Don’t Worry, I Didn’t Write You Into My Book: How I Create Characters by Claire Marti – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Claire Marti will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

By Claire Marti
Recently, a girlfriend I’ve known since junior high school read my debut, Second Chance in Laguna. Because we’ve been friends for decades, she’s familiar with my checkered romantic history prior to meeting my own hero. Specifically, she recognized my devious ex-fiancé in Doug, the jerk who jilted heroine Sophie Barnes at the altar. Her curiosity was piqued and she wondered if any of the other characters were based upon anyone she knew. Although the villain was indeed based on a real person, the rest of the characters evolved from my imagination.

In my writing, character comes first. Often, a fully formed character will pop into my mind and I’ve got my hero or heroine. Digging into their emotional issues and their external challenges is the beginning of the story. I envision what they look like, how they move, how they speak, how they smell—all of it. I ponder little tics or flaws—inside and out. Often, I scour through and collect photos for visual details. I confess I consult astrological signs to fine-tune positive and negative personality traits.

Once I’ve created a current persona and life, I delve into each character’s past. I need to make sure the character’s backstory resonates with his or her actions. I need to motivate them properly. Whether the heroine has abandonment issues from losing her parents at a young age or the hero can’t bounce back from trauma encountered overseas, the emotional baggage must be accepted or resolved prior to finding happily ever after. In order for a couple to be perfect for each other, they each embark upon a journey of self-discovery. Ideally, their strengths and weaknesses conflict with and complement each other.

I enjoy creating characters with hidden wounds. In other words, characters who have cloaked themselves with normalcy, but inside they feel like imposters. The types of characters that other people assume are happy and fulfilled because of external appearance or actions. For example, the hero of Book 3 in the Finding Forever in Laguna series, Christian Wolfe, has PTSD from four tours in the Middle East. On the surface, people assume he’s just a handsome entrepreneur because he donned that mask. Peeling back the self-protective layers and digging beneath the surface is where building a hero or heroine becomes interesting.

Once I’m happy with my main characters, I plant them in the richest soil imaginable to emphasize where they need to grow and what will help them on their individual paths, and ultimately their path to true love. The story blossoms from there.

So, although I may borrow a unique laugh from one I’ve heard, or a shade of eyes from beautiful ones I’ve seen, each character is fictional and unique. Definitely not based on one real person. Although, that could be fun if I wrote murder mysteries.

When Sophie Barnes’s fiancé jilts her at the altar, her carefully planned life implodes. Considering her ex’s betrayal to be a rude wake-up call, she leaves everything she knows in San Diego and flees to Laguna Beach. She vows to transform her life by avoiding men for a year and by fulfilling her dream of writing a wildly successful novel.

Sophie’s new landlord, Nicholas Morgan, is a gorgeous, successful architect with a player reputation. He makes it tough for Sophie to remember that she’s sworn to be single. Nick’s avoided the intimacy of a long-term relationship–until Sophie’s independence, courage, and beauty touch his guarded heart. Both Sophie and Nick are terrified of being hurt again, but can they resist the pull of true love?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Nick arrived right on time, looking gorgeous in faded jeans and a plain white t-shirt. How did he always manage to start the butterflies fluttering in her stomach? Just by standing there with the setting sun framing him? She was in trouble.

“Hi beautiful, ready to go?” He clasped her face in his hands and planted a soft kiss on her lips.

Returning his kiss, Sophie wound her arms around his neck and deepened it. She couldn’t resist. His strong arms wrapped around her waist, hugging her close to his broad chest.

“Mmmm, feel free to greet me like that every time I come over,” he said, lips curved up into a sweet smile.

Heat washed her cheeks and she returned his smile. “Let’s go. Prepare to be blown away by the movie snack of the century.”

Determined to keep things light and enjoy the movie before “the talk,” Sophie thrust down the lick of panic bubbling in her gut. She’d accomplished next to nothing all afternoon, instead wrestling with whether she needed to tell him about Doug.

The angel on her shoulder whispered to tell him because if they were going to have any kind of relationship, even a friends-with-benefits one, honesty and trust were vital. The devil urged her to zip it. They’d only known each other a few weeks. What if he lived up to his “Player of Laguna” reputation and expected only a fun fling? Even though he seemed deeper than that. What if she scared him off with a premature talk?

About the Author: Claire Marti started writing stories as soon as she was old enough to pick up pencil and paper. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature, Claire was sidetracked by other careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress.

Finally, Claire followed her heart and now focuses on two of her true passions: writing romance and teaching yoga. Her debut releases from The Wild Rose Press on March 31, 2017 and is the first in the Finding Forever in Laguna series.

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Buy the book at Amazon, The Wild Rose Press, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or iBooks.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Congrats on the new book and good luck on the book tour!

  3. Lisa Brown says:

    Congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win 🙂

  4. James Robert says:

    Thanks for the excerpt and giveaway.

  5. Thank you so much for hosting me today!

  6. cb clark says:

    Looks like a great book. Good luck with your release. I really enjoyed your post. Thank you.

  7. Barbara Bettis says:

    Enjoyable post! I have an affinity for wounded characters, too. Best of luck with the book!

  8. Rita Wray says:

    Sounds like a great read.

  9. So cool that your characters come to you fully-formed, like a friend!
    Even though my characters come from my imagination, I give them attributes of people I know and love– and hate. Sometimes my friends corner me and ask, “Is that me?” Also, I like to keep track of phrases and sayings for later use. When the person reads the book, they get a chuckle. (I hope.)

    • Sandra–exactly! Habits and patterns are great to integrate…sayings too. Sometimes someone will say something intriguing and I try to write it down later.

  10. Great blog post Claire! Loved the book and passed it along to one of my best girlfriends.

  11. Victoria says:

    I can’t wait to read this one and I love the cover. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  12. Enjoyed your post. Best of luck on the tour.

  13. Cali W. says:

    Thanks for the giveaway; I like the excerpt. 🙂

  14. bernie wallace says:

    What was your favorite book growing up? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win.

  15. Interesting how you create characters. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Dale Wilken says:

    I really enjoyed the excerpt thank you.

  17. Great post. My favorite part of writing is character development, it really drives the plot for me. Congratulations on your debut, it sounds like a wonderful read. And good luck with your tour. Best, Anni xx

  18. Amity Grays says:

    Enjoyed the post. I love hearing how people come up with their characters. Best wishes

  19. Thanks for the chance to win!

  20. Congratulations on your new release. Like you, my characters come to me pretty much fully formed, although it takes a while for them to tell me the ‘baggage’ they carry from the past and their greatest fears. It’s such fun getting to know them though!

  21. Hope you are having a fabulous weekend! Looking forward to checking out this book!

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