Thanks for featuring me today, Patricia. The topic you asked me to discuss is how I created and developed the characters for FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL. While I wish I could say they just popped into my head, that’s not altogether true. Many years ago, while teaching, I met a twelve-year old boy named Frankie Salerno. For whatever reason, I never quite forgot him--or his name.
When it came time to write FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL, I wondered what that young boy might be like now as a grown man. He’d been a cute kid, and utterly delightful (when the mood struck). I was certain he’d matured, but I fully expected evidence of that boyish charm just lurking below the surface!
The fictional Frankie Salerno is larger than life, confident of his abilities as a private investigator, and comfortable in his own skin. He’s charming, determined and driven, while his Italian ancestry and devotion to friends and family keep him grounded. He’s a hero male readers can identify with, and one female readers can’t help but fall in love with.
As for the heroine, Muriel, she’s Frankie’s opposite. He’s street wise, she’s book smart. He’s an extrovert, she’s an introvert. He thinks outside of the box, she follows the rules. And yet, in so many ways, they complement each other. She makes him want to be a better man, and he gives her the confidence to accept her femininity and realize that embracing her gender does not in any way undermine her impressive mental capabilities.
Unlike some authors whose characters appear fully developed, I learn a little about mine each time I meet with them on the page. It’s a process similar to meeting a person for the first time. You’re introduced, and in a few brief seconds, you make a snap impression of who you think they are. With each additional encounter, those notions are either proven or discarded until a clear picture of who they are emerges.
Regarding character trait charts and flaws, I’ve tried to figure it all out beforehand, but it’s a waste of time and energy. I write organically, without knowing where I’m headed, what’s going to happen or whom I’ll meet along the way. When I began writing Frank, Incense and Muriel, I knew their names, but nothing more. I write to not only discover where the plot is going, but also to get to know the characters.
Frankie and Muriel are very real to me. They have flaws, foibles, quirks and strengths. As the months and years pass in the series (I envision at least six books), they’ll grow older and wiser. They’ll develop and mature much like the rest of us. I’ll deal with that and the ramifications of their growth when the time comes!
In closing, I’d like to share the blurb of the story.
Frank, Incense and Muriel takes place the week before Christmas when the stress of the holidays is enough to frazzle anyone’s nerves. Tensions increase when a friend begs Muriel to team up with a sexy private investigator to find a missing woman. Forced to deal with an embezzler, kidnapper, and femme fatale is bad enough, but add Muriel’s zany yet loveable family to the mix and their desire to win the coveted D-DAY (Death Defying Act of the Year) Award, and the situation can only get worse. This story, book one of the Muriel Reeves Mysteries, is recipient of the prestigious 2011 Holt Medallion Award of Merit.
I’d like to encourage readers to enter my giveaway contest. Up for grabs is an e-copy of FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL. Leave a comment and you're automatically entered.The winner will be chosen at random and announced on my blog on December 11, 2012. Good luck!
Bio: Anne K. Albert’s award winning mystery and romantic suspense stories chill the spine, warm the heart and soothe the soul…all with a delightful touch of humor. When not at the keyboard she loves to travel, walk on a beach, visit friends and family, and of course, read using ‘Threegio’ her beloved and much cherished Kindle 3G.
She can be found online at Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Pinterest, Amazon and her blog.
Anne K. Albert