Here on the Playground, we have an affinity for those dark and dangerous vampires. Give them a sense of humor, and it's definitely love! That's why we're excited to welcome author Kerrelyn Sparks to the Playground blog today. Her titles include bestseller How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire and Be Still My Undead Heart.
(And I'm sorry, but I have to rub it in. Her newest release, The Undead Next Door, is supposed to hit shelves today. But I found a copy at the local BAM on Sunday and already sped through it. It's really cool, so check it out! How could it not be with that gorgeous hunk on the cover?)
WHO THE HECK IS THIS PERSON?
(AND WHY SHOULD I CARE?)
(AND WHY SHOULD I CARE?)
Since this is a playground for writing, I figured I should write about writing. For me, it all boils down to the characters. When I read a book, I want to feel like I really know the hero or heroine, so much so that I can slip into their skin and happily become them. I want to care what happens to them, and I want to be sad to say goodbye at the end of the book.
It doesn’t always happen. Sometimes I find myself skimming to the end of a book, and I wonder why? The book may be very well written. It may have a very interesting plot. So what’s wrong? I’m skimming because the plot is good, and I want to know how it is resolved. But I’m not reading every page and enjoying each line of dialogue because for some reason, I have failed to CARE about the characters. (By the way, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad book. The next reader who comes along might love the characters. It’s a matter of personal taste).
As a writer, my goal is to make the reader care. This is tricky cause you simply cannot make everyone care. And for those you do reach, their tastes can be wildly different. One little trick I unwittingly stumbled upon was to create a whole cast of vampires for my Love at Stake series. Some of the vampire men include Roman, Angus, Connor, Ian, Gregori, Jean-Luc, Phineas (aka Dr. Phang), Giacomo, and Laszlo. I have received fan mail for each of them. Different women have fallen for different Vamps!
Now, the cool thing about that is when the next book releases (The Undead Next Door, which releases today!!!), there will be readers who will buy the book, not because they give a hoot about the hero, Jean-Luc, but because they want to know what happens to Ian or Gregori next. Hopefully, by the time they finish the book, they’ll also love Jean-Luc! He’s a wonderfully, sexy guy! That’s him on the cover. Yum!
How can we create characters that readers will care about? First off, the hero and/or heroine should be likeable. What makes a person likeable to you? Do they have a strong sense of honor; are they loyal to their friends and family; do they have a great sense of humor? But don’t make them perfect! Perfect people are not very likeable, and they tend to be boring. So give your characters some flaws or vulnerabilities that readers can relate to. For instance, Ian is a five-hundred-year-old Vamp, stuck in a fifteen-year-old body. He occasionally feels awkward, out of place, and has trouble dating. Who can’t relate to that? (By the way, if that has never happened to you, see the above note on perfect people).
Who are your favorite vampires? They can be from books, movies, or TV. Tell me what you like about them. And one lucky person will win a signed copy of the third book from the Love at Stake series, Be Still My Vampire Heart. To find out more about The Undead Next Door, (on sale today!!), please visit my website at http://www.kerrelynsparks.com/. Happy writing!
You know the drill...comment for a chance to win Kerrelyn's book! Marilyn will announce the winner tomorrow.
Kerrelyn will also be in the Sandbox in February! Be sure to pop over and read her interview!