I have a confession to make. I'm in love with a man who isn't my husband. It started off innocently enough; we met one morning almost eight years ago over a bowl of Corn Flakes and a cup of Lipton decaf tea. As I sat alone with him in the dim glow of the computer screen, he promised me a future I had never imagined was possible. He told me that if I would only believe in him--if I would only allow him into my heart--that he'd be with me forever. That was all it took. My life changed that day, and I've never looked back. He's become such a part of me that I could never imagine life without him. The best part is, my husband knows about our relationship; in fact, he encourages it. How can one woman be so lucky?
Now, before you get your feathers in an uproar, I'm really NOT cheating on my husband. The man I'm referring to is the hero of my Forever Love Series, Mitch Tarrington. On that fateful day in September, 2004, I was introduced to Mitch, his future wife, Dana, and a cast of their family and friends through what I describe as divine intervention. Like my own children, I was given the responsibility of breathing life into them, of shaping their personalities, of making them who they are and playing a role in who they are to become. I speak to them, I scold them, I laugh and cry with them. They are a part of me and I am a part of them. They fill my life with an indescribable joy that only another writer would understand. After all, it's a writer's duty to know his characters so intimately that they become like real people to him. Only then can he make them appear as real people to his readers.
I've spoken to many aspiring writers about the importance of creating credible characters who will jump off the page and into the hearts and minds of their readers. The author has to understand how each character thinks, feels, reacts to situations, his likes and dislikes, what makes him happy, sad, angry, or afraid. He has to know how each character walks and talks, what he likes to eat, his favorite passtime and occupation. Just like a family member or good friend, the author must know the characters intimately. Once he does, he will be able to write them into his story with such passion and accuracy that readers will love them just as much as he does, and will continue to read his works for years to come.