It's the strangest thing

I have, on occasion, been asked how I came up with the story for Sunder. Like many other stories, it started with one character. Oddly enough, it wasn't Isabella. Rather, it was Ceadda. And his origin is probably not what you would expect.
During the Fall of 2006, I was student teaching at Turner High School in Kansas City. For those of you who have done student teaching, you know they don't pay you. So I used to find a short-term lease. I moved in with Kevin, a nice guy (his ownership of cats notwithstanding). The only thing was, Kevin watched WWE Wrestling religiously. So every Monday (Raw), Wednesday (ECW), and Friday (Smackdown), the sounds of wrestling filled the split-level house. At first I seethed in my bedroom, annoyed at the noise. But then a funny thing happened. I walked into the living room to retrieve some papers I was grading and there was a wrestler in the ring whose appearance struck me like lightning. No, he wasn't one of the uber-handsome ones (i.e., The Rock). He was strange...frightening looking. His name was Kane. And the first thing in my mind was that he looked like he was born in the wrong century.

"He looks like an Anglo-Saxon warrior," I said to myself. And from that tiny seed, I imagined at first a sweet innocent girl younger than myself being trapped in the past at the mercy of this vicious warrior. Then slowly but surely, as I thought about it (but did not write), the idea morphed into the story of Isabella and her encounter with Caedda.

It would be another year before I even wrote a word, but by then I had a fully formed plot (there have been some changes since then) and several supporting characters. There have been so many influences in forming my characters, and it's fun to look back and see how they have evolved. Many were formed originally from actors, but some were from people I've known. Cody Peterson was actually one of my students. Where do you typically get your inspiration for your characters?


  1. Very cool! I recently had the opposite experience of seeing an already developed character in real life. I was leaving QT as a man sporting a gray ponytail pulled up on a motorcycle. He looked so much like how I imagined Saul, the owner of the music store in my 'Music Lessons from the Pit' novel, that I was tempted to take his picture. I thought better of it, not sure what this guy would think if he caught me snapping photos of him.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Kristin.

    Many of my characters are drawn loosely from kids I knew when I was younger. There are many advantages to this. I have a clear picture in my mind of what they looked like and how they interacted with me and with each other. Also, since I haven't seen most of these people in decades, I've forgotten a lot of details and can make stuff up to compensate. As a result, each character grows in his or her own way.

  3. I based the personality of Andrew in Acceptance on two young men who were in the TV show Boy Meets Boy both of whom had teasing personalities.

    Although they didn't actually inspire the characters, the basis for First Impressions came from Jason and deMarco (whose videos I posted this weekend). In their DVD "We're All Angels" they talked about how they couldn't stand each other when they first met.

  4. I'm sure WWE really bothered you...because you don't like watching that at all :)


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