Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Welcome Special Guest Diane Craver

Special Guest Author Diane Craver tells us how she creates strong female characters! Leave a comment and one randonly drawn winner will receive an autographed copy of Never the Same and a $5 Amazon gift card.

How to Create Strong Female Characters

My novels are emotional reads with inspirational overtones and some humor thrown in the mix. In all my books I like to integrate family into each romantic plot. My daughters have been my inspiration in writing strong, moral, intelligent, and independent female characters.

When I wrote my chick-lit mystery, A Fiery Secret, I based the feisty investigative reporter, Catherine Steel, on my daughter Christina. Although Christina felt the character was actually a ombination of her and two of her sisters. She could be right. My family loves to analyze my characters! I don’t want to give too much away about the plot, but will say that Catherine saves herself from a very sticky situation by using her brain. A secondary character, Miranda, is based on my daughter Amanda who was born with Down syndrome. Although Miranda and Amanda have limitations, within those limitations both girls are bright. Miranda does something in the book that is crucial to the plot. I can see Amanda doing the same thing in a real life situation.

Dr. Jennifer Hunter is a successful psychologist and a popular radio host in my inspirational romance, No Greater Loss. She survives big crises that a weaker woman would never be able to handle. In Never the Same, Kimberly Collins manages to get a distressed child and a teenager, Tori, off the plane before it explodes. Kimberly is not afraid to make drastic changes in her life after surviving the crash. In many ways, April has the same nurturing and competent personality as Kimberly. I used Emily’s soccer background and academic achievements in writing Tori’s character.

By the way, a lot of my characters are not based on family members, but they become so real to me that they seem like family.

My main character Whitney in my new release, Whitney in Charge, was not inspired by anyone I know. But like my other characters, Whitney is also a resilient female. In spite of her horrific loss, she's able to fall in love again. Whitney's sisters, Shannon and Regan, add humor to the story.

Writers: Who inspires you when you write your female characters? Do you base any on a mother, daughter, sister-in-law, aunt, or friend?

Readers: Do you like your female characters to be rescued by the heroes or do you like them to survive dangerous situations as an equal to the hero?

Blurb for Whitney in Charge

Whitney Benson is tired of her older sisters’ attempts to fix her up with every single male they meet. Shannon and Regan cross the line when they arrange for her to go skydiving with the simple excuse that more guys like to float in the air than women. Whitney needs to find something else to keep them busy.

When she suggests that the three of them start a family business, the fun begins in their small town. And she thought being a TV producer in New York had been exciting.

Without going skydiving, Whitney meets two eligible bachelors, Jack and Ben, who constantly battle for her affection. Which one will she choose? Both men make Whitney realize, even a heart shattered by her husband’s death, can once again be made whole.

But did she have to fall off a cliff to learn that?

Excerpt for Whitney in Charge

“It’s time for you to overcome your fear of flying.” Shannon took a bite of shrimp. “We want to go to Hawaii sometime. Remember how we promised Mom we would? Just the three of us.”

Whitney shrugged. “That’s different. I can fly to Hawaii without doing skydiving first.”

“I don’t think so.” Regan scooped a heaping spoonful of chow mien onto her plate. “You drove me crazy when we flew to Wisconsin for Aunt Martha’s funeral. You had such terrible anxiety attacks.”

Why did she have to have such stubborn sisters? The last thing she felt like doing was something stupid like skydiving, but she knew they’d never give up on her. They always thought they knew best because they were older and married. Big deal they were a bit older. Shannon just turned thirty-nine, and at thirty-four Regan was only three years older than Whitney.

Shannon nudged Regan, grinning with her eyebrows arched high. “Tell her about Jack.”

Regan shook her head. “Not a good idea.”

“Who’s Jack? Another skydiver?” Whitney asked.

“He’s a paramedic and single. He’s worked with Casey, but Jack’s not a firefighter. He’s not interested in meeting you.” Regan gave Whitney an apologetic shrug. “Sorry. It’s a shame because Jack’s a dead ringer for Matthew McConaughey.”

Shannon raised her eyebrows. “What did Casey tell Jack about Whitney?”

“Not enough obviously,” Regan said. “But I’ll─”

“No.” Whitney put her hand on Regan’s arm. “Don’t say anything. I don’t want to go out with someone who feels pressured.” She grinned. “Although resembling McConaughey might change my mind.”

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