Unusual or Quirky Characters–How Much is Too Much?

I’ve been thinking a lot about characters this week as I read a book (Kendra Elliot’s A MERCIFUL DEATH, first in her Mercy Kilpatrick series), several of whose characters are doomsday preppers. I am really enjoying it, not only the isolated setting in small-town Oregon but this community of people whose lifestyle fascinates me. She does a wonderful job of putting me in their heads (especially as life in the U.S. takes such bizarre twists and turns).

It set me thinking about characters and how offbeat or quirky or out of the “norm” (whatever passes for normal these days) they can be before they become antiheroes or–yikes–unlikeable characters.

I can’t imagine a true narcissist (in the psychological sense not just pop culture narcissism) being a hero I could pull for. But how about a prepper? Or a hermit? I remember when I was writing BLACK DIAMOND I worried that Cole’s character was just too dark and damaged for a romantic hero, but readers seemed to accept him. I’m glad of that since I loved the character. I also had a Down Syndrome teenager in the book, although he was not a major character. (Arguably, he does play a major role, however.)

I guess it’s easier to pull for the underdog than the rich and obnoxious. What are some underdog characters you’ve fallen in love with? What about some that didn’t–or you don’t think would–work for you?

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban and paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense, currently living in Auburn, Alabama. Author of the Sentinels of New Orleans series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, and Belle Chasse (Nov 2016). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the upcoming Wilds of the Bayou series (Book 1, Wild Man's Curse) releases April 2016).

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