Thursday, December 2, 2010

Get Character Savvy with Guest Blogger Margie Church

Win a copy of Dangerous Love and meet author Margie Church today at the Book Boost!

Here's what she had to say about creating Bulletproof Characters...

Everyone knows an actor or actress who pours their heart and soul into a role to bring the character alive. Those watching the movie have the benefit of sight and sound to bring everything together. But how does an author create that kind of life in a character who'll never appear on the screen?

I write angst-filled, suspense novels so I need to think through the major plot points to avoid two things. First: giving away the plot. Second: writing myself in a corner. What are the dilemmas, high points, obstacles, and results the characters must endure? I outline the plot's questions and answers to refer to when I write. Then the fun begins.

Imagination unleashed.

It's easy to say, "Okay, I need a hunky guy and a hot woman or two hunky guys in this book." Go find a photo and start writing, right? Not.

Sure I'm going to look for photos that seem to fit my idea of what the character will look like, but I also want to get a real sense of him. For that, I'm going to think about his heritage and find a name that suits him. Then I compare my plot to the character and look at this character's motivations to be who he is or going to become. I have to let go of my own personal biases about their behavior and history to make them believable. Bulletproof. Three D.

In my newest book, Dangerous Love, I spent a tremendous amount of time on a character named Ladislav Husek. He leads the vampire nation, and building his motivations was really fun.

Ladislav is the epitome of a psychopath. His vampire existence allows him to live in a conscience-free state. Does he do that peacefully? Hell no. Ladislav is driven by hatred and jealousy. The woman he loved despises him and puts at least one continent between them at all times. Creating a despicable history between Ladislav and Victoria was disturbing at times. He turned her into a vampire accidently, but how it happened and what she did to him after, well, it made me cringe. But it showed good motivation for why he and Victoria act the way they do.

Ladislav also murders vampires who are involved with humans and uses the services of the prophets to create misery just for fun. This doesn't bode well for my hero, Wade, who is a vampire and his love, Jui, who is human.

By the time I started writing his scenes, I had a clear idea of his physical characteristics, what his hair felt like right, down to the little pornstache on his chin. I had an idea of his voice and favorite sayings. I felt his evil soul and emotional triggers. I even knew where his scars were and why he had them. His nickname: Laddy (only used by two people close to him). What's his favorite blood type: B negative. What does his house look like in Brno, Czech Republic?

All of this information was written down so whenever Ladislav appeared in my pages, I kept him in character. If he was going off like a bomb, it was because he had the right motivation to do so. In other words, he'd become bulletproof—memorable long after the story ended.

I'm kind of glad to be done writing him for awhile. He's an insomniac and liked to keep me awake with him. Nasty vamp. One of my favorite Ladislav lines: "You'll gargle piss for all eternity if I say so." Is that vulgar and disgusting? Absolutely. But there's nothing nice about Ladislav.

A Note from the Book Boost: Ladislav sounds like a well developed character that will be delicious to read! Thanks for sharing your characterization tips with us. Please tell us even more about your book!


Wade Kairos faces deadly consequences for defying the leader of the vampire nation. Ladislav Husek partners with Master Prophet Dirk, to prove Wade can run but he can't hide. And neither can Jui Fabrice, the woman Wade loves. Every bit of his ingenuity is needed to protect her from being turned into a vampire or a prophet.

If that's not enough trouble for him, another vampire from Wade's past comes forward and makes it abundantly clear that what used to be hers is still up for grabs.

Someone will pay with their life in Dangerous Love.


Ladislav laid V One back against her plump bed pillows. A faint sound reached his ears, making him frown. "Did you hear that?"

V One drew him to her lips. "I didn't hear a thing."

The sound came again, and Ladislav cricked his neck, listening with all the concentration he possessed. A familiar scent reached his nose. "I have to go."

"Not so fast," V One said, jerking him back into her arms. "I didn't get what I want yet."

Separating her fingers from his shirt, he said, "I'll be back."

"But Ladislav—"

He hurried to the door. "I'll be back."

With V One's door securely locked, Ladislav teleported himself to the other wing in his catacomb. The nearer he got, the more pissed he became. At this point, he didn't give a rat's ass whether V Two saw him appear without opening the door or not. There's going be hell to pay.

V Two was slumped against the headboard with her lap covered in blood. His teeth ached, and his mouth watered. His first instinct was to taste the prize before him. Her heart rate sounded slow and erratic. Ladislav had no choice but to heal her wounds before she bled out. He leaned forward and spat on the ragged cuts. Then he licked them and spat again, sealing and healing the slits as though weeks, not minutes had passed.

He used telepathy to reach his associate, Ander. "Get down here. V Two tried to kill herself."

Seconds later, Ander appeared in V Two's bedroom.

"Is it too difficult to ensure two mere humans don't turn into prophets before we're ready?

What kind of a fucking buffoon are you?"

Ander's eyes darted between the half-dead woman and his superior. His tone was flat and unemotional. "She was asleep the last time I was in here, and I checked on her about forty-five minutes ago. She was quiet."

"What was she thinking? Did you take the time to scan her thoughts?"

Ander's face twisted into a snarl. "She was thinking about you!"

Ladislav couldn't suppress a smile. "Why didn't you let me know?"

"Because you were busy with V One. She's your favorite, after all. And all V Two does is whine and pout. She's annoying."

"So you nearly let her die! If she becomes a prophet over this escapade, I'll feed you to them myself." Ander's posture stiffened, letting Ladislav know he'd struck a chord with the insolent vampire. "I strongly suggest you nurse her back to excellent health and keep a vigilant watch on our lovely guest. Because if you don't, Dirk will be more than happy to collect your sack of bones to feed to his werewolf buddies. Am I clear?"

Ander nodded.

"Stay with her. Get her cleaned up, and keep me apprised of her condition. I'll be—"

"With V One."

Ander's head snapped back from the force of Ladislav's blow. Tangled up with a wooden chair, he stumbled but managed to avoid toppling on his ass. His right ear lay in his hand. Baring his teeth, Ander gave Ladislav a menacing, challenging growl. His pupils became leaping, yellow flames. His lips quivered as he rose from the floor with a dangerous snarl on his face.

Joy rose in Ladislav's dead heart. He spoke telepathically to Ander. "It'll be my pleasure to show you into hell."

Ander was no match for Ladislav. Their bodies met with a powerful force, but it took only a few seconds for Ladislav to slice Ander's head from his neck. Ladislav wiped the thick blade on his pant leg and slipped the dirty knife back in his pocket. Kicking the exterminated vampire's head made him feel good. For good measure, Ladislav poked the vacant eyes with the toe of his shoe and laughed. With a grin still on his face, he let out a contented sigh. "Ah, that was fun."

He glanced at the bed and the unconscious woman lying on it. Ladislav closed his eyes and concentrated, summoning Master Prophet Dirk.

Minutes later, Dirk's voice sounded in Ladislav's brain. "What do you need?"

"I have one for your friends. Ander and I had an unfortunate misunderstanding. Send somebody to V Two's chamber to take care of him. Then, I want to see you."

Want More Margie?

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Contest time:
Answer this question to be eligible to win a copy of Dangerous Love: If you could be a character in a book, who/what would you be and why?

Winner selected in about a week and posted in the Recent Winners box on the right hand column of the blog. Check back to see if you've won and to claim your prize!


Margie Church said...

Thanks for having me. I'm thrilled to have Book Boost as the 9th stop on Dangerous Love's blog tour. I'm looking forward to hearing about favorite characters, and, of course handing out a copy of Dangerous Love!

B.J. Wheeler said...

Ladislav sounds like a real charmer, lol. I can't wait to read the entire story in "Dangerous Love". Great blog about character development.

B.J. Wheeler said...

As for what type of character would I like to be in a book? Hmmm, a hybrid character- say half-vampire or half-Angel... something that has both the strengths and gifts/abilities of the supernatural, yet the frailties, vunerabilities and emotions of a human.

Margie Church said...

Hi BJ! Ladislav has definitely become part of my skin this year. Yikes. He's fascinating, IMO. You're the second person to like that half-angel personna. Kind of a supernatural bad boy, huh? Interesting.

thanks for coming by!

Tami said...

I would be Maggie in Nancy Henderson's book Wicked Redemption cause she gets to get hot and busy with Cole!

Margie Church said...

ROFL Tami....or shall I call you Maggie? I can identify with that heavy sigh. Been there, done that. Sometimes I write about them...other times I just read! I think sexy heroines are the reason I write romance. I write erotic romance cuz the love scenes were too darn short! LOL

Don't be a stranger. I'd like to get to know you. Friend/Follow/Blog me!


Kate Richards said...

You know how crazy I am about Ladislav. There's something about those secondary characters who can be far more twisted than the main characters. I also love when a reader falls for them lol. I want a Ladislav T-shirt.

Margie Church said...

Ladislav...oh Kate you are twisted. Laddy with a big vampire toothy grin. LOL You got me. I'll have to see if I can come up with something suitable.

Hugs my friend. I love having you around.

Dominique Eastwick said...

oH my character would have to be a shifter I think, equal to my hero in many ways but still needing my alpha male. :)

Can't wait to read this one Margie.

GailS said...

Ladislav is epitome of a character that we love to hate. He is scary, mean and disgusting. This character created an ambiance of angst and chaos that had my heart pounding faster and made it impossible to put this book down. Yea, I would say this character is bulletproof.

Margie Church said...

Dominique...If I had eternal life, I'd be a shape shifter. I think they have all the possibilities. Thanks for visiting!

Margie Church said...

Gail, you made me really happy with that remark. Ladislav is hard to forget. Sometimes I had trouble writing his scenes. He is such a freak. But, this was him, not me...right? mwahahahaaha!