A.K.A. – How a Character is Born
When I began writing Love’s Forbidden Flower I had a very clear idea of what the story was about, the twists it would take, and how it would end. The path was clear; all I needed was to get from Point A to Point B and then I would be done. Simple, right?
Just as I was getting ready to bring in a flash in the pan, and rather simplistic, love interest for my heroine, Lily, I made the mistake of staying in bed late one morning and watching a documentary on the Hollies. (They are, by far, my favorite British band. Forget those lads from Liverpool—Manchester rocks!) As I was watching and happily singing along to one of my favorite earworms, “On A Carousel,” I stopped to take a good, long look at guitarist Tony Hicks. Now I realize that to anyone who knows me this is no shock. I’ve had a crush this guy since the dawn of time! But now I was looking at him through a new set of eyes as I thought, “He’s got a really charismatic look here. I forgot how boyish he has always seemed. And that grin and accent are to die for! Hmm…. What if I made this new guy, Troy, British? That could be a lark. And a musician, from Manchester, of course.”
Then I started thinking of other lads from Manchester, like Davy Jones, who had fantastic charisma. This led me to other men from England in general, and, since I was soon to watch a documentary on the Small Faces, Steve Marriott came to mind. Marriott was a real spitfire on stage and apparently quite the ball of energy in real life. He also had this awesome Cockney accent that, along with his colorful use of slang, made him a little confusing to Americans at times. Marriott, Jones, and Hicks are all known for their charismatic personalities and charming good looks, so this new character being endearingly irresistible to ladies was a nature progression.
Before you could say, “Bob’s your uncle!” Troy became Christopher (from Anthony Christopher Hicks) and my entire novel changed as suddenly I had the basis for Lily’s new love interest. The thing is, by the time I finished designing Christopher, I was hooked. I wrote his short involvement with Lily but quickly scrapped it while happily singing The Hollies tune, “I Can’t Let Go.” Christopher was now a major character, and so much of my story altered.
It’s funny how a little inspiration, or a few documentaries, can change your course of action. And now I’m back to signing “On A Carousel.” The last time it got stuck in my head was in November and it finally worked its way out come March. I hope it is a little more merciful this time.
Happy 50th Anniversary to The Hollies!