Character Creation by Christina Lourens – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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Character Creation

I’ve been writing novels for at least eight years and I’d like to think I’ve come a long way since I wrote my first full length novel. I used to start my novel ideas with a plot, mapping out the story without really thinking about the characters. I would slot the characters in where I found I needed them. As any writer can tell you, that is not the best way to go about writing a novel.

Luckily, before I wrote The Calm I Seek, I read some good books on writing, and took a few workshops, which made me realise that characters are central to any novel. Without well-rounded characters, a book will fail to draw the readers in. Characters should propel the story forward, not the other way around.

When plotting The Calm I Seek, I knew I wanted to write a novel about family, and especially the bond between sisters. I have six sisters myself and at first, I gave Rebecca three sisters. However, I soon realised that the third sister didn’t really add much to the story, so she got cut. The two sisters who remained are quite different from each other. Laura is strict and unyielding, firm in her convictions. Hannah is more free-spirited, unsure of what she wants in life.

Creating characters is a lot of fun. The key to creating believable characters is to remember that every character is the star in his or her own story. Secondary characters aren’t there to serve the main character’s story. They have lives of their own, and goals which may be at odds with what the main characters want. The tension between the different goals of each character is what will move the plot forward.

In The Calm I Seek, Laura and Hannah are both at odds with Rebecca, but each for different reasons. I had a lot of fun planning each character’s backstory, motivation and goals. And not just for the sisters, but for each character in the novel. The risk with creating backstories for each character is that you’re tempted to give each secondary character a much larger role, which would make the novel far too big. But that’s what editing is for.

I’m very pleased with how The Calm I Seek turned out and I hope that my readers will equally fall in love with all the characters in the book. Well…maybe all. Not every character is likeable, which is fine. As long as they are believable.

With love, betrayal and grief disrupting her perfectly peaceful life, will she fight for the happiness she deserves?

After the violent death of her husband, Rebecca Holmes is content leading a quiet life spending time with her sisters and niece. When her younger sister Hannah asks her to plan her wedding, Rebecca discovers her friends and family all think her life is empty. Determined to prove them wrong, Rebecca takes up salsa lessons where she meets the charismatic salsa teacher, Gabriel Rodriguez.

Falling in love is the last thing Rebecca wanted to do, but she is inexplicably drawn to Gabriel. Opening her heart again is terrifying, especially after what happened with her late husband. With the help of the local vicar, Rebecca starts to believe that maybe she deserves a happy ending after all.

Just when she’s decided to give her heart to Gabriel, a betrayal brings back demons from the past. Heartbroken, Rebecca closes herself off again, but when disaster strikes her family, she is forced to confront her past actions. Can there be redemption for her and can she forgive those who betrayed her?

The Calm I Seek is a heartbreaking novel about forgiveness and redemption.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Being woken up early by strange sounds from the kitchen was not my idea of a good start to Christmas Day. I had expected to sleep late and have a leisurely Christmas breakfast with my younger sister, Hannah, and her boyfriend, who were staying with me, but instead got my older sister banging away in my kitchen when she had a perfectly good kitchen at home—where her husband and children were as well.

“What are you doing here?” I stared bleary-eyed at Laura, who had succeeded in covering every surface of my kitchen counter with stuff.

“Good morning, Rebecca. I thought I’d get a head start on lunch.” Laura washed a large turkey under the tap. “Hand me the chopping board, will you?”

I did as she asked and sat down at the table. Laura placed the turkey on the board.

“But why so early?” I yawned and gazed at the clock. “It’s barely past seven. Lunch isn’t till two. Surely you could get here a bit later?”

Laura rubbed salt and spices on it and pushed a strand of hair out of the way with her wrist. “Just let me do my thing.”

“I could help.” I already knew what the answer would be. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been so careless with my offer. Laura hated for anyone to interfere with her precious preparations.

Instead of replying, she lifted the dead bird off the chopping board and back into the roasting pan.

I averted my eyes. “Seriously though, why are you here so early? And why are you preparing the turkey here? You usually do that at home. Shouldn’t you be there with Robert and the kids?”

“Don’t tell me where I should be. Why don’t you go back to bed?”

“With all the racket you’re making? You woke me up. It’s too late now. I can’t go back to sleep.”

About the Author:Christina Lourens has always been passionate about writing, but life got in the way of her writing career. She’s never given up and can be found writing in the evenings and on weekends, often accompanied by her pug. When she’s not writing, Christina keeps busy at the day job (until her writing career takes off) or snuggles up on the couch with a book. She loves crocheting, but because of her busy life, crocheting projects tend to take a long time to be finished.

Christina has lived in three countries, but is currently living in the UK with her husband of 20 years, their two children, pug, canary and pheasant.

The Calm I Seek is her first novel.

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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Christina Lourens says

    Thank you so much for having me! I enjoyed talking about creating characters.

  3. Victoria Alexander says

    Great excerpt, sounds like a book I’ll enjoy 🙂

  4. Sounds like a great book

  5. Christina Lourens says

    Thank you so much for having me! I thought I had already stopped by this morning, but I can’t see my comment. I loved talking about creating characters, thanks for the opportunity!

  6. James Robert says

    It’s great hearing about new books when you have a family who loves to read. Thanks so much for sharing your book.

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