That raised an immediate concern. How do I create realistic characters?
I saw only one choice, model my main characters (MCs) after real people. So, my hero, Lee, got my middle name and a shortened version of my resume, making him an intelligence analyst, a meteorologist, and then a computer systems architect.
When I also gave him my childhood experiences, it was a dead giveaway. Lee was me.
I asked my Irish wife (nicknamed Babe), “Babe, should the MCs have a father-daughter relationship or be the same age and develop a romantic relationship?”
She smiled. “The readers are mostly women. Go for the romance.”
I took her advice and started writing. Feelings between my MCs grew strong. When I couldn’t put it off any longer, Lee kissed the exotic beauty, Jennifer.
Before long, Babe asked, “Honey, will you read your story to me?” I’d learned the correct answer to questions asked in that tone of voice is always, “Yes, sweetheart.”
So I began reading, and we reached the scene where Jennifer, a young, gorgeous Japanese-Hawaiian woman, pulled Lee’s head down until their lips—
“How could you? Traitor!” Babe’s Irish eyes weren’t smiling.
“But, honey, it’s just fiction.” She didn’t buy it.
Years later, I’m still responsible for all my male protagonists’ antics and Babe is still jealous of Jennifer.
Enough is enough. I wrote Babe into a graphic scene where she kissed a big, ugly dude who “chewed, spat, and wouldn’t even wipe his chin.” We read it. While Babe ran toward the bathroom gagging, I yelled, “Honey, it’s just fiction.”
Oh, the power of story. Wield it wisely.
H. L. Wegley has been a USAF intelligence analyst, a weather officer, and a research scientist. After earning an advanced computer-science degree, he developed computing systems for twenty-plus years, then retired to write. His four-book Christian thriller (with romance) series is published by Pelican Book Group. The fourth book, Triple Threat, released in November 2014. He is currently finishing his eighth novel. Find him at his website or his Facebook page.