Knowing Your Characters, by Andrea Kane
On Tour With Andrea Kane, Bestselling Author of “A Face To Die For”
While deciding on a subject for a guest post for this tour, I ran across an article on Andrea Kane’s blog entitled “Why I can’t write a first draft.” Loved it! It is all the detail that fascinates. So I asked her to elaborate on how she develops—and keeps track of—her characters, and her process of researching. Ms. Kane wrote a lovely response that you can read right here.
Her article is part of the virtual book tour for A Face To Die For, hosted by Partners in Crime Book Tours. You will find Ms. Kane visiting a variety of sites for the tour. Stop in on as many as you can. It’s a fantastic way to learn more about an author.
An Article from Andrea Kane
For me, one of the hardest questions to answer is how I do my character development and my research. I guess that’s because the whole process is so chaotic and I’m so very structured by nature—and those two things are diametrically opposed. There’s no room for linear structure in writing a book—at least not for me. I’m generally all over the place, from beginning to end!
For starters, some books are character-created first, some are plot-created first (usually starting with a “what if”). Both are equally frustrating and challenging because the development stage comes next. If it’s a character-created story first, I have to do all the fleshing out of the character(s) who’ve been born in my mind, and then weave them into a storyline of their own creation (together with my hopefully-fertile imagination). If it’s a plot-created story first, I have to get a firmer grip on the full scope of the storyline and then cultivate the characters who mentally pop up as I go. I know, it sounds complicated. Trust me, it is.
So how do I create my characters? They’re the heart and soul of my books. I can see them, hear them, and interact with them. (Yes, I am a crazy writer.) But I need to flesh them out, get at all the nuances that make them who they are. I probably should do formal character sketches on paper, but that never seems to work for me. I’m more comfortable getting to know them, after which it’s like writing about a friend you instinctively know—what they’ll say, how they’ll behave under specific circumstances, etc. The basics of their lives, such as where they grew up, went to school, had previous careers, along with their physical specs like height, hair and eye color, habit and affectations—those things I sometimes jot down (and then promptly lose the page where I jotted them).
When I’m dealing with recurring characters, like the Forensic Instincts team, I always think it should be easier. It’s not. Because with each successive novel, new layers of each team member are peeled away, new facets of their lives are revealed, and new growth takes place in them as human beings and as professionals. What is easier about dealing with recurring characters is the sense of reconvening with old friends—I absolutely love writing the FI team and each development in their characters is a labor of love. Adding new team members is also super exciting for me; each one adds a new dimension to the dynamics of the group.
Okay, now let’s talk about research. I’m an authenticity fanatic. I take as little poetic license as I can and strive for as much accuracy as possible. And while the Internet is a necessary and wonderful tool, there’s no substitute for gathering information from the pros. I’ve been very fortunate to have consulted with the FBI for the past dozen or so years, meeting with and speaking to experts in every field from Behavioral Analysis (BAU) to Organized Crime to Crimes against Children (CAC) to Art Theft—I could go on and on. Each Special Agent and support staff member has helped me enhance my characters and bring authenticity to my plots. The NYPD has also been key in writing facets of my suspense thrillers. And those are just my law enforcement contacts!
I’ve also had fascinating fact-gathering talks with medical experts in those of my books that had strong medical themes (including A Face To Die For where I needed and received veterinary expertise) and input from so many professionals in other fields. All that research takes months, and I frequently have to arrange follow-up calls as my story unfolds and new questions crop up. Integrating all this while continuing to write a fluid story is probably the most challenging part of my research process. I always want my answers ASAP and I’ve never been good at the dreaded four-letter word “wait”, especially when I can’t forge ahead without the necessary details to do so.
And last, you’d think all this hard work would mean less editorial input. It doesn’t. On the technical front, my manuscripts are pretty clean when they’re delivered, so (thankfully) no major rewrites are necessary. But, from the onset of my fledgling storyline, the conceptual editing is intense and ongoing, just like my character-development and my research/plotting. I edit myself every day and my editor and I reconvene after I’ve written a chunk of each book to make sure what I’ve written is solid and the direction I’m heading in is strong and on target. The ultimate work is mine, but the editorial input is necessary.
So that’s my writing process, in a nutshell. Its intricacy is why I always tell aspiring writers to love what they do, or to choose a different profession!
☺ Fortunately, I can’t imagine doing anything else, so I feel very lucky to be able to create my novels and share them with my readers. Difficult or not, for me, it’s worth it!
A Face to Die For
by Andrea Kane
on Tour September 18th – October 20th, 2017
Urban legend says that everyone has a double, or exact look-alike. Would you search for yours? And if you found them, would you risk your life for theirs?
When a chance encounter outside the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan results in mistaken identity, wedding planner Gia Russo is curious to find the person whose cell phone picture has been shown her—veterinarian Dr. Danielle Murano, her exact look-alike. A Facebook private message blossoms into a budding, long-distance friendship, and the two women agree to meet in New York and see the truth for their own eyes.
Shocked at the sight of one another, they quickly bond over drinks, childhood pictures and an uncanny feeling that they share more than just a visual resemblance. Together they decide to end the speculation and undergo DNA testing for siblingship. But when the tests confirm they’re identical twins, more questions are raised than answered.
And with good reason. The same mysterious forces that separated the sisters years ago are still at large, frantic to keep the two women apart. Their attempts to do so become more violent once it becomes clear that the two sisters have found each other. But when the danger escalates and the sisters fear for their lives, Gia turns to a former client of her wedding planning company, Marc Devereraux of Forensic Instincts, for help.
Despite being embroiled in another case, Forensic Instincts agrees to help Gia and Danielle discover who has been threatening them. And when Forensic Instincts discovers that this case is linked to the [Mafia, Organized Crime], they must dig up skeletons better left buried, and get at the frightening truth without destroying the sisters and the families they have grown to love.
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Published by: Bonnie Meadow Publishing LLC
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 1682320103 (ISBN13: 9781682320105)
Purchase Links: Amazon ? | Barnes & Noble ? | Goodreads ?
Read an excerpt:
Andrea Kane is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-eight novels, including fourteen psychological thrillers and fourteen historical romantic suspense titles. With her signature style, Kane creates unforgettable characters and confronts them with life-threatening danger. As a master of suspense, she weaves them into exciting, carefully-researched stories, pushing them to the edge—and keeping her readers up all night.
Kane’s first contemporary suspense thriller, Run for Your Life, became an instant New York Times bestseller. She followed with a string of bestselling psychological thrillers including No Way Out, Twisted, and Drawn in Blood.
Her latest storytelling triumph, A Face To Die For, extends the Forensic Instincts legacy where a dynamic, eclectic team of maverick investigators continue to solve seemingly impossible cases while walking a fine line between assisting and enraging law enforcement. The first showcase of their talents came with the New York Times bestseller, The Girl Who Disappeared Twice, followed by The Line Between Here and Gone, The Stranger You Know, The Silence that Speaks and The Murder That Never Was.
Kane’s beloved historical romantic suspense novels include My Heart’s Desire, Samantha, The Last Duke, and Wishes in the Wind.
With a worldwide following of passionate readers, her books have been published in more than twenty languages.
Kane lives in New Jersey with her husband and family. She’s an avid crossword puzzle solver and a diehard Yankees fan. Otherwise, she’s either writing or playing with her Pomeranian, Mischief, who does his best to keep her from writing.
Catch Up With Andrea Kane On:
Website ?, Goodreads ?, Twitter ?, & Facebook ?!
Visit the other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Andrea Kane. There will be one (1) winner of an Amazon.com Gift card AND five (5) winners of one (1) eBook edition of A Face to Die For by Andrea Kane! The giveaway begins on September 18th and runs through October 22, 2017.