Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Sandra Orchard here, debut Love Inspired Suspense novelist with the release this month of Deep Cover. When acquaintances learn that I’m a writer, they instantly bubble over with questions. At first I dreaded these with something akin to the panic in my hubby’s eyes when our young son asked, “Daddy, where do babies come from?”

No more! I’ve learned to have fun with them.  

“Where do babies characters come from?”

Well, I’m so glad you asked. The ideas for the characters that populate my books can come from the most unlikely of places. For example, this past summer my husband and I spent a day at the African Lion Safari and I came home with a camera full of new characters.

No, I didn’t snap photos of unsuspecting tourists, although that probably would’ve been a great idea. I’ve discovered lots of great mannerisms for my characters by simply watching people in restaurants and airports, on buses and in meetings. Photos of people with a variety of expressions, colorings, dress, etc. would be a wonderful resource. But I digress.

I snapped photos of animals, and they are quite the study in character. Take a look at this guy, for example. I call him “The Grouch”.
Can’t you just hear him saying, “What part of get lost don’t you understand?”

Then there’s the deer I like to call “The Social Butterfly”.
Can’t you just hear him saying, “What was that? I missed what you said.” Of course, that’s stereotypically a female character, but I’m pretty sure those horns mean this deer is a fella.

The monkeys alone were a treasure trove of character ideas. I call this little guy “The laid back type”.
 “This is the life!”

Then there’s the “People Pleaser” type. This mare was a real ham. She posed for about ten minutes as if she wanted to be sure I got the perfect shot to accentuate her beautiful fur coat. I could almost hear her say, “How’s this?”

And of course, no character study would be complete without a villain. I call this fellow “The Tough Guy”.
He’s saying, “Do I look like I want my photo taken?” Then to prove it, he charged a car!

And what romance writer’s character study would be complete without a hero. Although this particular hero wouldn’t be my first choice. I call him “The Casanova.”
“What can I say? The women love me.”

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little “birds and bees” talk on where characters come from.

If you’re in the mood for a little romantic suspense this month, please check out Deep Cover, the first book in my series…Undercover Cops: Fighting for justice puts their lives—and hearts—on the line.

Your Turn: Have some fun suggesting alternative descriptions and dialogue for our array of characters. 


  1. LOL -- I like to peg people into dog breeds. This is so much fun!

    So the hero image -- macho lion man...he could really be hen-pecked you know! In which case he could be thinking (because he'd never have the guts to say it out loud) "Can I move now? Puleeze...my paw's asleep!"

    The emu (is that what Mr. Grump is?) He looks like he's saying "Don't make me go over there..."

    The zebra lady -- she's saying "Do stripes make me look fat?"

  2. Kav, I like your captions, I was thinking for the zebra: This is my best side. But yours is better.

    I'm a people watcher, too, and I think what I enjoy the most is when I see someone and just know they look like someone I know... surely they're a relative.

  3. Oh, Kav, I love your captions. Poor hen-pecked lion.

    Pamela, I had that exact experience at my book signing last week. Someone walked in I was sure I knew, but couldn't place. It turned out she was a sister of one of my online writing friends!

  4. Sandra, love your photos and your captions!

    Maybe I should head to the zoo and find my Mr. Right Hero. The lions work well.

    But wait! Atlanta has a lovely aquarium...the shark could be my villain. The dolphin my adorable and naive heroine. Who would the hero be? The whale? The octopus? No, he's more of a villain...

    Can you tell I'm having too much fun and need to be working?

    Heading back to my WIP...

  5. Oh, I love it, Debby, How about you make your hero the swordfish. He can challenge the nasty villain to a duel. Chop off all 8 arms. LOL

  6. Sandra, I enjoyed your post and the other comments very much! I'm definitely a people watcher too! I'm a "closet writer" - I could never write novels but I love to just write about "things in general" and that includes watching people! I enjoyed your description of animals and people!

  7. Thanks Valri, I appreciate you letting me know. Blogging is very new to me, and I'm never sure what people will enjoy reading about. :)

    And I once thought I'd never write fiction, soooo...never, say never. :D Being a people watcher and closet writer sounds like you're well on your way!

  8. Hi Sandra! SO excited to see you posting on here today! I absolutely LOVE animal photos (especially with cute captions) and you did a great job with yours. I won't attempt to add any to your photos, but will say I've done quite a few captions for my kitties (on Facebook, of course!). ~ Cannot wait to read your book, and I am SOOO happy for you!!! AND...since you're my Accountability Partner, let me just say I'm now getting back to my writing. *smile* Hugs, Patti Jo

  9. A swordfish hero? Interesting!!! :)

    Might be tough to write about when he kisses the heroine!

  10. Adorable pics! What a cute idea too. ;-)
    Congrats on your release!

  11. How cute, Sandra!! Love the photos and captions. :)

    And what a great idea to think of animals as characters. They really do have particular mannerisms. I always comment when my dogs have happy years or a distressed look. :)


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