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?

Heroes, Heroines, and Valentine’s Day….Not


Are you doing anything special for the big day? I certainly am. I’ll be sending my last magazine on the day job to the printer, which means a long, hectic workday filled with semi-hysterical alumni (well, okay, that started late yesterday), needless interruptions, and the utter satisfaction of gettin’ that baby outta here.

I might have six weeks left on the day job, but after today, I’ll mentally begin the transition to full-time author. Well, except for that week I plan to do nothing but sleep.

I was trying to think about my various heroes and heroines, and how they had spent Valentine’s Day in my books and, well, they haven’t. It’s probably just as well. Alex would buy DJ a gun, DJ would get him a bacon-fryer, Rand would do something inappropriate, and, well, let’s not even talk about Rene or Jean Lafitte.

Glory would eat something full of bourbon and sugar and then Mirren would have a fine feast. She’d enjoy it too.

Will and Randa would argue over who got whose gift first.

Robin would pick a fight with Cage and they’d end up having hot monkey sex.

Cole and Cele would probably go out for a beer because Gentry and Jena would be staking out poachers or something.

Poor Aidan and Krys. I can’t even talk about them.

I don’t think I’ve even READ a Valentine’s Day book. Have you? And what do you have planned for your big smoochy day?