Sarah Baechtold Gray – How do you come up with the storylines, and the characters names? How do you flesh out the personality of each , even the background characters?
RJ: Oh, I’ll take this one… wait… no…. VL you start bwhahahahahah
VL: ME?! You sneaky thing. Well, storylines and character names are kind of two seperate things for us. We generally sit down and say “Well, we’re going to write this book thing here” and then we write the book thing. Neither of us are big plotters so there’s not huge planning sessions. Now character names…
RJ: So, we might say *what about Stan – who would he love, and how can we include a child* and so we came up with Erik, who had a baby boy, and literally that was all we had for raw story – no plotting as V said… BUT, both of us work hard on character. Like, why did Erik leave Stan, what was it in his past that made him that way. And what kinds of things shape Stan to be the man he is.
VL: Well said! It seems as if our characters drive the plot, which is totally the case. We do spend a great deal of time on the character building beforehand. There’s a document we use for each team and that’s where we sketch out each leading man’s background, desires, tastes, and such. I also make a playlist for each of my guys because, for me, knowing what kind of music they like gives me better insight into them. Like Stan loves Elvis and so that tells me a lot about his personality and what he spends time watching and listening to.
RJ: I love that Stan likes Elvis, and that it is pop culture reference that is linked to often 🙂 I remember when we wrote Ten, and how being the youngest of three brothers shaped him as well. And Ben, and his loss, and how it changed the man he was, oh and Dieter with his past issues… we could go on all day about this! LOL… Character names are fun, we come up with those by searching the ‘net, or by looking at other teams, or just have names we love.
VL: Yeah, I enjoy finding that right name for a character. Sometimes they pop right up and other times we have to dig a bit. I remember when I tossed out Benton Worthington for the name of Max’s man. RJ said that was about a American as one could get and that was just what I was looking for, so, we had Ben’s name just like that.
RJ: Just wait until we have our Brit – I will call him Sebastian Charles Philip Bloomington-Smythe, Earl of Hetherington Middle, III
VL: And another character is named! =D Thanks for the great question, Sarah!