Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Casting Your Characters with Guest Blogger: Kim Bowman

Win a copy of Wayward Soul & Sylvia Browne’s Contacting Your Spirit Guide today at the Book Boost!

Here's what author Kim Bowman had to say about casting her characters...

I don’t know about other writers, but trying to describe what my characters look like is the hardest part of writing for me. I’ve never suffered from writer’s block, although maybe that’s what this is. I know what I want to happen and how I want my characters to react and feel. The problem I sometimes have is translating that onto paper. Maybe that’s what writers block is. Just a lack of knowing the right words to use rather than a lack of words.

Anyway, I digress.

My problem was solved when I bought my husband the Hoyle Card Games (click here to learn more). He LOVES Euchre, Hearts, etc. and I thought it would be great if he could sit with his Net book and play cards while I wrote to my heart’s content. Guess what? You get to design your own player! I thought I would have some fun so I started designing my husband’s avatar.

When I finished I couldn’t believe what I saw. I had created the likeness of my hero. WHAM! I just stared at the screen. I grabbed a piece of paper and started writing a description of what I saw: strong chin, wavy auburn hair, deep, soul-searching blue eyes. I suddenly saw what was in my mind’s eye.

I decided to try it with my heroine. I already knew she had emerald green eyes, but I couldn’t visualize how to turn a spirit guide into a human. I started moving face shapes around, trying different noses, lips, eyebrows. All of a sudden she was looking out at me. Her beautiful, raven hair and emerald green eyes accentuated her oval face and sharp chin. Her eyes were beautiful but sad. She was carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders.

I knew my villain would be tougher. Mostly because he was part werewolf and there were no werewolf avatars. I wanted him to be dark and mean but believable. This took some time to come up with. But, eventually I had my villain. And what a villain he turned out to be! The minute I saw this picture I thought, “this is not someone you want to meet in a dark alley”.

Pointed nose, high forehead, perched lips, dark, sinister eyes. The brown hair had to be back and off his head, perfectly in place.

Amazingly, if you look at the heroine and hero on my book cover, you see how spot on Elaina Lee got them. They were so close to the images I had in my head and the avatars I came up with (and, no she had no clue I had created these) it was uncanny. The only thing she had to go on was the general description I provided her with, yet she captured the essence of my characters perfectly.

So now, the Hoyle Card Game character creator is my new best friend when it comes to constructing characters in my stories.

It has solved the whole brain freeze problem I had going on. A strange and unusual way to write, but it works for me!

A Note from the Book Boost: I'm a big fan of finding a method that works for you and sticking to it. Sounds like the card game software did the trick for you. How great! Thanks for sharing your tips with our readers. Please tell us more about your book.


When Zanna Seoul accidentally causes the death of a fellow spirit guide’s charge while trying to save the life of the man she loves, she is stripped of her position and banished to Earth to die.

In the spirit world, one doesn’t mess with what’s written. With Zanna no longer guiding him and his memory of her erased, Owen Nash is left wide open as the target of the vengeful spirit guide who feels he’s been wronged. A guide who also happens to be a werewolf.

Once on Earth, Zanna refuses to stand by and watch Owen die, so she intervenes again, setting off a chain of events that could mean death for all of them if she doesn’t go back and undo the mess she’s made. Can Zanna succeed before the werewolf does?


Zanna awoke gasping for air. At first, she thought it was the impact of her spirit body returning to her physical body. The force of the two slamming back together after astral travel was uncomfortable. She expected the heavy pressure on her chest, the elevated heart rate, and the momentary paralysis reentry caused, but she’d never been breathless.

Fear took over when the weight increased, crushing her ribcage. Zanna’s hands flew to her throat where they encountered
fingers wrapped around her neck, squeezing the life out of her.

She blinked many times before her burning pupils adjusted to the bright overhead lights. The swirling white beacons made
her eyes water, blurring her vision. Tears streamed down her face and her empty lungs screamed.

Panicked, she placed her feet on the floor and bucked. She clawed at the hands around her neck desperate to loosen their grip. The vice-like hold only intensified, continuing to push down until she was sure her neck would break. Biting pain stung her smashed windpipe and deflated lungs.

“Cease,” a male voice ordered. The authoritative sound resonated all around the space.

Her attacker’s lethal hands fell away. Her compressed arteries opened, sending blood coursing through her veins so fast her
head spun. She took a deep breath. The air stuck in her crushed throat made her gag and cough. She rolled into a ball, clutching her chest. Several agonizing moments passed before her aching lungs filled with oxygen.

As her physical pain subsided, the dam in her mind broke, flooding her senses with the sound of gunfire, the smell of burning gunpowder, and the sight of blood spraying. Her heart cried out in grief as the horrible memories assaulted her mind. The man she loved was dead.

Want More Kim?

Visit her blog here:

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**Winners for Book Boost February prizes are drawn the first week of March and posted in the Recent Winners box in the right hand side of the blog. Check back to see if you are a winner and to claim your prize! Please leave your contact information in your blog post!**


Greta said...

I have that same problem. I use character boards. Go through magazines, etc. and figure out my character that way...but I'll definitely check out that game. I'm always up for a better way to do things! Thanks for sharing your 'secret' Kim!

Kari Thomas said...

WOW on that Cover, and sooo loved the excerpt! I cant wait to read this one!

Enjoyed your Interview too, and thanks for entering me in your Contest!

hugs, Kari Thomas

Kim Bowman Author said...

Thank you so much, Greta. I do the other things too, but for me this was faster!! Plus the graphics these days ar amazing!!

Kim Bowman Author said...

You are so very welcome, Kari. I'm so glad you stopped by. I love the cover too!!

Kim Bowman Author said...

I want to say a THANK YOU to Christine Ashworth for stopping by and showing support. She was unable to leave a comment so she sent me an email and I told her I would make sure she was included in the contest!!

Thank you, Christine

vickyb said...

What a cool way to create a character! Thank you for letting the rest of us know about this. And the excerpt was incredible.

Kim Bowman Author said...

Thank you so much, Vicky. I'm so glad you liked the excerpt. As a side note, the picture at the start of my post, the avatar I created, is still my husband's character when he plays cards!!

festival8 said...

I usually have an actor I see but it's the interior that I have fun designing. I'm just so fickle lol.

Kim Bowman Author said...

You are so right, Amy. It's amazing how our characters come to life when we add emotions, thoughts, etc.

Although in this book, my characters wouldn't cooperate. My villain was actually supposed to be my hero, but he wouldn't hear of it! I'm so glad I listened to him!!

Margay said...

That's a great tip! What a way to help you visualize your characters.
Btw, your book sounds cool.

Kim Bowman Author said...

Thank you Margay! I'm actually using it on my new WIP for my hero. I can't quite get a visual of him!! I'm hoping I have the same luck.

Thank you so much!! I hope everyone loves it as much as I do.

Chelle Sandell said...

I got booted earlier and suddenly remembered I hadn't bought your book I had to take a side trip to Astraea and got lost in all the wonderful books. =) I have a habit of seeing actors or country singers I love and can usually click with one that reminds me of my hero. I'll do a character sketch after printing out pictures and doing a basic storyline synopsis. Great post, girly!!

Kim Bowman Author said...

awe, Chelle, you're so sweet. Thank you so much. I'm addicted to Hoyle:) and not to play cards (lol)

Ciara said...

I just started finding pics or creating images of characters. It's been fun and a learning experience. I'll have to check out that card game. :)

Kim Bowman Author said...

It was a lifesaver for me, Ciara. I'm so glad you stopped by.