Thursday, June 5, 2014

Quirky, Crazy, or Plain Off Their Rockers

Until last month, my husband hadn’t read a book of mine in nearly a decade. But he got a free Android tablet and started reading on his way to work. He asked for a couple of my books, and I uploaded them for him.

After a few days of no reaction, I didn’t think much about it. On night as I was drifting off, he asked me. “Who are these people you write about.? Are they based on anyone we know?”

Waking myself, and turning over, I listened to his thoughts on the characters. He thought a lot of them were just plain nuts.

To say life is boring here at Casa Fox in Los Angeles, would be an understatement. I like a life free of drama. For writing, and reading, however—bring it on.

Why I like to read about quirky or nutty characters is easy to answer. Who doesn’t like to be a voyeur? I love to walk neighborhoods at night imagining what goes on behind the drapes. That curiosity translates to my writing.

I like to explore the lives of fictional people who push boundaries. Whether that push be lawful or not, moral or not, or even pathological or not.

I recently finished a book where the hero is a bit of a womanizer (to put it in the kindest possible way). Before writing his story, I had to think long and hard about why someone would act like that. What motivated him to get up every day and seek out the affection of random women.

It was an interesting journey, and Raphael Augustine the hero of my forthcoming release, Don’t Judge Me took shape.

I also recently completed a book (Under Color of Law) with a juvenile court judge who takes advantage of women who have cases before him. If they want to keep their children out of jail or foster care, they have to take care of Judge Eamon Brody first.

Abuse of power happens all the time, but what makes a man (or woman) take their control to such an extreme? In my world dominated by house repairs, dog walking, and child car pools, delving into the deranged mind of this man was a fascinating way to pass the day.

And in romance, the more difficult the heroine, the better. I like to think of the women in my books as prickly pears. A hero who can get beyond all the crazy hair (Sophie Reid in Unlikely), and off putting behavior (Hannah Keesling of The Good Enough Husband takes the cake) of my heroines, deserves the prize—finding a woman underneath who’s worthy of their love.

That’s the bottom line, I think. Each character, no matter how outsized their behavior, is deserving of our reading and writing time, a little consideration, and often our love.


  1. Love hearing how you find your "behaviorally challenged" characters, Sylvie! Also loved your husband's careful curious approach to the question! Great post!

  2. Great post, Sylvie! It's interesting that your husband wondered if your characters were based on anyone you know. I wonder if he worried if any of the guys were supposed to be him...

    1. Lauren, Every friend who has read one of my books asks him that question. A few of his work colleagues have asked the question of me.

      I keep telling them he can't be these ten different people (or he'd be schizophrenic). I think this got him curious. He's 'offered' to read the rest of my books this summer.