What characteristics does the writer consider when deciding the characters in a plot? I am working on a future book based on my mother’s experiences in England during World War 2. I know there are a lot of books written about women and the war. However, my mother did something unique. She volunteered in London at the Beaver Club. This was a place where Canadian soldiers could come to get sandwiches, coffee, new socks and maps to get around London while on leave. Of course, I won’t be calling the book The Beaver Club for obvious reasons. The working title is The Maple Leaf Club. The Club had various women volunteering there mainly with the food preparation and serving. Many of the women have long since passed away and perhaps their sons and daughters didn’t know much about it. The book I plan to write includes a murder in the Club and the life of Olive, the main character, who works as a secretary for a British firm and really wants to start a new life in Canada.
Research is required for this book. The photos I have of my Mother are helpful and the reunion photo is amazing. Many ladies fit into one large photo but all in black and white. I once asked my mother if she had dated anyone at the club. She replied, “Oh no, not me. I was too shy!”
What stands out in this story is the selflessness of the women who volunteered their time to work in the Beaver Club in London in the middle of the war. Life in wartime London was tough enough but these ladies volunteered their time to help Canadians. I’m looking forward to researching this book and learning what my mother experienced during the war.
What is the inspiration for a character when writing a book? Inspiration can take many forms and ends up providing the author with characters that can be used in the book being written.
What Inspires the Name of a Character?
When I first started thinking of ideas for my children’s book The Fairy Hollow Chronicles, I took inspiration from my own children to create the characters. My daughter loved fairies when she was very young so that provided me with the idea for four fairies. Adventures are always fun when you are a child so the idea that the fairies had to go on an adventure was born. Then, the names came easily as I chose names of her friends from elementary school. Now there are three books in the series. The names in Book 3 – The Fairy Hollow Gold Treasure Adventure came from a few relatives including a great niece and nephew! With pirates names such as Captain Bootlace Bill, Lightning Lance and Notorious Nigel, who can resist finding out where the gold treasure is with their help?
What Should Characters Wear?
Authors need to describe their characters. In The Fairy Hollow Chronicles, the four fairies are tiny so it was easy to have them dressed in ballerina tutus with their hair in buns. Ballerinas always wear buns. Young girls who take ballet enjoy wearing the tutus and having their hair in buns. The mayor in the book needed to be in a suit as he means business. The idea for the toad came from various stories I read as a child and also the toad character fits the mayor character perfectly.
For my future book on my Mother’s work with Canadian soldiers during WW2, I can draw inspiration from the photo below which shows her dining out with friends in Vancouver. Three women drinking coffee or tea and eating pastries while smiling with their hats on! The hats are quite fascinating and also all appear to be wearing dresses. All these clues help an author when writing a story to place the characters at a specific period in time. This photo was taken on my Mother’s arrival in Vancouver after the war ended and she had volunteered at the Beaver Club in London. This photo will help me decide on the ending of the book!
Ideas for other books that I am writing came from photographs. Sometimes a photograph can inspire an author to write a story based on what might be happening in that photo. The photos from WW2 in England are an inspiration and ask me to write about what the young men and women in the photos are laughing about, worried about, thinking about and how the war affected them. As the daughter of parents who went through WW2, I am intrigued to include in my book these points to round out my characters.
Inspiration is the Summary of Many Ideas
The inspiration for characters in a book comes from everything including family, friends, photos, artwork, current fashion, and the author’s imagination. By using all these ideas, the characters come to life which makes enjoyable reading for all of us.
A new year brings ideas for new stories! Every author hopes this is true. As we begin 2022 with high cases of Covid, I am following up on my goals to complete the Fairy Hollow Chronicles series.
This Spring, the third book in the series will be published called The Fairy Hollow Gold Treasure Adventure. Another adventure story for all the characters in Fairy Hollow introducing some new ones as well. How would you feel if you found an old treasure map? Would you try to find the treasure on your own or get help? Have you ever spoken to a real life pirate before? Can pirates be kind or are they all mean and interested only in treasure? Is Foxglove Squirrel about to uncover the truth? These are some questions that will be answered in the book.
Many books have been written about WW2 and some are quite popular right now such as the Rose Code and Code Name Helene. These are all fabulous stories. My idea for the next book is about my mother’s experiences working for a club in London for Canadian soldiers. It was called The Beaver Club but will be The Maple Leaf Club for my story. Few people know that the Canadians were looked after in this club with food, help with travel around London using the underground and buses, reading newspapers, and getting health and lodging advice. It will be a fascinating story especially with a murder and a visit from Royalty! It’s hard to imagine a club without cell phones, computers and big screen TVs as we have today. The club was unique in London because soldiers could get pancakes with real maple syrup which became their Canadian experience away from home.
Writing It Down
It’s always challenging to come up with a wonderful story to entertain the reader. I hope to have this book about the club finished by the end of 2022.
Food For Thought
Another book that is in the works is a cookbook with food safety practices. Here is a chocolate cake which is my recipe made with spelt flour. With my background in public health, I’m well aware of the need for safe practices when preparing food. Fortunately, cakes don’t present much of a risk except too many calories unless you want to eat raw cake batter! Flour can contain E.coli which is destroyed by cooking. It’s now not a good idea to taste raw cookie or cake batter for that reason due to the risk of food poisoning.
These ideas for new story lines are a challenging beginning to the new year! I will write more in future posts.
I remember when e-readers came out such as kobe and kindle. I wasn’t too happy with thinking that books would be read on an electronic reader. Where would the feel of the book be and the joy of turning pages to find out the rest of the story?
Paperback Travel Reads
Even though I travelled at the time, I always took a few paperbacks with me and was able to read them on the trip. Some of the travellers I met really loved their kindles as they could load many books on them at a time. This saved carrying extra books in their luggage which was an advantage. There is also the concern with the radiation level emitted when holding the e-reader near the body. This also happens with the constant use of cell phones though the public doesn’t accept t
The Joy of Reading Books
However, I have always loved to read books and turn pages into each story. It’s great to be able to hold the book and flip the pages and carry it with you to read when you can. This is what influenced the sales of e-readers. It was originally thought that many would use kindles and printed books would become obsolete! The public have continued to read books because they enjoy having the book to hold, read and flip through. Printed books won’t go out of style as we all enjoy them too much. There is a place for both e-readers and printed books in the reading world which is a good thing for book lovers everywhere.
As an avid reader, I was always fascinated how great writers could keep you spellbound and conjure up such amazing characters that you got so caught up in the story that you couldn’t put the book down! As I begin my author’s website, I will be writing about various topics in my blog and relating to the books and articles I plan to publish. Human beings are fascinating. What makes people tick, why they do the things they do and the differences between good and evil are all part of stories and plots that keep us interested.
How does an idea begin? As with my first book, it could be something that happened personally to the author. It could also be a newspaper headline, a documentary on TV, a photo, the weather, or something that causes the writer to want to take the idea and add more to it. My first book is called the Fairy Hollow Chronicles. It is the story of four tiny fairies who live in Fairy Hollow and are to attend their Coming of Age Ceremony the next day. They must first complete their Fairy Quest. I got this idea from my daughter when she was small. She loved fairy stories. I decided to write a story which would incorporate challenges, goal-setting, positive thinking and a a happy ending! Though this book is mainly a Children’s Early Reader, adults reading to children will enjoy it.
From my background as a public health inspector and previous food safety blog writer, I plan to write about my experiences being the first female public health inspector at the health units where I was employed. Memoirs can be written many different ways. They are interesting to the reader because the author usually lived the experiences so a firsthand account is better than imagining an event happening. I encountered sexism in the workplace, the glass ceiling and lack of professional recognition for my contributions in the field. However, I did make many friends along the way and have some fabulous experiences such as being an international conference speaker in countries from Great Britain to Lithuania. That will be a timely topic for the another blog!