What can serve as inspiration for a character or a set of characters? I don't know about other writers, but my characters come to me in a variety of ways. One of my early attempts at writing a novel came as the result of my mother's sudden death. I wrote a story about a heroine who was coming back home to her mother's funeral. Writing that story helped me cope. The book went through numerous versions before it finally sold many years later. I was thrilled when that story was published because it is dear to my heart. Here is that book.
The hero and heroine in the story that became my first Love Inspired book formed in my mind because of a song by Dwight Yoakam called "Ain't That Lonely Yet." The song tells that story of a guy who got dumped by his girl, and now she's back and trying to patch things up. He doesn't want anything to do with it. The characters in my book, THE HEART'S HOMECOMING, were born as a result of that song.
Secondary characters often become the heroes or heroines in subsequent books. The heroine of LOVE WALKED IN, Beth Carlson, didn't even have a name in THE HEART'S HOMECOMING. She was only referred to as Max's mom. Max was a fourteen-year-old boy in the story. We see Max again as a troubled teen in LOVE WALKED IN. Ever since I wrote about Max, I've wanted to give him his own love story. But before I could do that, I had to tell Brittany Gorman's story. She and Max eventually become high school sweethearts, but if you read my upcoming January 2012 book, MONTANA MATCH, you will see that their relationship doesn't last.
I could go on and on about what makes characters spring to life in my mind, but I want to know what kind of characters grab your attention? Do you like to read about people who are larger than life or a character who is more like you? What kind of characters stay with you long after you have read a book?