1nancyboyarsky

Nancy Boyarsky

Nancy Boyarsky(1) has a new book! When Nancy last visited she told us about her inspiration for  The Swap

Today, with the recent publication of her latest book, The Bequest, Nancy is answering the question, Where do you get your characters? I think it’s a great question, because it’s so interesting to me how people, places, plots–all that “stuff” gets into our heads and then comes out in a book!

So Here’s Nancy…

This is a question that (oddly, at least to me) doesn’t come up during Q&A at book store events. People want to know about my work habits. Do I set aside a certain time to write each day? A word quota? Do I write my first draft long hand? How long does it take me to write a book?

Basically, the answer these questions is the same. It depends. The amount of time I spend writing, the number of pages I turn out in a day, the length of time it takes for me to write a book. All depend on how excited I am (on a given day, week, or month) about the book I’m writing. Is it going well? Or am I struggling to figure out what happens next or what the dialogue should reveal? The more I have to struggle, the less time I tend to spend writing, and the slower it goes.

To me, a much more interesting subject is the origin of fictional characters and how an author manages to breathe life into them. How does she determine a character’s appearance, behavior, personality, and moral code? Where do these traits come from? Are they based on real people? Or are they pulled out of the air?

In my books, characters come into being in a variety of ways. In my first draft, they’re basically templates of who they become in later drafts. (I usually go through at least four drafts, maybe five, before I consider the book finished.) In The Swap, Nicole Graves, the heroine, didn’t have much personality when she first appeared on the page. Her husband Brad didn’t either, but I did make him a somewhat disagreeable, inattentive husband because my plot set-up required it.

As I went into the second draft, I began to develop my characters in more detail. For their appearance, I used the looks of actors in specific films or TV shows. For example, I thought Nicole might resemble the character Annie Walker in the “Covert Affairs” TV series. I also decided Nicole should be perky, brave, and ready to take on just about anything while still having vulnerabilities. She’s also a bit of a romantic. In The Bequest, my mental picture for Josh was the actor James Norton (Sidney Chambers on “Grantchester”). I dropped Josh into the story at a point that made him seem a bit suspicious at first. Then, bit by bit, I revealed him as a genuinely nice guy who wants to protect Nicole from the dangerous situations she tends to walk into.

One of the characters I most enjoyed creating was the woman who becomes Nicole’s advisor and confidant in The Swap. (I’m not giving her name because that would be a spoiler). She was tricky to invent because she is not who she says she is. She is making up a fake identity as she goes along, playing a role and lying about everything. Behind all that deception, she’s not a bad person but someone who feels trapped, frightened, and angry.

As for the names of my characters, I look around my office to spot a last name that sounds right to me. It could be part of a street address on an envelope, the last or first name of the author of a book on my shelf. Then I make up a first name that goes with it. The book I’m writing now, (#3 in the Nicole Graves mystery series, as yet untitled) is about a campus rape case that becomes a murder. One of the characters is a star athlete. I made up a name, then had to change it because it already belonged to a well-known athlete. I made up another name, it happened again. Finally, I looked in a nineteenth century novel and found a fairly unusual last name that passed the test.

As I go through my four or five drafts, the characters evolve, add personality traits, quirks, dislikes, virtues and vices. This part is the most fun—filling out these characters and sending them into action that, hopefully, will keep the reader turning pages until the end.

The Bequest

 

Here are some links where you can find The Bequest:

Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-bequest/id1205606019?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Nancy-Boyarsky/e/B0027MGPDK/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/nancy%20boyarsky/_/N-8q8
Indiebound: http://www.indiebound.org/search/book?searchfor=Boyarsky%2C+Nancy
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?Query=Nancy%20Boyarsky&ac=1&acp=nancy%20boyarsky&ac.author=Nancy%20Boyarsky

 

 

 

I haven’t read The Bequest yet, but it’s on my Kindle waiting for that perfect time to curl up with a good book…



(1) Nancy Boyarsky was born in Oakland, California. After graduating from U.C. Berkeley, her first job was as an assistant editor in a tiny, long-gone publishing company in San Francisco. She has worked as a writer and editor all of her life.

She is married to former Los Angeles Times City Editor Bill Boyarsky and lives in Los Angeles. She still devotes herself to writing, editing, and reading and has added painting to her list of hobbies. She loves the theater, films and travel, especially to the UK.

 

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A Pleasant Surprise…

July 30, 2017

I was wrong in my last post below! Out earlier than expected. I have been spreading my news in several places, but in case you’ve missed:

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Rhodes The Movie-Maker is now available at Amazon, B&N online, and Smashwords.

Also, I’m doing most of my posting at Writers in Residence, so stop by if can. My fellow writing friends post some very interesting blogs, I think. Writers in Residence

(P.S) In September Marilyn Meredith will be visiting again.




At last, a new book this Fall…

If you didn’t see on Facebook, here’s the front cover and book cover blurb (which is also the inside Preface):

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Sequel to Rhodes The Mojave-Stone

Sometimes surprising and breathtaking happenings occur in the desert.

For example—heavy spring rains bring back to life a dry windblown-riverbed producing a mass of water powerful enough to snatch and carry away all and everything in its path.

Less dramatic, but no less spectacular—lighter spring rains turn broad expanses of Mojave Desert flatlands into multicolored and picture-perfect wildflower carpets.

And even the human hand—admittedly, via time-controlled irrigation boom operations, performs magical dust-to-beauty happenings. Indeed, with the flip of a well-switch, swatches of desert are brought alive with what seems like a flood of purple-to-blue flowering alfalfa.

But most amazingly—if you look widely, without preconception, in the right place, and at the appropriate point in time, you will find people who have been swept up in the flood of human events, and done the most unexpected and exceptional things.

One such flood of human events plays out in The Movie-Maker. This tale is not a murder mystery, though there are in fact several murders—but there is very little mystery surrounding who the perpetrators are. Neither is this tale meant to be a literary treatise addressing age-old philosophical questions or current day conundrums. This story’s goal is fun and escapism. Nor is the Movie-Maker a police procedural, though happenings do occur that require police activities. Nor is this tale an action drama—even though dramatic actions do unfold. A romance? Not exactly, though several love stories—past and present—flavor happenings and decisions.

Rhodes – The Movie-Maker is simply one of many human event stories playing themselves out in the Mojave Desert along historic Route 66.

At last, a new book this Fall…

If you didn’t see on Facebook, here’s the front cover and book cover blurb (which is also the inside Preface):

MMFront2500by300dpi

Sequel to Rhodes The Mojave-Stone

Sometimes surprising and breathtaking happenings occur in the desert.

For example—heavy spring rains bring back to life a dry windblown-riverbed producing a mass of water powerful enough to snatch and carry away all and everything in its path.

Less dramatic, but no less spectacular—lighter spring rains turn broad expanses of Mojave Desert flatlands into multicolored and picture-perfect wildflower carpets.

And even the human hand—admittedly, via time-controlled irrigation boom operations, perform magical dust-to-beauty happenings. Indeed, with the flip of a well-switch, swatches of desert are brought alive with what seems like a flood of purple-to-blue flowering alfalfa.

But most amazingly—if you look widely, without preconception, in the right place, and at the appropriate point in time, you will find people who have been swept up in the flood of human events, and done the most unexpected and exceptional things.

One such flood of human events plays out in The Movie-Maker. This tale is not a murder mystery; though there are in fact several murders—but there is very little mystery surrounding who the perpetrators are. Neither is this tale meant to be a literary treatise addressing age-old philosophical questions or current day conundrums. This story’s goal is fun and escapism. Nor is the Movie-Maker a police procedural; though happenings do occur that require police activities. Nor is this tale an action drama—even though dramatic actions do unfold. A romance? Not exactly, though several love stories—past and present—flavor happenings and decisions.

Rhodes – The Movie-Maker is simply one of many human event stories playing themselves out in the Mojave Desert along historic Route 66.