Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Friday, 12 September 2014

Building a character – thoughts on my new novel, by Jenny Harper


Daisy Irvine is a photographer. She works for a small regional newspaper, which is struggling for its existence (I like to write about women who face challenging situations in their lives). Naturally, my heroines are also plunged into emotional turmoil, and Daisy is no different.

So far so normal. Woman facing challenge. Woman falling in/out of love, struggling to save a relationship, or build a new one in the face of certain odds. But every novel has to be different, and every character must sing. I hope you’ll remember Daisy long after you have finished reading my novel, so let me tell you a bit about how I built her.

She’s talented, but lacks self belief. She’d disorganised and over reliant on others to sort out her problems. She lacks confidence – so much so that she carries a small teddy bear in her pocket (he’s called Tiny Ted) and strokes him when she feels in need of comfort. Unsurprisingly, he’s a bit bald. In short, Daisy is a little childlike. Once I realised that, Maximum Exposure developed into a ‘coming of age’ novel and the rest was easy.

What happens to Tiny Ted? Come to that, what happens to Daisy? And who, in heaven’s name, is Nefertiti?


Statue of Nefertiti, Wikimedia Commons.
To find out, you’ll need to click onto Amazon and download Maximum Exposure, my new novel, which is out today! Yay!

Maximum Exposure is my first novel with Accent Press, who were perspicacious enough to offer me a contract this summer. Thank you Accent Press! And thanks to all the team who have worked like crazy to get this book out to a very tight deadline.

I promise not to use this blog to push my wares too often. But come on, all you writers, admit it – a new book is a bit of a thrill! And a new book with a great new publisher is the icing on the cake. 

I'd love to know how you build your characters!

7 comments:

  1. Great post, Jenny and congratulations on the new book which I am sure I will enjoy as much as the first two. I look forward to meeting Daisy, especially now I know a bit about her - enough to arouse my interest and curiosity.
    I've just been asked by a book blogger to interview Miriam in No More Mulberries, which is certainly going to make me take a closer look at my character and how she came to be what she is!

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  2. Ooh, let me know when it's up, Mary - I'd love to read it! Forcing you to think of your characters in that way is quite an experience!

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    1. I'll let you - and everyone I can think of - know when it's up. I think it's going to be interesting.

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  3. Great post, Jenny, and I do like the sound of this novel! I love Egyptian Nefertiti too so you've intrigued me.

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    1. Goody, goody! I love intriguing people! Don't think you'll be disappointed by Nefertiti - let me know after you've read the book!

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  4. You have every right to be excited Jenny. I'm excited for you! And I love the way the tiny bear starts to bring your character to life - it worked for me even when you only described it briefly here. So looking forward to reading the book.

    As to developing my own characters - sometimes that's a mystery to me, never mind anyone else. I do find writing dialogue helps, getting them to express things in their own words. Then I know them better and can work on bringing out key aspects in other ways.

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    1. Sometimes my characters take some time to establish themselves in my mind - others arrive fully formed (usually the more minor ones).

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