April 17, 2013

Guest Post: A. T. Hicks

 Author of the Peaches Donnelly Mystery Series

Welcome to Literary Marie's Precision Reviews. Today we have a special guest post from A. T. Hicks, author of the Peaches Donnelly Mystery Series.

Creating Characters for a Mystery Novel Series:
When I first started thinking about the Peaches Donnelly Mystery Series it was a loose thought. Very loose. For one, I had never even written a mystery novel, let alone created characters for an entire series! But once my mind settles on doing something, it won’t stop until I see the project through. So once I had the mystery novel formula down packed I began rough sketches for the characters.

The first question I asked myself was ‘Who did I want the characters to be?’ Because I adore a good cozy mystery and love women sleuths, I decided that I wanted the main character to be quirky and funny. But I also wanted a character that was far more risqué than most cozy mysteries allow for. For instance, Peaches Donnelly, the main character and amateur sleuth in training, has a vast selection of vibrators. Risque right? But funny and very, ummm, real. Hey—a girl needs a little self therapy from time to time! So I scrapped the idea of a cozy mystery and decided on a Not-So-Cozy series of mysteries instead. This decision set the pace for the rest of the recurring characters that show up in this series of novels.

So once I decided who I wanted the characters to be, I started working on the characteristics of each individual.

Peaches' besties, Lynn and Charm, sort of hate one another. Being that Lynn is the overweight über successful, uptight career girl and Charm is a tall, gorgeous, leggy bartender cum aspiring actress whose morals are loose and whose life is borderline fabulous, the two of them are like oil and water. Peaches' two daughters, Nina, an annoying, boy crazy teenager with problems of her own and Sly, an elementary aged student whose main purpose in life is to aggravate Nina, play an additional hilarious role in each book. The two men in her life are Stick and Vernon. Stick she wants with all of her heart. Vernon, the unfaithful ex-boyfriend, is still hanging around like a cold and trying to get back in her good graces. Her younger opera singer sister Viviana just appeared in my mind out of the blue. I’m not quite sure why I developed this character; I just knew I loved her. She’s a famous opera singer living in Italy, high maintenance, well off and pretty loosy-goosy when it comes to leaving Peaches high and dry in varying awkward situations. And last but not least, there’s Mitch Donnelly, Peaches' single father and iffy family patriarch. All he wants is a little peace and quiet, for his two lovely daughters to exist in the same room without a war erupting, and some free lovin’ from whatever sympathetic widower wants to throw some his way. Each of these characters needed to be funny on their own as well as in situations that involved the main character. This makes for a comical read from beginning to end.

Recurring characters are fairly easy to develop once you decide exactly what you want your mystery series to be about. Will it be comical, hard-boiled, adventurous, or dangerous or perhaps a mixture of each? Will you have a hardcore P.I. or will your character be a bumbling amateur sleuth? What type of information will your main character have access to and how? Will they have recurring friends, family and associates that get involved in helping them solve the crime or will they have a different cast of characters that brings them to the resolution of the mystery in each book? These are the questions you’ll have to answer as you begin writing your mystery series. Or else you’ll have unbalanced characters that don’t pan out and won’t keep readers short attention spans!

Proper character development is an important part to writing not only a well-loved series but a successful book. In the case of the Peaches Donnelly Mystery Series, the characters not only set the stage for hilarity in each of the novels in the Peaches Donnelly Mystery Series, but each of them also plumps the story out making it more interesting and engaging for the reader.

Book Blurb:
What does a strip club, a dead man, and a Dove ice cream bar all have in common? Peaches Donnelly

About the Author:
When author A. T. Hicks isn't penning outrageous fiction, she's shooting a renegade tomcat out of her garden, desperately trying to prevent her escape artist dog from slipping out once again, and negotiating power deals with her daughter to complete her chores.

For more information on A. T. Hicks, please visit www.saltygurl.com where you can register for a FREE copy of the first installment in the Peaches Donnelly mystery series, read excerpts and more. You can also find A. T. Hicks on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.


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