27. Along similar lines, do appearances play a big role in your stories? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters
Hmm. Well, it’s hard to write love stories of any description without having appearance as a contributing factor. I think most (not all) readers like to have something in the mind’s eye, even if it’s only just colouration and build.
I think the major appearance aspect which has played “a big role” was the club foot which I gave Adam in Hard & Fast. It (and other issues) contributed to Adam’s chip on his shoulder – a massive chip. He wanted to go and fight, but was treated as sickly and his disability prevented him from doing. He felt everyone felt sorry for him, and so developed a thick veneer of sarcasm and sophistication to cover this.
But appearance is often subtly important. Clothes, for example. Maketh the man, and all that. Although I don’t describe him to the nth degree – Gideon Frost (Frost Fair) is shabby, and dresses as well as he CAN. He has appearances to keep up, once his shop made more than enough money for him to call himself middle class – but now he’s living on borrowed glories and his clothes are wearing out. Ambrose too(Standish)is “shabby genteel.” Unlike Gideon he’s never worked, and he’s been an invalid for several years so he’s thin – so thin that when Rafe sees him swimming he can see the knobs on his spine. After six months of good eating and living with Rafe he’s much improved, and this is important, because otherwise Newgate probably would have killed him. So clothes, as well as physique, go a long way to describing the character. Fleury, for example (Standish)– he’s not that much different from Ambrose in physique (other than being taut muscle, due to a rough upbringing, and years as a highwayman) but when we first meet him, we are told he is fat – but then we find he just wears layers and layers and layers of clothes.
Designing my characters? I don’t know if I do – I tend to know who’s taller (if indeed anyone IS taller, these days, my men are often the same height, because that makes the equality and conflict easier) and what the colours are, but that’s it.© Copyright 2010 Erastes, All rights Reserved. Written For: Erastes