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Friday, July 19, 2013


Joining us today is author Cathy Perkins. Cathy writes predominantly financial-based mysteries but enjoys exploring the relationship aspect of her characters' lives. Her suspense writing lurks behind a financial day-job, where she learned firsthand the camouflage, hide in plain sight, skills employed by her villains. Learn more about Cathy and her books at her website. – AP  


Thanks for letting me visit with you today at Killer Crafts and Crafty Killer.  Along with celebrating the release of For Love or Money, my amateur sleuth/romantic mystery from Entangled Publishing, I've been thinking a lot about character this week. You always have such great characters here on your blog!

In fiction, characters who resonate with readers have staying power. I'm a huge mystery reader and series abound in this genre. These long running series feature some of my favorites – Jack Reacher, Jane Rizzoli, Eve Dallas, Harry Bosch, Stephanie Bond, Joe Pike, Lou Boldt, Tess Monaghan, Bobbie Faye Sumrall. I could go on forever, but I also love the stand-alone characters from authors such as Kristan Higgins and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

And who can forget the ensemble cast from Suzanne Brockmann's Troubleshooters? As each team member took turns stepping into the spotlight, the rest of the crew were on hand to lend support. We got to see what happened next to each couple, while following a new developing relationship. (And were carried along as they saved the world or at least some portion of it.)

I think my favorite characters resonate because we see ourselves in them. There are heroes (Harry Potter), villains (Lord Voldemort) and anti-heroes (Snape), for example. And maybe there's a tiny bit of each one of them in us.

So a great hero has flaws. A great villain has strengths. Just like real people.

Stories can be action adventures, capers, romances or dystopian trilogies, but for me, a story is ultimately about character. When we read characters who resonate with us, who make us want to be brave, who make us fearful, who bring out the best--or the worst--of our personalities, we have engaged with the story on an intimate level. We're part of the story, not observers.

It feels odd to mention my books in the same post as my favorite authors. I look back to my first book (which thankfully only a handful of people read before it went to live under the bed with the dust bunnies) and see how much I've learned. In the next heartbeat, I turn to my favorite authors and strive to learn even more! But one of the things that's made me happy with For Love or Money has been reader notes and comments about how much they love the characters—Holly's the woman next door; JC, the guy down the street. Real people they can relate to, the kind they'd meet for Happy Hour at the local winery, to play Bunco, or any of the other ways we hang out with friends. They relate to how passionate each is about their job, their goals—and each other.

The mystery has twists and the chemistry between Holly and JC was a riot to write, but relating to the characters already has readers asking when the next book in the series will be released.

As an author, I'm humbled. And working on craft so the next book will be even better. :)
Who's your favorite character and why?

For Love or Money

When Holly Price trips over a friend’s dead body while hiking, her life takes a nosedive into a world of intrigue and danger. The verdict is murder—and Holly is the prime suspect. Of course, the fact that the infinitely sexy—and very pissed off—cop threatening to arrest her is JC Dimitrak, who just happens to be Holly’s jilted ex-fiancĂ©, doesn’t help matters.

To protect her future, her business...and her heart...the intrepid forensic accountant must use all her considerable investigative skills to follow the money through an intricate web of shadow companies, while staying one step ahead of her ex-fiancĂ©. She better solve the case before the real killer decides CPA stands for Certified Pain in the Ass...and the next dead body found beside the river is Holly’s.


CathyP said...

Thanks for letting me visit today!

Characters are always the best part of the story for me. I'm looking forward to hearing about everyone's favorites.

Vonnie said...

Snort. Love the CPA. Very good point that the villains must have strengths (otherwise they become cardboard cut-outs).

CathyP said...

Thanks for stopping by Vonnie

The best villains for me are ones who have a reason for what they do. Day of the Jackal is my 'go to' story for pointing out a talented author who made my pull for the assassin!

Holly was such fun to write - turning that CPA expectation on its head :) I'm working on the second book in the series and can't wait to see what Holly & JC are up to next.

Sandy Cody said...

I think you're right in that some characters resonate with us because we see something of ourselves in them - quite often something we don't like to admit is there.

CathyP said...

Hi Sandy -

Sometimes it's hard to admit that the things that resonate aren't the ones we'd like to highlight!

I think that's one of the fabulous challenges for author - to create a character that people relate to. Good, bad or OMG, yeah, so lived next door to that dude (or dude-ette) -and use those connections to pull the reader into the story.

For me, sometimes it's digging deep inside to find that character. Other times, it's channeling a person into the role.

The whole time I was writing Honor Code, I heard a woman I knew named Caroline (yep, the book's dedicated to her). She's the most amazing woman who gives her heart to her friends and her foster kids - and I really wanted to celebrate the unsung heroes like her.