Melissa grew up in Maryland by the Chesapeake Bay, where her favorite memories took place near the water. Not having the physical coordination for most sports and the tendency to trip over air, she gravitated to books. She was never seen without a book. With her imagination running wild, she began to write her own stories at the age of nine, with her first book about a pet-loving family and the adventures they had. As time passed and Melissa grew up, reading and writing always stayed with her, becoming her escape from everyday life.
Melissa now lives near Washington, D.C. with her family, dog and a lot of fish. In between the chaos of laundry, chasing after her three children and trying to learn how to cook, Melissa finds her escape by feeding her addiction of reading and writing of love, suspense and sarcastic humor. LK is excited to have her as a guest blogger!
Every reader has that one character that they just grab onto. The character that they relate to the most; the character that the reader can say, ” I would have said the exact same thing.” As an avid reader, I’m the exact same way. If the main character doesn’t draw me in within the first chapter, I’m hard pressed to finish the book, much less like it. I want to be able to place myself into the story. I want to cheer on the protagonist and kick the villain right in the nuts. I want to be in the main character’s shoes.
I wrote The Broken Road in first person, to bring you, the reader, into Megan’s life. I want you to relate to her. I want you to feel her awkwardness, her worries, her joys and her despair. Because everyone, at some time or another, has gone through the same stresses of love that Megan has. Most romances do not start with the woman being swept off her feet. They start with shyness and angst. Like many relationships, Megan’s romance with Shane begins with a deep crush and unrequited love. Being just friends with someone you’re in love with is hard enough, but seeing that person in a relationship is devastating. When Megan and Shane’s relationship starts going in the right direction, you feel their tension, their desire, and their heartache.
While writing in the first person may seem one-sided, I believe the reader is more invested. The reader is going through this emotional roller coaster with someone they can relate to and it draws them more into the story. They want the main character to succeed, to find love and to have that happy ending. The reader has felt the same feelings or has gone through the same awkward periods that the protagonist is going through.
Find a person to base your characters on. Who do they remind you of? Your Aunt Betsy? That pompous ass coworker? The sweet girl next door? Are they skinny or are they on the constant diet? Are they a smart-ass who always has a one liner for everything or too shy to look a handsome man in the eye? Bring their traits and their voices to the story. Make your characters relatable and give them flaws and quirks. No one is perfect and it’s easier for your readers to relate to your characters if they aren’t perfect either. Use your own experiences to draw readers in. Your characters will come alive when you infuse them with a back-story, memories and a speech dialect. Picture them in your mind, as the movie of your story plays. If you can relate to your character, then chances are, the readers can too.