Thursday, May 8, 2014

Guest Post with author T.L. Haddix

Today author T.L. Haddix is taking over!
See you guys on the flip-side.

Leaving Things Out

Part of my process of developing characters and stories includes making copious notes. I have to know who the people I’m writing about are on an incredibly personal level, else the characters fall flat. Character development is something I’m good at, and it’s something I enjoy. And while I’d love to reveal all the information I “discover” to readers, a lot of the time, it just isn’t possible to work it in. That makes me a bit sad.

For example, Robbie Bailey, our hero in “Deception in the Shadows?” His mother worked with the mother of another character we’ve met in the Shadows series. Myka Bailey was an insurance agent who worked with Molly Taylor, the mother of Lauren Clark. Lauren owns the Brown Bag in Leroy, which is the small, fictional town where the Shadows series takes place. And Lauren is the heroine in the first book in the series, “Secrets in the Shadows.” Now, as awesome as it might have been to be able to work this into a scene somewhere, it just didn’t happen. So that info gets shelved, and maybe at some later date, I’ll pull it out and use it somewhere. For now, it’s enough to know that connection exists, as it helps create the realism of a small-town atmosphere.

I am very lucky in that I really like my characters. I know they’re fictional, not real people, but--and I hope I can say this without sounding mentally ill--to some degree they have to be real to me. Again, it all comes down to creating characters that are relatable. If I don’t buy that Carrie Greer, our heroine, would react a certain way to the destruction of her relationship with her uncle, that’ll come across and make for a bad experience for readers. And I don’t want that. So please don’t think I’m too odd if I tell you that, on the nights I’m having struggles with insomnia, I pick a favorite character and create a scene for them to play in to help me get to sleep. And about half those scenes never make it into books. Hmm… I wonder if that means I’m writing my own fan fiction…

I have genealogy charts of most of the families in Olman County, Indiana (where Leroy is located in my fictional world. There’s a real Leroy, completely unrelated, on the other end of the state.) I had no idea when I was learning genealogy as a hobby as I was growing up, how handy that would turn out to be for a writer. But it did. Also, there’s a map and some sketches of the town that I wouldn’t torture you with by showing you, but they helped me solidify in my mind this place I was going to be writing about.

I didn’t have to get so detailed with the setting in my Firefly Hollow series. It’s the town I grew up in, Hazard, Kentucky. I already knew where to put businesses and restaurants. But I did have to get pretty detailed with the families. And I did character interviews, which are in a box somewhere or hiding in a file on my computer, to get to know the people I’d be telling readers about better.

Regardless, I’m torn between wanting to share all this information with readers and wanting to keep it to myself. I’m afraid I’d come across as a bit obsessive if I revealed all my notes… but at the same time, I know that those characters aren’t created in a vacuum. And even if they only exist on paper, in my mind, and in the minds of my readers, I can’t not flesh them out to their fullest potentials. I don’t think I’ll go so far as writing their biographies, but it’s nice to know that if I had to, I could.

About the author:

T.L. Haddix was born in Hazard, Kentucky, a small town in the center of the Appalachian coal fields. Taught to read by her grandmother, T.L. has had a life-long love affair with books, devouring whatever she could get her hands on. From childhood favorites such as the Trixie Belden series and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House” books, to her current favorites from authors like Tami Hoag, Alex Kava, J.A. Jance and Lisa Kleypas (among many others), T.L. still finds refuge in the written word.

“Growing up, I wanted to be everything – astronaut, police officer, doctor, teacher, reporter, psychologist – there was no clear choice for me. I wanted to do it all. Becoming a writer has allowed me to do just that, because I can live vicariously through my characters.”

A resident of eastern Kentucky, T.L. is hard at work on her next book, when she isn’t chasing after her three cat-children with her husband.

Website |  Facebook  |  Twitter: @tlhaddix  |  Blog  | 

A bit about Deception in Shadows:

When all the lies that have been hidden come to light, nothing will be the same.

From the time she came to live with her uncle Ron after the tragic deaths of her parents when she was a young girl, Carrie Greer never had reason to doubt she was wanted. Now a dispatcher with the county, she’s a grown woman building a life of her own. But after a trip to Florida, her uncle’s
attitude changes… and not for the better. While struggling to come to terms with this shift in their relationship and all the collateral damage it causes, another tragedy strikes. Ron Smith is murdered. And the only person with an obvious reason to want him dead… is Carrie.

Robbie Bailey is finally free to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a teacher. But instead of attending classes, he ends up having to return to Leroy and to Carrie, the girl he’s been in love with since he was a teenager. He finds himself in the position of having to convince her of the depth of his feelings while protecting her from a vengeful killer bent on keeping long-buried secrets hidden. And he isn’t sure he can succeed at either task.

Deception in the Shadows is the sixth installment in the Shadows/Leroy’s Sins Collection, a series of Romantic Suspense novels by author T. L. Haddix. Other titles include Secrets in the Shadows, Under the Moon’s Shadow, Shadows from the Grave, Hidden in the Shadows, and In the Heart’s

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1 comment:

  1. Hi, Jonel! I just wanted to swing by and say a big thank you for letting me take over for a little while. I really appreciate it, had a blast, and I hope your readers enjoyed the post. Take care! T. L.