21 March 2014

Blog Tour: Hannah Emery

Today I am pleased to welcome debut author Hannah Emery to my blog as part of her blog tour for her first novel Secrets in the Shadows which is published by Harper Impulse. Hannah was kind enough to write a blog post about the characters in her book, so please take the time to read it, and enjoy!

You can buy Secrets in the Shadows as an eBook now.

"You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love your shoe collection"

There’s nothing I love more than a ‘what would she do?’ conversation.  There’s something brilliant about deciding what someone, real or imaginary, would do if they were in your shoes.

Whilst I was writing Secrets in the Shadows, I constantly asked myself in random situations: what would Grace do? What would Eliot say? What would Louisa think? It helped me to get to know them all, and to make sure that they were complete characters.

When I’m writing, some characters appear ready-made, and very easy to predict.  Others, I have to work to get to know – just like real people, I suppose.  If it’s too difficult to decide what a character would do or say in a given situation, or if I start being lazy and just imagining what I would do, then I force myself to have a long think about who the character is: what hundreds of traits they are made up of, and how these combine to make them who they are. 

I think the reason some characters, from page and screen, translate so well into our lives is that they are so much like real people. The Austen-lovers’ phrase What would Jane do? is a popular one for a reason. 

Well?  What would Jane do?

It’s a tricky one because she’s not a character. I know what Darcy would do though: he’d fluff whatever he was trying to say, seem a bit arrogant but be there for me in the end.  I know what Carrie Bradshaw would do: she’d order us some cosmos and then talk about herself all night, but somehow get away with it.

Darcy and Carrie (imagine that dinner party!) might not do the right things in the imaginary situations we thrust upon them, but that’s the whole point: they are just like real people.  Good characters have quirks, flaws, redeeming qualities, things that they hate, things that they love.  And by the end of the book or the boxset, we know about 90% of these.  The rest – things that happened before we began watching, or in between paragraphs, or after the book ended – we can easily predict because of everything we do know.

That’s why the dinner party between Darcy and Carrie is so much easier to imagine than it should be…"

Thanks so much, Hannah!

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