The Power of Memorable Characters
From the moment vampire Achilles Stefanos slipped into the pages of my story, wrapped his arms around my waist and whispered in my ear, “You know you want to write about me.” I was hooked.
Sure he was a secondary character in my story, but wanted his own book, he was sexy as hell and had magnetism that was off the charts. I had to promise it to him in order to shut him up long enough to finish writing the first book in my Sons of Midnight mini-series for Nocturne. But now Achilles is very happy, especially since his story, The Vampire Who Loved Me is now out in the world.
Memorable characters are those who not only intrigue us, but teach us something about ourselves and our world. Achilles is a Spartan warrior, an ancient Greek who was turned into a vampire by choice through the ancient rites of the original worshipers of the ancient gods. He did it for a priestess, who eventually became both his maker/mentor and his imprinted love. But when she dies during the Inquisition, Achilles is left a Halfling – a vampire who has lost the ability to feel true emotion because of the imprint that allowed him to share both the powers and the pain of the vampire who shares his imprint. The whole time I was writing Achilles the song “Wake Me Up Inside” by Evanescence played over and over again on the soundtrack I created for the book. (side note: I make a new one for every book – it helps me get into the story faster as part of my process.)
And the song was so true for him, and as it turns out, by the end of the story I realized it was equally true for my heroine Dr. Rebecca Chamberlin (Beck to her friends). They’re broken for different reasons, but truly each of them has been living dead emotionally for way too long. I also adore the heroine in this book. She was also a walk on secondary character with a smart mouth and a ginormous brain. Beck is just one of those fun brainy heroines who thinks she knows everything but is really utterly clueless when it comes to navigating a relationship. She and Achilles together were just very fun to write and both of them taught me something vital.
You have to accept what you are given to be able to move on. Sometimes life isn’t a choice. Sometimes, it’s just handed to you as a lemon and you get to decide are you going to suck on the lemon as it is, or are you going to squeeze it out, add some sugar and water and drink it. The lemon is still just a lemon. Not bad, not good. It’s what you do with that lemon that creates your experience. Here’s the problem. You have to accept that the lemon is not an apple or a peach or grapes or anything you wish it could be. It’ll be a lemon until you accept that. Once you get past that point, you can actually decide what to do.
But more than that really intrigued me about The Vampire Who Loved Me as a story because it really explores our own cultural biased towards those who have a disease we don’t know how to control. There’s an innate fear and kind of mob mentality there that makes for great fiction. Because my vampires are created by a virus, there are people willing to do anything, including creating a vampire pesticide, to protect themselves. But at what point do we stop seeing people as “them” and realize we’re all “us”?
We all have to live in the same place. We all have to co-exist, even if we don’t agree. We can’t see others who have a disease as different than us, because the reality is one day they could be us. In the story Beck is so bent on seeing vampires as the “other” that her efforts to get rid of them by creating a vaccine almost results in her losing the one man she loves. It’s not until she accepts that vampires are really human, just humans manipulated by a virus into a different kind of being, that she can make things right.
So for me the characters in The Vampire Who Loved Me, were memorable in many ways. I learned a lot from them. I had fun hanging out with them.
But what I’d really like to know is, what makes a memorable character for you?
Raised by a bibliophile who made the dining room into a library, Theresa has always been a lover of books and stories. First a writer for newspapers, then for national magazines, she started her first novel in high school, eventually enrolling in a Writer's Digest course and putting the book under the bed until she joined Romance Writers of America in 1993. In 2005 she was selected as one of eleven finalists for the American Title II contest, the American Idol of books. She is married to the first man she ever went on a real date with (to their high school prom), who she knew was hero material when he suffered through having to let her parents drive, and her brother sit between them in the backseat of the car. They currently live in a Victorian house on a mini farm in the Pacific Northwest with their two children, three cats, an old chestnut Arabian gelding, an energetic mini-Aussie shepherd puppy, several rabbits, a dozen chickens and an out-of-control herb garden. You can find her online on Twitter, Facebook, at her Web site or blogging with the other Lolitas of STEAMED!
You can read my review of The Vampire Who Loves me here
One random commenter that answers what makes a memorable character will win a signed copy of
The Vampire Who Loved Me!
Entries will be accepted until 6/24/2011
Please include your email address with your comment, so that I can contact you if you are the winner.