TWRP BLOG TOUR - Last Day : Developing Unique Characters

Wednesday, February 23, 2011
WELCOME to the last day of TWRP's Valentine Blog Tour. Leave a comment on any of the blogs to enter to win a weekly prize. (other blogs on the tour listed below). But first, give it up for.....


Developing Unique Characters

Creating imaginary people who’re completely believable is probably one of the hardest things for a writer to accomplish. Because no good story starts out with a character who wants to find a wife or husband just because it seems like the thing to do at the time. There has to be an underlying reason or a plot that forces the hero and heroine together. And every character, especially the hero and heroine, needs motivation for what they do or some goal they wish to achieve. And that’s where the hard part comes in. Creating a make believe person’s personality.

But how creative can a writer get? Heroes and heroines need certain qualities for a book to sell and some publishers want their books to follow a certain formula.

I recently had a historical manuscript rejected by a New York publisher because the hero was a Beta hero.

Beta? Huh? The hero is an Irish immigrant who boxes! But…he wasn’t rich or powerful. And with some publishing houses, that’s what they want—that’s what they believe women want—a hero who follows the “formula” for success. They want rich powerful men, or men with exciting careers like an FBI agent, senator, CEO, or cop. But sometimes, readers want something different.

I guess that’s one reason I love The Wild Rose Press. Their only requirement for a romance is that it have a happily ever after. The hero doesn’t have to be rich or powerful and the heroine doesn’t have to “need” him. So, the door is wide open to creativity. Of course, there are still certain reader expectations. The hero can’t be a jerk throughout the entire book, and he can’t be too hideously deformed. But, there’s room for that Beta character or even a disabled hero.

One of my favorite non traditional heroes is Robert McBain from Lyn Stone’s The Highland Wife, a Harlequin Romance. The book is set in Medieval Scotland and the hero is deaf. He travels to the Highlands for an arranged marriage with Mairi MacInness. He thinks she knows he’s deaf. She thinks he is ignoring her. It’s a great story with some truly unique characters.

So, what books have you read recently that stray from the traditional expectations of what makes a hero or heroine?


Lilly Gayle lives in North Carolina with her husband of thirty years, her youngest daughter who's still in college, a dog, a cat, and various critters both dead and alive the cat occasionally drags through the doggie door. When not writing or working as a mammogapher, she spends time with her husband at the beach. Out of the Darkness, a paranormal romance is her first published novel. A historical, Slightly Tarnished should be released sometime next year.

Join her at her:


BLURB for Out of the Darkness (Paranormal Romance):

Here research could cure his dark hunger if a covert government agent doesn't get to her first.

Vincent Maxwell is a vampire with a conscience seeking a cure to his dark hunger. But when a scientist looking to create vampire soldiers captures and kills a fellow vampire, Vincent seeks out Dr. Megan Harper, a research scientist who discovered a link between a genetic light sensitivity disorder and vampirism. Dr. Harper could hold a key to a cure and the answers to Gerard’s death. But getting close to the beautiful scientist could endanger both their lives.

When Megan meets Vincent she believes he suffers from xeroderma pigmentosum, the genetic disease that killed her sister. Sensing a deep loneliness within the handsome man, she offers friendship and access to her research files. But she and Vincent soon become more than friends and Megan learns the horrifying truth. She's entered the dark and unseen world of vampires and Vincent is her only hope of survival.

Excerpt for Out of the Darkness:

Vincent didn’t spare her a second glance as he opened the basement door and stepped down.

The sound of his boot heel striking wood echoed up the steps as he disappeared into the darkness.

“But—” Megan switched on the light and hurried after him.

”The first thing you need down here is a table and some chairs,” he said when he saw the stacks of unorganized data and reams of paper scattered across the floor. “Do you mind if I bring the ones down from the kitchen?”

“No.” She turned back toward the stairs. “I’ll help you bring them down.” It would give her something to do while she sorted through the confused thoughts and emotions tumbling around inside her head.

Vincent touched her arm and heat shot straight to her belly, turning her insides all warm and fuzzy.

Warm and fuzzy was not good.

Warm and fuzzy made her think of more than just heated sex. It made her think of cozy
evenings snuggled up under a blanket and shared feelings. It made her long for an emotional connection she couldn’t risk. Not with Vincent. Not with a man who could potentially die a slow, lingering death.

“I’ll get it.” He let go of her arm and stepped back. “You start going through those papers and find that report you wrote comparing XP to vampire myths and legends. I’d be interested in seeing if you still have it.”

He turned to go back up the stairs and Megan shivered. Why had Steve mentioned the vampire report to Vincent? And why was Vincent so interested in seeing it?

Vincent the Vampire.

Buy link for Out of the Darkness:


TODAY's Blog Tour Itinerary

Wednesday, February 23rd - Blog Topic - Developing Unique Characters

--Meet author AJ Nuest at

--Meet author Lynne Roberts at

--Meet paranormal romance author Maeve Greyson at

--Meet author Amy Corwin at

--Meet contemporary and paranormal romance author Jill James at

--Meet romantic suspense author Kat Duncan at

--Meet contemporary YA an adult romance author Linda Kage (ME) at

--Meet paranormal, and historical romance author Caroline Clemmons at

--Meet historical and paranormal romance writer Lilly Gayle at (HERE)

--Meet Amie Louellen, author of fun and whimsical contemporary romance at

--Meet erotic western historical author Jennifer Jakes at


  1. Great Post, Lilly!! I love the book BLIND CURVE by Annie Solomon. It's a romantic suspense where the hero goes blind right at the beginning or right before (can't remember) and he has to deal with not being able to see. Great read. So I agree, non traditional characters are wonderful. They tend to stick with you longer.

  2. I love reading a passionate love story with unique, memorable characters that stick with you and the author shows their strengths and weaknesses. That makes an amazing book!
    OUT OF THE DARKNESS is such a can't put down read.
    Love your post, Lilly!

  3. Great post, Lilly. I agree with TWRP - the story should only require a HEA. Who cares if the hero isn't rich.

  4. Lilly, I agree that a hero's power doesn't come from without, but from his inner strength. He doesn't have to be CEO of a ginornmous company. I like to see normal people rise to meet abnormal occasions. A hero I loved recently was in Marta Perry's HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT. He had withdwawn from the competitive world to make furniture in an Amish community. Yet when those he cared about were in danger, he protected them. That's a real hero IMO.

  5. Thanks for having me Linda. Becky, you're such a great supporter of romance and my book. Thank you so much. Amber & Caroline, so glad I'm not the only one who doesn't care if my hero is rich. Heck, my real life husband is my hero and he's not even close to being rich. But we're happy and that's what counts.

  6. Nice to meet you, Lilly. Sorry I'm so late stopping by today. You're so right about our characters needing to be unique.

  7. Great post Lily! HEA should be the only thing required, as long as you have that everything else is a bonus!

  8. I'm with Wild Rose Press--I wouldn't necessarily want the love interest always to be so formulaic.
    Nice post!

  9. This is such an interesting post, Lily. And I love the sound of your book - great to see it offers a different approach to the vampire myth.

  10. Thanks Carol, Marie, and Lydia for stopping by. And thanks for the compliment Rosemary. I'm hoping I can continue to pull off that "different" approach with the sequel. Heck, I wish I could spend a week writing and finish the sequel. But the day job gets in the way. lol!