What a character!

With friends like the Singing Galley Boys, I have characters everywhere I look.

With friends like the Singing Galley Boys, I have characters everywhere I look.

A lot of people ask me how I come up with my characters and ideas.

Before I start a book, I write a dossier on each main character. What makes them tick, what secrets they hold, and what their crucible is. Sure, there’s an element of people I know in my characters, but before friends and family get nervous, my characters are FICTIONAL.

Favorite traits of my siblings always seem to work their way into a character somehow. An old boss of mine might recognize some similar nefarious attributes in one of my characters. Although come to think of it, given how self-involved this boss was, maybe not. And back-stabbing co-workers? Dime a dozen. Lastly, I must confess that the strong, quiet, determined Captain Smythe is a composite of several captains I know, blended together to create one perfect guy. (And if you can't have a perfect guy in fiction, why bother?)

Likewise, my plots come from my adventures, boats I’ve sailed or toured, places I’ve visited. What they all have in common is exploring the range of human emotion and what it takes to push a person over the line from thinking about murder to literally pulling the trigger. (Or thrusting the dagger, mixing the poison…you get the idea.) Where that line lies may be different for all of us, but I suspect we all have one, buried deep.