Focus on Characters: Beneath the Mask

Daphne from Beneath the MaskSome authors come to their stories through genre, plot, place, or idea. I’ve almost always been driven there by a character who wanted to tell me something.

I write Regency romance not because I planned to but because Daphne (depicted here) came to me with a tale requiring a specific set of circumstances: a time period where professional dancers were reviled and the clothing styles among the upper classes made it possible for a young woman to dress and undress herself. Regency offered the perfect balance of strict conventions and a Grecian influence for more simple clothing. The romance genre grew out of the question: what would make the decision to dance into the worst possible choice for a nobleman’s daughter? From there, Beneath the Mask unfolded with Jasper as Daphne’s counterpart, a jaded baron with a solid fortune he restored after his late father ran through everything but the estates in an effort to spend as little time as possible with his mother.

The wander into Regency romance could have stopped with Daphne, and in truth, that had been the plan. However, when my readers started asking for more, Aubrey, Jasper’s best friend, reminded me his story remained untold. He had the opposite problem of Jasper. Where Jasper scorned love and considered marriage an obligation, Aubrey wanted that perfect person to match him in heart and head. Again, characters drove the story, and so The Country Masquerade is very different than Beneath the Mask because of it.

The Uncommon Lords and Ladies series might have been born out of my reader’s demands, but each story unfolds because of the characters, people who each have their own beliefs, desires, and fears. They are what bring my stories to life whether a romance like this series, or an adventure like The Steamship Chronicles or Seeds Among the Stars.

There is always more to each character than makes it to the page, things that come before, after, or just didn’t belong in the story itself despite happening at the same time. For the next few weeks, I’m planning to introduce you to some of my characters, offering insights you might not know even if you’ve read the books they appeared in, and a deeper look even if that aspect does come up in the books. I hope you’ll join me on this journey through my characters’ lives. If you’re curious about something you glimpsed when reading one of my novel or are interesting in a specific character, drop a note into the comments and I just might choose to reward your curiosity.

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