The characters in ‘Her Client’ developed differently from the ‘Mona Bendarova Adventures’. In ‘Her Client’, I had an idea for the story-line and I started writing the first lines of the story without naming the main character. When it came time for a name, the name Jolene just popped into my head. Great, I thought, and kept on writing.
Jolene’s character was somewhat well-defined in my head as I wrote the story. I wanted her to be up and coming in the business world. She was to be intelligent, beautiful and sexy. When I thought about what careers she might be involved in, I shied away from the media related professions. More ideas like pharmaceuticals, legal, Wall Street et. all came to mind. I decided to make her an account executive in charge of handling people’s money. I also wanted her to be overburdened, trying to make a name for herself in her chosen industry. Just as doctors, lawyers and stock brokers work long and late hours to rise above the rest, so would Jolene.
Unfortunately, it also gets her into trouble as she attracts the wrong kind of interest. Enter Jeremy.
When I started writing about her adversary, I asked myself, “Hmmm, what name could I use here?” I didn’t want to choose a name of anyone I was familiar with and after thinking about it for a few minutes, I stumbled upon the name Jeremy. And no, before you ask, this character is not based upon anyone at all. He is purely fictional and he’s pure evil. He can be your best friend and a snake in the grass waiting to pounce.
Both characters have many layers to them. Jeremy has several businesses but the one he is most proud of and makes the most money from is his illicit business … human trafficking. The phrase is never used yet the reader knows it at the end of the first book. Jolene’s starts out as a naïve woman, intent only on doing what is right for her clients. She is a giver and a cheerleader. Yet, she is also damaged and has spent the last ten years working out a past tragedy that in her mind feels was her fault. It’s not but the human mind is not logical or reasonable.
After she is sold off into bondage, she encounters her next nemesis, Jon in ‘Her Overseer’. Originally, I had not intended to write a follow-up book to Jolene. However, as the first book ended, it seemed logical to continue her story with what happens after she unwillingly enters the world as a trafficked victim. Jon’s name just happened to appear in my head as I wrote the second story. I liked it and it stuck.
Again, as in the first book, when I finished this story, I asked myself “What might happen if Jolene survives and returns for a third story?” Enter Jules in ‘Her Essentia’. Jules is Jolene’s childhood best friend who was killed in a tragic traffic accident. Jules convinces Jolene not to give into death but to return to earth and finish the vow she made in the first two books. You’ll need to read the books to find out how it turns out. Suffice to say, all three are gruesome, violent and graphic.
It wasn’t until the books were in the editing stages that I realized that all of the characters names began with the letter ‘J’. How about that? I’m not sure how or why that happened. It just did. Since then, I’ve been taking pains to avoid use of the letter ‘J’ in defining new characters, though I almost fell into that trap with another story, ‘The Breakup’ which is due out soon.
I hope you enjoy reading my answers to these interview questions. It’s been fun to remind myself of the processes I went through to create these characters.
For those of you who are writers, how do you come up with your characters. Or, if you are an artist, how do you come up with your vision? If you’re a musician, what process do you use to come up with your next song, composition or symphony?
I’m curious. Please, share your thought processes. I’d love to read them.