“How much of yourself have you put into Zoe Sinclair?” I was asked in a radio interview, “As far as looks, age?”
Physically speaking, nothing. The door to my heart and thoughts, however, was thrown wide open, the similarities endless.
I spent little time describing Zoe because actions and thoughts should do the work. I wanted someone who is completely and totally her own person. Someone flawed. She is not conventionally beautiful, yet can’t be ignored. I wanted intelligent, complicated. Intense.
A lot to ask of any character. So, how does one accomplish this?
Well, I gave Zoe the entire emotional, psychological, and moral weight of the story, since Stranger or Friend is written exclusively from her viewpoint. I didn’t want her role pushed to the background, become incidental or one-dimensional compared to other characters.
Why? First, because characters are the most important element — in my opinion — of almost all fiction. As a veracious reader myself, I respond most to compelling characters facing distinct challenges in memorable settings.
Second, the challenges ahead would break her to pieces. Intensity mattered. In order to complete the journey, she’d have to put the pieces back together. This story, you see, had been developing for years in the author’s mind. Now, it was Zoe’s journey; she couldn’t be bothered with small things.
She took her seat … near the head of the coffin. The wool of the black dress on her skin irritated the heck out of her. She should’ve worn a pant suit but brought nothing black from L.A. Conforming to tradition, Zoe threw on the dress from Father’s funeral. The one she’d left behind to forget. But like unwanted company, death returned; so here she sat, back in black.
~~ Well, dear blogging friend, we laughed, moaned and groaned, but … we’ve made it. I hope you enjoyed the behind-the-scene inspiration for my mystery novel, Stranger or Friend. Now, a break before returning to our regular schedule. Thank You. Your comments this month have been like flowers on my heart. Sending all of you a great, big cyber hug! Feel it?