I’m excited to be here today to talk about my favorite part of writing, “Where in the World are your Characters.” As an international traveler to exotic locations, I turned to sharing my romantic adventures by writing travel features for many of the major cruise lines, as well as travelogues for smaller presses. As an avid romance reader, I realized I could share my travels with romance readers like myself. When I started writing Amazon Connection (my first romantic suspense adventure), it started out as a contemporary romance. It was like eating milquetoast. Something was missing.
Have you ever read a book where you’re ‘told’ your characters are in another country? They mention the country, a town, or city maybe once or twice in the book, but that’s all. There is never any other mention of the country, or any description of the location throughout the entire book to give you an idea of where in the world your characters really are. Maybe it’s the travel writer in me, but I suddenly realized I was trying to write like other writers. I needed to enhance my stories by having my characters not only pit themselves against each other and the villain, but their environment as well. Damn. I’ve done that walk in the rainforest. Path? What Path? I did the alligator hunting at midnight with a full moon and glistening water hibiscus scene where the small outboard motor conked out leaving me stranded. I’ve seen those bird-eating spiders crawl out of their nests in the ground, anacondas stretched to full length, and the small villages and indigenous people in the back of beyond close up and personal. I decided that Amazon Connection would be much more interesting to have my heroine have to deal with all this, especially if she’s afraid of things that go bump in the night!
So, I asked myself, why in the world would I not share all these wonderful, exciting, romantic experiences with my readers, while revealing my character’s inner strengths and weaknesses through their interaction and reaction to their surroundings. Give them a chance to overcome some of their insecurities, weaknesses, become more humble, and even fall in love against all the odds. And, let the reader know just where in the world their characters are.
Featured title: Amazon Connection
Shanghai Connection coming soon!
Available: The Wild Rose Press
Author Web site: www.carolhenry.org
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Have to check out Amazon Connection. I have only read about the Amazon. How amazing! Good luck with the release of Shanghai Connection. Can't wait to see how you top alligator hunting at midnight, bird-eating spiders, and anacondas...
Thnanks, Jerri, Topping Amazon wasn't as easy at first, but when Brooke gets lost in that ancient Shanghai Hutong and witnesses a murder, all hell breaks loose.
Since I love to travel, I found your insights very interesting. I'm looking forward to reading Amazon Connection and have it on my shopping list.
Love your description of the Amazon, Carol. Sounds like an adventure packed story!
I don't think I'd survive the Amazon. Nope. Not the snakes, or other things you mentioned. It's those spiders that eat birds! I'm barely bigger than a bird!!!!!
Love to read this book though. Thanks for sharing a piece of your travels.
I love to travel - anywhere. Great blog.
Welcome, Carol! I love exotic locales in novels, and with your travel background you're able to include all those details that give the reader a real sense of "being there". Amazon Connection sounds like a great book.
Sorry I'm a bit tardy, had to step out for a moment. Thanks Barbara, Jannine, Calisa and Brenda for stopping by. Actually, with a guide, the Amazon isn't too scary -- well, maybe a little. It helped that I really didn't know what I was getting myself into when I went. I'm not very brave, but like I tell friends and family, I don't like to be left out and left behind. I've done many things, egged on by my husband, that I would never dream of doing on my own. I often pick and book the trip, he picks the adventures when we get there. What a team!
Carol - I believe setting can be a secondary character in a book. Since I don't like spiders and weird slithery things, I'd much prefer to read about the Amazon than be there. Thanks for taking the time to make sure I feel like I've been there!
Thanks for stopping by Lynne. I try not to overload readers with too much description, but I feel they need to get a good sense of where the characters are. It gives the story more depth. And yes, sometimes it can be like a secondary character, especially when the main characters are pitted against their surroundings.
I love the way you use the environments to highlight character flaws... you're always telling us (in the writing group) to reveal character by "showing". And you make it come to life in Amazon Connection - I really felt like I was right there in the rain forest - which you made feel so much different than the temperate forest outside my back door.
Now if I can just do that with my book...
Thanks for stopping by, Sue. I'm sure you'll have no problem working your environment into your book, especially as you're such a great writer of the sciences for the young. I only hope that readers get the same scope of my experiences in China in Shanghai Connection.
What a fascinating way to share your unique travels! I'm excited to read Amazon Connection. Thanks so much for guest blogging with us.
Thanks, Laura, it was a pleasure to be here and get such nice comments. It's a great blog. I've put it in 'my favorites' so I'll be sure to visit again.
Sorry I am a bit late, have been ill for the last few days. Nice to have you as a guest. Great blog.
Just checking in one last time. Sorry you've been ill Margaret, I hope you're doing much better now. Take care.
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