LIVING VICARIOUSLY THROUGH CHARACTERS
By: Melinda Leigh
Besides working in my pajamas, one of the great joys of writing novels is living vicariously through my characters.
If I’m tired of a (fairly) well-behaved mom of two teenagers, I get to channel the heroine of my current work-in-process. Rachel is impulsive. She tends to blurt out whatever is on her mind. Many times she regrets this, but how many people out there always think of the perfect come-back twenty minutes too late? I’m usually in the car on the way home before the right retort pops into my head. This never happens to Rachel because I can go back into the scene and write that come-back in when I think of it. Rachel has a few doozies.
In my horse-crazed teen years, my life’s goal was to be a member of the US Equestrian Team. Even though I owned a horse for many years, things didn’t quite work out the way that I’d planned <cough> years ago. But Rachel? She made it. And all that time at the stable sure comes in handy when I’m writing her scenes.
Of the greatest thrills of writing and reading is the ability to immerse yourself into another world or life, to experience things that aren’t possible (or even desirable) in real life. The concept of being a CIA agent or spy is exciting. The reality is likely very dangerous and not so romantic. Characters shoot guns and wrestle bad guys. Characters get to have hot monkey sex in interesting places, like the beach (where we all know the idea of sex is great, but the reality is fraught with issues like fleas, beach patrol, and sand in uncomfortable places.) Characters can do anything that I, the Supreme Being of my own fantasy world, wish them to do. It’s quite a rush.
My goal is to take this exciting element of writing and bring it to life on the page so readers can experience all the fun, too. Because the joys of writing translate into the joys of reading. Books take us to places we might never otherwise see. Through reading we experience so much more of the world than is physically possible. And sometimes, we just need to get away from the smelly laundry, bickering kids, or broken toilet for a couple of hours. Whether I’m reading or writing, books are like a micro-vacation.
Melinda Leigh is a mom, a dog lover, and a second degree black belt in Kenpo karate. She is the author of She Can Run, an Amazon bestselling romantic suspense released in November 2011 from Montlake Romance. Her next book, Midnight Exposure, is scheduled to release in April 2012. Find out more Melinda: website / facebook / twitter