Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits with Kari: those crazy Denny girls & Granny Gert

Today I am blogging from sunny Florida! Temps are 75-85 every day...I am in heaven :-)

Speaking of Florida, my mother and some of her sisters live here. She is one of five girls who all have such fun and different personalities. And right now I am developing some fun and different characters for book two, Corpse in the Crystal Ball.

I always look to the people around me when trying to figure out how I am going to develop my characters. I thought I had all the characters I needed for this book, but my deceased grandmother Gertrude thought otherwise according to the signs I received...

We were getting ready to leave for Florida when the Hollywood director, Doug McKeon, who is adapting The Samantha Granger Experiment: Fused to a screenplay called Digital Diva, sent me the first draft to read. I loved it! Even though parts are different from the book (which they have to be in order to work on the big screen), he did a great job of portraying the plot and characters the way I had them and keeping it as much the same as he could.

Anyway, one thing he added which I loved was a pet rock named Gertrude. Sign number one :-) Then we get to Florida and I got talking about my main character from the Fortune Teller Mystery series, and how I wanted her grandmother to be in this one. I went on about some of the quirks and traits I was going to use for her, and my mother and her sisters were like, "Oh my gosh, that sounds just like your grandmother." Sign number two :-)

My grandmother Gertrude is telling me to put her in books, darnit!

So it's official. Granny Gert will be based on my grandmother Gertrude and will remain in the rest of the series. I love that we as authors can immortalize the people we want in our work. Using real people can help to make your characters real. I had the best brainstorming session with my mother and her sisters, hence the title those crazy Denny girls! I always get a lot of ideas from them, but this was great. I learned more about my grandmother than I ever knew and it really felt like she was there listening in with a grin.

You can have a really cool plot, but if people don't relate to or connect with your characters in some way, they will close the book. Great characters are the key to the success of any story...especially cozy mysteries.

So where do you come up with some of your great characters? Do you ever include people you know or family members? Do you change their name or like in my case keep the name the same on purpose to immortalize them?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled program while I get back to my sun.



Kari Lee Townsend said...

I'll be in and out today, as I soak up the sun and spend some family time. But please feel free to comment away....I will chime in when I'm not in the pool for another brainstorming session. You never know, I just might discover another character out of this :-)

Liz Lipperman said...

Why are you even on your computer when you could be drinking margaritas and lying on the beach??

I love the story of Gramma Gert. I am one of five girls myself, and I still take vacations with my 3 sisters (1 is in heaven partying with us.) My ghost story (loosely based on this sister relationship) is right out of my life with these women. We always seem to have fun no matter where we go.

So, I believe that we do use our personal relationships to write our characters. A lot of the funny stuff I write comes right out of the mouth of a family member or a friend.

And OMG on the screenplay. Can I have your autograph??

Kari Lee Townsend said...

LOL the margaritas will come later for sure! Just wish you were here partying with me, Liz.

And I am thrilled with the screenplay. I can't wait to hear how the studio appointments went and what our options are. So stay tuned, people....

Lindsay said...

You go to rub it in about how warm the weathers is. Thanks while we freeze up here in New England.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

It is a beautiful day. Sorry you're in the cold, Lindsay :-( I'll blow some warm winds your way and maybe the sun will come out. Stay warm :-)

Lindsay said...

Thanks for the warmth. It's up to a balmy 37.

Donna Cummings said...

Kari, that sounds exciting about the screenplay (I love the Digital Diva title!) And I'll try not to envy you TOO much about the sun and pool, because you've definitely earned it. :)

I don't have any particular person end up as a character in my book--I take bits and pieces of personalities--kind of a Frankencharacter. LOL