Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Get to know my main characters!

I have seven. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Jess, you have seven main characters? Isn’t that far too many? I disagree, but understand your hesitance. Readers are used to one main character, sometimes we’ll come across a novel that focuses on two characters, three at most. I can honestly say that I haven’t yet read a book with seven main characters in it, but of course feel free to say differently. I haven’t read all the books in the world.

GIFTED is centred around seven young adults, but is narrated by Avery Charlotte Gray, also known as, Ava. Therefore, Ava is essentially my main character, but the story is not complete without the other six characters. I also plan to write from all seven character’s points of views in the third book, hence why I call them all my main characters, but for my first novel – GIFTED, and for your peace of mind (if your mind set does not resemble a state of peace at the thought of seven characters), Ava is my main character.

During the process of writing GIFTED and receiving feedback from readers and beta readers, my first edition of GIFTED - the final version is the fourth - the only big criticism I received was that my seven characters could be more…life like. To readers, my characters just weren’t alive enough. And after thinking over it for a while, I came to understand where they were coming from. I’d spent so much time on Ava, flushing out her personality and drafting up her life-story, that I’d ended up neglecting my other six characters, and each and every one of them is as important as the other. I then came to realise that concentrating on Ava wasn’t the only reason I’d ended up neglecting. The other reason was because my other characters just didn’t interest me as much as Ava did. I liked them enough, but I didn’t love them. That needed to change ASAP. I needed to get to know them better. I know this may sound odd, a writer who doesn’t even know her own characters, the people she essentially made, and I suppose it is a bit odd, but isn’t that how all characters start off? As undeveloped ideas? As shadows? I’m glad I took on board the criticism because thanks to it, I was able to transform my stock characters to real-life people, real-life people who I wish I could meet. People I wish I could pick up the phone and talk to, have lunch with, see a movie with. But just because I made them up and can’t physically see them, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
How did I bring my characters to life? I got to know their personalities by writing up character profiles. By doing this, I was able to get a sense of who my characters are why. What they like and what they don’t like; what they’ve done in the past and want to do in the future, their fears, secrets, regrets, and favourites. And before I knew it, they started to breathe. Allow me to introduce to you, interview-style, Ava, Theo, Baleigh, Lucas, Faye, Peyton and Ollie.

Avery Charlotte Gray
·       Preferred name/nickname? Pretty much everyone calls me Ava. Lucas calls me Avs.
·       Age? 19.
·       Physical description? 5”7, size 12-14, brown hair and eyes, and I wear glasses when I don’t have a spare six minutes to put in my contacts.
·       Hobbies? I like to read, draw, and hang out with friends.
·       Favourite food? Pizza, specifically pepperoni, but I won’t say no to any other.
·       Weak spot? For some reason, chocolate fingers. No idea why.
·       Interesting fact? I really like the taste of lemons. I don’t just sit in a corner drinking lemon juice, but I look forward to sucking on the wedge of lemon that usually comes in my drink when I eat out.
·       Dinner guest choice? Roald Dahl, no question. He’s an imaginative genius.
·       Thoughts in the shower? My plans for the day.
·       How do friends describe you? Loyal, funny, and sort of impatient.
·       Pet peeve? Negative opinions.
·       Biggest fear? Losing loved ones.
·       Gift? Telepathy and pre-cognition. Uncontrollable pre-cognition, I might add.
·       Perfect day? Browsing an art supplies store.
·       Favourite quote? Normal is boring and nobody is good at it.
·       First thing you say in GIFTED? “Someone is watching me.”

Theodore-James Connors
·       Preferred name/nickname? Theo. My big sister calls me TJ.
·       Age? 20.
·       Physical description? 6 feet something, I think. Brown hair and eyes. Baleigh says my best feature is my jawline and to this day, I still don’t know if that’s a compliment.
·       Hobbies? Reading, travelling and charity-work.
·       Favourite food? My grandad’s spaghetti bolognese. I make a pretty good replica.
·       Weak spot? My mum’s chocolate chip cookies ever since I discovered them cooling down in the kitchen when I was a baby. With the help of my sister, my mum came back to crumbs.
·       Interesting fact? I used to want to be a lawyer because my dad is one. He’s a long story.
·       Dinner guest choice? Martin Luther King.
·       Thoughts in the shower? The country I’d like to visit next. This morning’s choice was Dubai.
·       How do friends describe you? Loyal, spontaneous, curious and compassionate.
·       Pet peeve? Judging the interior by the exterior. That really gets to me.
·       Biggest fear? Living and dying in the same city.
·       Gift? Teleportation. In Hayven, I’m called a Shifter.
·       Perfect day? Walking through a new city.
·       Favourite quote? I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.
·       First thing you said in GIFTED? “Sorry about that.”

Baleigh Olivia Castel
·       Preferred name/nickname? Bales. Only one person has ever called me Bayleaf.
·       Age? 20.
·       Physical description? 5”6, brown skin, hair and eyes. I have dimples and a few piercings and tattoos.
·       Hobbies? Krav-maga and eating.
·       Favourite food? If I was forced to pick one? Pasta.
·       Weak spot? Millionaire’s shortbread.
·       Interesting fact? I like the rain. I kissed Theo once. I wanted to be a doctor, but hated the thought of having to deliver bad news. Pick whichever you think is more interesting.
·       Dinner guest choice? Marie Curie.
·       Thoughts in shower? Breakfast.
·       How do friends describe you? Honest, sarcastic, protective, funny, well-meaning.
·       Pet peeve? Lies. If you don’t have the balls to tell the truth, keep your mouth shut.
·       Biggest fear? Losing parents or friends.
·       Gift? I’m a Miroux – a shapeshifter.
·       Perfect day? Shopping and eating out.
·       Favourite quote? Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
·       First thing you said in GIFTED? “Well, that was awkward to listen to.”

Lucas Elliot Aiden
·       Preferred name/nickname? The obvious answer would be ‘Luke’ right? I don’t really have a nickname. Now that you mention it, why don’t I have a nickname? I should ask about that.
·       Age? 21.
·       Physical description? Ranging between 5”11 – 6”. Ash brown hair and blue-green eyes.
·       Hobbies? Girls. I know that’s not the best answer I could give, but if you’re going to read the book, I might as well be honest. You’ll find out eventually.
·       Favourite food? Chips. Or fries, as Americans call it.
·       Weak spot? Chocolate buttons. I always carry a small packet.
·       Interesting fact? I’m great at juggling and my millionaire’s shortbread is unbeatable. It should be - it took a lot of practise.
·       Dinner guest choice? Dmitri Mendeleev.
·       Thoughts in shower? Guess.
·       How do friends describe you? Funny, big-hearted, lothario.
·       Pet peeve? People who assume they know me because of what they’ve heard.
·       Biggest fear? Pinpointing a fear.
·       Gift? Firider – I can produce fire.
·       Perfect day? Friends during the day and a girl during the night.
·       Favourite quote? Life is better when you’re laughing.
·       First thing you said in GIFTED? The first thing I said was a name and that isn’t too exciting, so how about the second thing I said? “No worries. You were obviously preoccupied. Who’s the pretty lady?”

Faye Elena Parks
·       Preferred name/nickname? I don’t have a nickname. I suppose it’s because my name is short as it is!
·       Age? I just turned 18.
·       Physical description? 5”4. Curly auburn hair. I wear glasses. I have blue eyes and lots of freckles.
·       Hobbies? Long walks, feeding the ducks, reading, eating out and seeing my friends – they’re like family.
·       Favourite food? Chicken burgers.
·       Weak spot? Marshmallows.
·       Interesting fact? I like to skateboard. People are usually surprised when they find this out.
·       Dinner guest choice? Dr Seuss, please!
·       Thoughts in shower? I usually sing or hum songs from my favourite musicals.
·       How would friends describe you? Shy, sweet, kind, gentle, and warm.
·       Pet peeve? Bullies.
·       Biggest fear? Forgetting to protect others and not just myself.
·       Gift? Shield. I can project this invisible force field around me that no one can get into unless I project it around them too. If you try to force your way in, it…stings.
·       Perfect day? A picnic in Mysteria Park and then going to a theatre in the evening.
·       Favourite quote? To be truly happy you must give up on pleasing others.
·       First thing you said in GIFTED? “Hello.” Not very exciting, is it? Sorry.

Peyton-Jane Levi
·       Preferred name/nickname? Peyton. My mum calls me PJ which led to Eliza-Poppy, my youngest sister, calling me Peanut Butter and Jelly.
·       Age? 20.
·       Physical description? 5”7, dark blonde curly hair and hazel eyes. Bohemian dress sense.
·       Hobbies? Meditation, daydreaming and yoga.
·       Favourite food? Gazpacho.
·       Weak spot? Boiled sweets.
·       Interesting fact? I have a tattoo on my back of a dreamcatcher.
·       Dinner guest choice? David Attenborough.
·       Thoughts in shower? Whatever my daydreams choose. It varies every day. This morning I simply thought of polka-dots and zig-zags.
·       How friends describe you? Kind, ditzy, free-spirit, patient.
·       Pet peeve? Animal cruelty.
·       Biggest fear? Losing my mum or sisters. I hate to even imagine it.
·       Gift? Earth manipulation.
·       Perfect day? Spent exploring the amazon rainforest.
·       Favourite quote? Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.
·       First thing you said in GIFTED? “So, Ava, are you planning on attending Fulton next year?”

Oliver-Raine Gardens
·       Preferred name/nickname? Ollie.
·       Age? 21. I’m the oldest of the group.
·       Physical description? 5”11 last time I checked. Mixed-race and brown eyes. I asked Ava what my best feature is and she says my lips. We’re just friends.
·       Hobbies? Reading absolutely anything.
·       Favourite food? Whatever my mum cooks. Literally.
·       Weak spot? Biscotti.
·       Interesting fact? People think I was born clever. It actually took a lot of work.
·       Dinner guest choice? Everett Stone.
·       Thoughts in shower? If I’ve been stuck trying to solve something, usually that.
·       How friends would describe you? Smart, funny, charming, nerd, kind, and humble. Their words, not mine.
·       Pet peeve? Hypocrites.
·       Biggest fear? Losing my friends or family.
·       Gift? Atmokinesis - weather control.
·       Perfect day? Spent with friends and family. Hopefully with a cup of coffee and a plate of biscotti.
·       Favourite quote? Learning is an experience. Everything else is just information.
·       First thing you said in GIFTED? “She’s not the biggest fan of blood.”

They’re a lovely bunch, aren’t they?

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