Tuesday, March 12, 2013

My goal as an author--to write versatile characters

Get Lost in a Story Readers, Angi and I are doing something fun today.... We're promoting each other's work on each of our blogs.  Angi is over at Intrigue and I, of course, am here at GLIAS.  (see complete details below).

A few years ago I wrote a blog called “He’s Such a Character,” in which I talked about the talent and genius of William Shatner a Shakespearean-trained actor who puts enormous depth in to every role he portrays.  I saw William Shatner and Christopher Reeve (dating myself, huh?)  at Elitches in Denver many years ago where he played in the humorous version  of Death Trap.  As I sat in that audience, I forgot he was “Captain Kirk.”  He was that good.

Later when he went on to play a uniformed cop in TJ Hooker and the dementia-ridden Denny Crane in Boston Legal, I remember thinking He’s Such a Character!
Then of course he went on to become “The Negotiator,” in the Priceline Commercials, now playing opposite his secret daughter Kaley Cuoco from Big Bang Theory fame and William Shatner is equally convincing in a commercial. 

Why do I bring this up?  Because I have a dream and a goal – which is to create in my characters and passion in the manner Shatner brings to his roles.

In The Past Came Hunting, protagonist, Melanie Norris, is an uneducated widow, a mom and an ex-con.  She’s full of guilt over the poor choices she’s made in her life, and lives in fear that her son Luke will find out about her past.  With no college under her belt, she’s self-taught, and after her stint in prison, she carries a toughness about her that she’s forced to resort back to as the story progresses.

In Deadly Recall, my protagonist, Eden Moran, is a lawyer who carries with her repressed memories.  It’s no accident Eden grew up to be a public defender, she’s been all about protecting the underdog and doing what’s fair her entire life.  As she and Albuquerque Police Detective Kevin Dancer connect, her personality comes through loud and clear.  It also gets her into some serious trouble. 

Creating memorable characters is every author’s goal.  To have someone connect with them the way one would connect instantaneously with characters like James, T. Kirk, T.J. Hooker, Denny Crane, or The Negotiator is every author’s dream come true.

Donnell’s two-part question for readers:  Can you think of an actor who is synonymous with his/her characters, in other words, do you recognize the characters as much as you recognize the actor?  Can you think of an author whose character(s) come instantly to mind?
ST. PATRICK'S PALS GIVEAWAY
Enter a special contest (now through Sunday 3-17) for a release by Donnell or her pal, ANGI MORGAN. It's easy and there are lots of ways to enter. Angi has a great blog Tuesday about her May Cover--What She Loves about It and What She Doesn’t. You can leave comments on both posts or Tweet about our giveaway. 1 book for every 50 entrants. Enter through Rafflecopter.
Also, I'll be at Mysteristas on March 14th. 

Donnell Ann Bell is a two-time Golden Heart® finalist who previously worked for a weekly business newspaper and a parenting magazine.  Her debut novel The Past Came Hunting became an Amazon bestseller, reaching as high as #6 on the paid overall list and finaling in 2012 Gayle Wilson Award for Excellence, RWA’s® Greater Detroit Bookseller’s Best, and the 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. Deadly Recall, brought to you by Bell Bridge Books, is her second published novel.  Learn more about Donnell at www.donnellannbell.com

36 comments:

  1. The only other actor I can think of that is as recognizable as his character is also from Star Trek. Leonard Nimoy and Mr. Spock.

    Johanna Lindsey's Mallory characters come to mind. James Mallory is a very memorable character for me. Or James Pattersons Alex Cross. Can you see anyone but Morgan Freeman playing Alex Cross?

    Great blog.

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  2. Cindy, Thought about it last night. How about Denzel Washington. Still I can't remember all of his character's names, can you? And if you haven't seen the most recent Alex Cross featuring Tyler Perry, do so. I thought Tyler Perry did a great job! Thanks for stopping by today ;)

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  3. Hi Ms Donnell, Recognizable characters??? Jack Klugman as the slob in the odd couple and later as Quincy. Sheldon in the Big Bang--Jim . . .. whatever his name is is a crack up classic geek. Florence Henderson will always be the perfect mother--even my kids know her. I love Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar and his side kick, Win--I ABSOLUTELY adore! There are so many! Scarlet and Rhett are classics. I had to think a little to get my brain going this morning, but the list could go on and on.
    I think it's a great goal--to create wonderful characters. Thanks for reminding me, Donnell!

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    1. My pleasure, Theresa! Those are some great characters to create. Jack Klugman is one of those who could play a slob, a medical examiner, yes, very versatile. Sheldon, although he's amazing in the Big Bang theory, do you think he'll always be typecast as the quintesential braniac. I haven't seen him anything else -- although he's very young.

      Same with Florence Henderson. She's Mrs. Brady to me. But Klugman, you nailed it! I've read Coben's work but not Bolitar and Win -- thanks for the reference ---I'll check them out. Titles?

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  4. Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter comes to mind as an actor who will be forever linked to a character. I'll always associate Rowling with the Potter series.

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    1. Yep, and I understand Daniel Radcliff is now performing on stage. So he "may" be versatile in future years. Right now, in my opinion, he's typcast as Harry Potter. Thanks for commenting, Barb!

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  5. Michael Richards - Kramer on Seinfield

    Jonathan Kellerman - Dr. Alex Delaware
    Janet Evanovtich - Stephanie Plumb

    and I LOVE LOVE LOVE Boben's Bolitar and Win series.

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  6. Okay, I'm going to have to check out Boben (I mean Coben's Bolitar and Win series ) What else has Michael Richards done? True, he made a brilliant Kramer, but he's typecast. See what I mean? Janet Evanovich is a rockstar with Stephanie Plum. And she DOES create memorable characters besides. Great recommendation!

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  7. Hmmm... well...
    JD Robb- Eve and Roarke
    Mark Hamil- Luke Skywalker (just because the movie is so iconic...)
    Julia Quinn- Bridgertons...

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    1. May, great examples. Eve and Roarke are synonymous with JD Robb -- plus Nora Roberts creates amazingly unforgettable characters.

      Mark Hamil is okay.. but he's typecast as Luke Skywalker in my opinion,

      And don't cyber swat me, yikes, I've never read Julia Quinn. Must remedy that soon! Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Weird but Lee Marvin came to mind! If you saw Paint Your Wagon, you'll know what I mean. I never thought of him any in other light than that character.

    I have you say JD Robb brings Roarke to life. I would love to see Gerard Butler play that part in a movie.

    Great fun, Donnell!

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    1. Jerrie, Lee Marvin is an awesome character actor. Remember Cat Balou? He also plays terrific military brass. Still, what I'm getting at is can you remember them by name, as you can in William Shatner's characters.

      Yes, JD Robb certainly brings Roark to life. Gerard Butler is another actor who certainly can make you remembre a character, but not necessarily by name. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Peter Falk as Columbo
    Susan Lucci as Erica Kane
    Larry Hagman as J.R Ewing

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    1. Yep, Tammy. Peter Falk nailed Columbo. We can't think of Columbo and not Peter Falk. What about the grandpa in Princess Bride (Peter Falk). Or one of the G-men he played in old movies. Peter Falk was an awesome actor.

      Susan Lucci is good, but again, she's played one character. She isn't known for diversity in my opinion.

      Larry Hagman is a great recommendation. JR in Dallas and how about Tony in I Dream of Jeannie sitcom. Yep. Larry Hagman created diverse characters. Good job, Tammy!

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  11. Donnell: I am a romantic suspense fan, so I'm always open to new authors. I have read the premise of your books, so I am definitely intrigued. They will be on my iPad before the night is gone.

    I'm a big fan of television, so I'm hooked on shows and characters. JR comes to mind...as well as Andy Griffin (Matlock).

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  12. Wayne! You get a gold star! And thank you so much for the downloads. I hope you enjoy and I definitely will be reading your sexy reads (too cute interview yesterday)

    Andy Griffith in my opinion would be in the league with William Shatner. Andy Griffith is synonymous with Andy Taylor of Mayberry and Ben Matlock of Matlock, plus his earlier work involved a lot of big screen and radio. So, yes, Andy Griffith is definitely someone I'd love to emulate when it comes to creating characters. Well done, Wayne, and thank you!

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  13. Annette Funicello will always be remembered for her beach movies.
    And more current Sarah Michelle Gellar for her Buffy fame.

    Enjoy getting lost in a good romantic suspense. Thanks for sharing with us on the blog.

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    1. Hi, Brenda, yep. two great actresses. What else have they done, though that makes you think they are versatile in their characterization. Sara Michelle Gellar has starred in movies since Buffy. She's a bit closer. Thanks for participating!

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    2. Annette Funicello started as a Disney Mouseketier. Did the beach movies and the Babes in Toyland.
      Sara Michelle Gellar did two Scooby-Doo movies, was one of the voices in Small Soldiers, and also played in several horror movies, besides her Buffy fame.

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  14. Although Jeff Bridges is an actor who makes every character his own, to many he will always be The Big Lebowski. Falk as Columbo, I agree. Angela Lansbury, for all her broadway success, will forever be Jessica Fletcher. Fun post, Donnell. Best of luck with your books.

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  15. Hi, Polly: Jeff Bridges puts the V in versatile. He took over John Wayne's role in True Grit as Rooster Cogburn, he was brilliant as Bad Blake in Crazy Hard and of course The Big Lebowski, so, yes, you have mentioned an actor in Shatner's caliber in my subjective opinon. He makes each character he plays his own, and, what's more, memorable.

    Yes, Angela Lansbury will always be JB Fletcher. But don't forget Bed Knobs and Broomsticks, and her many broadway productions. She's a great character actress who falls into the versatile caliber also. Well done, Polly!

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  16. Hi Donnell - I'm also a William Shatner fan. I'm a Trekkie! So while I'm thinking about Space Operas, I can't help but remember Hans Solo. I think this was one of Harrison Ford's very first characters. He's played many others, but that Hans Solo still shows through.

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    1. Suzanne, well done. I don't think everyone understood my question. I want actors who have played "different" characters and are versatile. Not just one character. But Harrison Ford is an awesome example... Hans Solo, Indiana Jones, Regarding Henry, Dr. Richard Kimball. Yes, Harrison Ford would definitely qualify as a versatile actor. Thanks for stopping by!

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  17. I'm a little late because I'm on digest, but this was a great post. I love William Shatner. He's one of those memorable men and his characters live on. Jack Nickelson and Candace Bergan are two other memorable actors who also come to mind.

    I loved your first book, Donnell and can't wait to read Deadly Recall. It's just that my TBR pile keeps growing and my reading time keeps shrinking.

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    1. Oh, yes, Sandy, Jack Nicholson is a great character actor. One Flew Over the Cookoos Nest, Stephen King's, The Shining, Terms of Endearmeant, As good as It Gets... He has been nominated for 12 Academy Awards. Okay, GF, you are the winner, Jack Nicholson, in my opinion, outshines, William Shatner.

      Candace Bergen is also an amazing character performer. Murphy Brown, Sweet Home Alabama, Boston Legal, Miss Congeniality.

      You nailed my question. Excellent!!! Thanks for stopping by!

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  18. Creating memorable characters is definitely an exciting goal, Donnell! I thought you did that extremely well in The Past Came Hunting! Can't wait to read the new story. I love Nora Roberts' characters - so often I catch myself thinking about them months later and have to pull out the book again!

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    1. Thank you so much, Lana! Yes, Nora Roberts creates amazing characters. And what a compliment that you think of them and then read the books over and over again. I'm that way with Sandra Brown. Thanks for stopping by!

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    1. Ed Asner as the incomparable Lou Grant. But I can't think of much else he has done. But he's an incredible character in that role, absolutely! Thanks for commenting

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  20. Hi Donnell-

    Great blog post. I think you did an amazing job w/your characters in The Past Came Hunting. Can't wait to read Deadly Recall. I agree w/Janet Evanovich and Stephanie Plum - she created such an iconic book character and for me, the actress who played Stephanie in the movie was so miscast (although I like her - Katherine Heigel- in other things) that I couldn't even get through half of it.

    Michelle

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    1. Michelle, thank you so much for your nice compliment on The Past Came Hunting. Yes, it would take a very special character to play Stephanie Plum. Perhaps we should dedicate a post to that and play Hollywood producer, no? Love Katherine Heigel, and like you I thought she was okay. But Janet Evanovich has done an outstanding job of creating unforgettable characters. Yep, she's in the rockstar creator colummn :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  21. I love LOVE William Shatner. I even watch his home-made you-tubes. Hilarious.

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  22. Harrison Ford and Indiana Jones
    JR Ward's BDB characters

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  23. WINNER was selected by Rafflecopter:
    COLLEEN was notified and chose Donnell's book.

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