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Do You Put People You Know in Your Books?

Finding Characters

Guest Blog by Romance Writer Jan Scarbrough

Author-Jan-Scarbrough's-dogs“Do you put people you know in your books?”  How many times have I been asked that question by friends?

Once the ladies in accounting asked my husband (then my boyfriend) if he was the inspiration for my love scenes. He blushed and hid his face, ducking quickly out of the cubicle where they were working.

Robert McKee, author of Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting talks about this very thing in his presentation at the Chicago Romance Writers of America (RWA) convention in 1999. I recently listened again to the tape.

Writers watch people, he said. They gather material through observation, assembling characters from the bits and pieces of people around them. Sort of like Dr. Frankenstein creating his monster.
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More importantly, writers find characters in themselves, because the only person they can truly know is themselves. We understand other people the more we know ourselves, because we’re all fundamentally human. McKee points out that if we are thinking it, feeling it, others are experiencing it too. Self-knowledge is the key to all great writing.

Okay, I’ll buy all that. I don’t have one person in mind when I create a character, but I admit to putting myself into each one of my characters. McKee says we have to love our characters just as we must love writing simply because we love doing it.
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All profound stuff. All eye-opening stuff. But I want to fess up:
I put my pets into my stories too.

In Kentucky Flame, I created a white English Setter named “Major” after a dog I rescued as a puppy from the Humane Society. The real dog, “Flops”, shared my life and my children’s lives for fifteen years.  What better way to memorialize a faithful friend?

Kentucky Cowboy contains pets that have also crossed over Rainbow Bridge. “Ginger”, a tortoiseshell cat with a peculiar stripe down the bridge of her nose was the real life “Gloria”, a cat my daughter brought home from college for Thanksgiving. My husband’s cat “Jester” also stars in the book as “Joker”, the hero’s black cat. Our late Border collie, “Binky”, was my inspiration for the heroine’s pet dog.

When I wrote Santa’s Kiss, I had fun giving the heroine a traveling companion named “Little Bits”, who is the carbon copy of “Lenny”, my comical Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
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Welsh-Corki

Lenny, the Welsh Corki

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Excerpt from Santa’s Kiss where a dog named “Little Bits” comforts the heroine:

That dull, nagging pain of regret hit her again, souring her stomach, making her want to throw up. Dawn reached for a Coke Zero in the console and took a drink from the half-empty bottle. It was tepid and flat. As flat as she felt. Flat and defeated. She was having trouble coping with the sudden changes in her life. Yip! Yip! Yip!  The sound of barking from the travel carrier in the back of the SUV made her smile. “Hush, Bits. We’re almost there. Yip! Yip!

Dawn heard Little Bits circling in his crate, trying to get comfortable. The trip had been hard on the small Corgi, but he had been a trooper and her only companion on her cross-country journey. Self-pity surfaced and Dawn wiped another tear from her eye. No, she wouldn’t cry. She had done enough of that. She would make the best of this, no matter what. She just needed some rest, some peace and quiet, and solitude to figure out what had gone so terribly wrong.

There’s one important lesson I learned about putting pets in books—never kill a cat in a romance. In my first book Tangled Memories I broke the rule! I must admit the gray cat “Munster” that met a sudden death in the book is really a gray domestic long-haired cat named “Bugsy”. She lived long nineteen years until old age took her across the bridge while I wrote Tangled Memories.

Jan Scarbrough
http://www.janscarbrough.com
https://www.amazon.com/author/janscarbrough

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If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only $ 159 for 3 months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/ Once you are on this website, click on Seminar to register.

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Christmas in July! SANTA’S KISS

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Santas-Kiss

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It’s Christmas in Legend, Tennessee, and there is no finer place to visit than this small mountain town, sitting snug and cozy in the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s Christmas time! People are coming home, visiting family, and maybe settling a few misunderstandings.
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Dawn Smith lives life on the edge, seeking thrills, changing herself into someone else and became a superstar. But Dawn’s world is crumbling. She need’s to get away from the bright lights and the heartache, but it is Christmas time. There’s no way she can face her family this year.
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Clint Roberts is Legend’s fun-loving bachelor, who still loves his high-school sweetheart, now actress Dawn Smith. When Dawn needs someone to turn to, Clint shows up on her doorstep in a snowstorm dressed as Santa. Will Dawn welcome his help or their lovemaking bring even more heartache? Can Clint convince her that it’s time to come home to stay?
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“Santa’s Kiss” by Jan Scarbrough, Kindle Edition Special only $0.99  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A5ADFPW
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Santas-Kiss-Set

All her four books in the original Legendary Christmas series are on sale for 99 cents!
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About the author:

A technical writer, Jan spends her days writing information protection policies. At night,
however, she leaves the technical jargon behind and escapes within her own world to
create romances from the heart. She has dabbled in medieval romance with MY LORD
RAVEN and under her pen name Darby York created a series of sensual short stories.
Her paranormal, TANGLED MEMORIES, was a RWA Golden Heart finalist. Jan wrote
more than 20 books and several novellas. Check out her blog too!
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Follow Jan on Twitter @romancerider
See Jan Scarbrough’s Amazon page:
http://www.amazon.com/Jan-Scarbrough/e/B001K8768A

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If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book heavily promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only a “token” of $1 / day for 3 months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/ Once you are on this website, click on Seminar to register.

Please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are 815 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Chime.in, Facebook, Tumblr and to StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:
@111publishing
http://pinterest.com/111publishing/
http://on.fb.me/TvqDaK
http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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