or heroine in fiction. Can you close your eyes and visualize them standing in front of you? What do they look like? How do they smell? What is their posture like as they stand there?
If you can answer those questions, the author did a most excellent job and that is likely why the character you picked became a favorite. Moving on from how they look, the angle of their head, the quirk of their brows, can you guess their reaction to being asked a particular question? Will they flirt with you? Or will they take you seriously and try to make you feel at home?
Obviously I can’t speak for other writers, but my characters come alive in my mind. I not only visualize them, I can hear them talking. They actually put words under my fingers as I type dialogue. It feels like I’m more an intermediary than anything else.
Few things are worse in a book than wooden dialogue where a reader shakes their head, knowing real people would never say something like that. Being a psychologist has given me an unexpected edge. I’ve spent so many years listening to people tell me things, writing dialogue comes naturally. And along with dialogue, comes a character’s reactions to other characters in the story. No one gets along all the time. Likewise, people aren’t always at odds with one another.
The trick is to have enough tension between characters to make the story interesting. No one wants a novel where the reader can predict exactly where the story is going to go next. On the other hand, no one wants characters whose motivations are so obscure the reader never knows quite what’s going on. I just finished a novel with so many loose ends, it felt unsatisfying. It was a series book, but still, some level of closure before the words, “The End”, would have helped. And unlike a Karen Marie Moning Fever Series book where I can’t wait to buy the next one, this other author didn’t inspire quite that level of enthusiasm.
What’s the difference? Simple. I care about KM Moning’s characters enough to want to know what will happen next. To borrow from psychology, characters that resonate for us hold projections of parts of us we hold dear. The part of me who always wanted to be psychic lives in my character, Lara McInnis. The part of me who wants to pit myself against evil lives in KM Moning’s characters: Mac and Jericho.
I think that’s why fantasy in general and urban fantasy in particular holds such wide appeal. Set in the real world, we can imagine ourselves as the hero or heroine of the tale. It’s empowering in many ways. And I think it’s really healthy to give our imaginations free rein.
Take a look at that favorite character from earlier. What made you pick them? Why do they live in your head? What’s different between them and a less memorable character? I’d love to know who your favorite characters are. I’m always looking for great books I haven’t read. Thanks for reading this post. If you feel like it, check out my blog http://anngimpel.blogspot.com
Click Cover for Buy Link
A Time for Everything
By Ann Gimpel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Siobhan Macquire’s fortune has attracted a string of men who are out to drain her for everything they can get. Her last boyfriend was no exception. Furious at being used—again—she goes for a walk in the Highlands.
With the weather worsening, she wanders alone for hours. She’s soaking wet and starting to get scared when someone calls out to her. A striking-looking man emerges from the mist. Except there’s something wrong. His kilt is way too long and he talks with an archaic accent. Siobhan soon finds herself not only lost in the countryside but also in time.
Click Cover for Buy Link
By Ann Gimpel
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Gabrielle McCallaghan just lost her job. Seeing the writing on the wall, she quit to spare her uncle the embarrassment of having to fire her. With her bond fairy on her shoulder, she strides through a crowded neighborhood contemplating her options.
Out of nowhere, a gorgeous, full blood magic wielder appears and makes a beeline right for her. Gabby knows her hybrid witch magic is no match for his, so she tries to evade him. The fairy does her best to help, but the contest is laughable. Even in his human form, the wolf-man is still stronger than she ever dreamed of being.
It doesn’t take long before Gabby is drawn into a deadly game of intrigue that started over a thousand years before. The stakes are high and the timing abysmal, but she finds herself falling in love in spite of herself. Can she and her full blood lover make a life for themselves? Or will the long-running battle between full bloods and hybrids pound the fragile bond between them to dust?
About Ann Gimpel
Ann Gimpel is a mountaineer at heart. Recently retired from a long career as a psychologist, she remembers many hours at her desk where her body may have been stuck inside four walls, but her soul was planning yet one more trip to the backcountry. Around the turn of the last century (that would be 2000, not 1900!), she managed to finagle moving to the Eastern Sierra, a mecca for those in love with the mountains. It was during long backcountry treks that Ann’s writing evolved. Unlike some who see the backcountry as an excuse to drag friends and relatives along, Ann prefers her solitude. Stories always ran around in her head on those journeys, sometimes as a hedge against abject terror when challenging conditions made her fear for her life, sometimes for company. Eventually, she returned from a trip and sat down at the computer. Three months later, a five hundred page novel emerged. Oh, it wasn’t very good, but it was a beginning. And, she learned a lot between writing that novel and its sequel.
Around that time, a friend of hers suggested she try her hand at short stories. It didn’t take long before that first story found its way into print and they’ve been accepted pretty regularly since then. A trilogy, the Transformation Series, featuring Psyche’s Prophecy, Psyche’s Search and Psyche’s Promise is complete. The initial two books have been published, with the final volume scheduled for release in 2012. One of Ann’s passions has always been ecology, so her tales often have a green twist and the Transformation Series is no exception.
In addition to writing, Ann enjoys wilderness photography. Part of her website is devoted to photos of her beloved Sierra. And she lugs pounds of camera equipment in her backpack to distant locales every year. A standing joke is that over ten percent of her pack weight is camera gear which means someone else has to carry the food! That someone else is her husband. They’ve shared a life together for a very long time. Children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out their family.
@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)
Ann, thank you for sharing your thoughts on believable characters, loved it. Intriguing post! A Time for Everything, and Gabrielle’s Cauldron, both sound like an excellent paranormal romance reads. Congratulations on a couple of excellent releases and I wish you many more successes:)
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Until Next Time…Warm Hearts & Hugs,