Writer Words

Q&A Sunday: Male Characters

I’ve been sitting on this question for a while because I wasn’t sure how to answer it. I think I finally figured it out! Aliana wants to know…

What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered when writing about characters from the opposite sex?

Writing men is hard. And not just during the fun moments! Seriously, though, men are a challenge.

Yes, I’m married. I have an amazing husband, a six year old son, a brother who is 17 months younger than me, and a wonderful father. But none of that means I understand men!

Women are complex. We’re moody and temperamental and emotional and a little crazy sometimes. I get that because I am one. I know we’re all different, but I feel like I understand women since I am one. I’ve felt all those things. All those struggles.

Men want us to believe they’re simple creatures. If they have sex, they’re happy. If they have food, they’re happy. If they have a bit of sleep, they’re happy. Not necessarily in that order, and definitely not in balance, but you know what I mean.

The challenge is that men are not simple. Men are just as complex as we are. They have mood swings. They have emotions. They want more than sex, food, and sleep.

Most of the time.

Characters though, they’re not real men. Sometimes, they’re the men we want real men to be. An alpha with a softer side. A beta with a dangerous vibe. An average Joe who is damaged.

Writing men is tough.

No matter how many men I know personally, how many I am close to, I’m not inside their heads. I don’t know them, the way they think, the reasons they do things, their fears, hopes, and dreams. I can speculate, but I haven’t been there.

Graham, Puffy & Precious, was a challenge for me because he’s a little bit alpha and I struggle with that. Don’t get me wrong, alpha can be sexy, but I’m not intimately aware of alpha. My husband isn’t alpha, a fact I’m very happy about. So writing a guy who was a little alpha was tough for me. A guy who was going to jump to conclusions, get jealous, and try to control things. I don’t know that I would have put up with as much as Abby, but then again, she was a challenge for him, too!

Brady, Fat & Fine, was another struggle for me. He was so wounded and angry that I had trouble relating to him. I sympathized with him, felt bad for him, but I didn’t know him. Sam was hurt also, with her own wounds. The two of them were both in need of someone who could help them heal, but I felt like I’d walked in Sam’s shoes more than Brady’s. And I struggled a bit with him.

Every man is a challenge for me. Every man gives me more than a few moments that I hesitate. I agonize over their words, their thoughts, their actions. In the end, I write them the best way I can, and hope that they are real enough to make you a believer, but fictional enough to make you love them!

Thanks so much, Aliana, for your question! If you have a question, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!

Posted in Writer Words | Comments Off on Q&A Sunday: Male Characters

QA Sunday: Genres

It’s time for another question. Becky has one for me this week…

Do you ever write outside your box? By that I mean do you try different genres or do you stick to just one? What about when you read; do you try different types of books?

I’ll admit, I’m pretty boring. Or maybe I just know what I like. I love contemporary romance.

I do read some non-fiction – business, marketing, parenting, and writing craft books. But if I’m reading for entertainment, I stick with contemporary romance mostly.

I will read new adult, suspense, historical, and some erotic, but I mostly stick to contemporary.

As for writing, I’m not sure I’ll ever branch out very far. I’ve written some new adult (like Love The Wine You’re With), but not much. I’ve been helping a friend with her suspense novel, another friend with her historical, and another friend with an erotic. But I don’t know that I see myself venturing too far from contemporary for my writing.

You know what to expect with me. Sexy. Tight family or friends. Some wine. Plenty of food. And a story that will give you hope. I love it. I hope you do too!

Thanks so much, Becky, for your question! If you have a question, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!

Posted in Writer Words | Comments Off on QA Sunday: Genres

QA Sunday: Compliments

This question made me smile. A lot. Aliana asked…

What has been the best compliment [given to you as an author]?

I’ve been given lots of compliments as an author. And no, I don’t mean that as an attempt to say how awesome I am. I’m actually a pretty humble person. I think that’s why compliments mean so much to me.

So, you want examples?

Vicki said Love The Wine You’re With, which comes out tomorrow, is her favorite of all my books so far.

Many of you told me Round & Ravishing was worth the extra wait.

Even more of you have told me how much my Big & Beautiful series has meant to you.

I’d love to say I’m a USA Today Bestselling Author, but really, I didn’t get into this for accolades. I got into this because it was right for me. And knowing that what I write resonates with you is the best compliment I could ever get. I’ll be happy to not ever be a bestselling author if I know you love what I write. That’s what really matters to me!

Thanks so much, Aliana, for your question! If you have a question, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!

 

Posted in Writer Words | Comments Off on QA Sunday: Compliments

Q&A Sunday: New Writer

I have a very personal question from Becky today. She wants to know…

What prompted you to start writing?

The final push came when I realized how miserable I was. But getting to that point was a much longer story.

Without getting into too much, I have a degree in chemical engineering and thought I’d spend my life curing cancer (instead of fighting it) and helping people. My career did not turn out the way I’d hoped, and I was not happy as an engineer.

At. All.

I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with myself when I left my engineering job and kind of stumbled into writing. I always loved to read so it made sense to start looking at writing. I’d done well in my English classes and could write a damn good essay. A book couldn’t be that different, right?

When you stop laughing, you can continue…

I found some business minded people who were non-fiction authors. They said you couldn’t sustain a living on just writing books. They were crazy smart, so I decided I’d start a non-fiction business helping working moms live a life they enjoyed.

I loved the idea of it, but it wasn’t what I really wanted to be doing. I wanted to be writing novels.

After about a year of doing that, hubby and I had a serious talk. He said I was as stressed and miserable doing that as I was in my engineering job and I had to stop. Four months later I published my first novel, In Front Of Me.

It’s been a wild, fun, exciting ride, and I know I’ll be writing for as long as you will be reading! I’ve finally found my true calling and am so happy hubby pushed me to do something that made me happy!

Thanks so much, Becky, for your question! If you have a question, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!

Posted in Writer Words | Comments Off on Q&A Sunday: New Writer

Q&A Sunday: Characters IRL

I shared this secret with those of you on my weekly newsletter, but for everyone else, I wanted to answer Aliana’s question…

You mentioned in another post that the physical description of Graham from “Puffy & Precious” reminded you of Dwayne Johnson.  Do your other characters remind you of other famous people?  Or do you have stock images of all your characters?

The short answer is it depends. Of course!

The long answer is I have pictures of every character. Some are pictures in my head, but for almost all of them, I take the picture in my head and find a person online.

I’ve found stock photos for some people. But most stock photos don’t exactly match my vision for who my characters are.

So I turn to Pinterest!

Yes, Graham was Dwayne Johnson, in my mind. Noah is Scott Eastwood. The other Big & Beautiful guys were stock photos, but Pinterest is a lot more fun.

Tattoos. 

Sexy grins. 

Shirtless men. 

Pinterest has it all!

Thanks so much, Aliana, for your question! If you have a question, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!

Posted in Writer Words | Comments Off on Q&A Sunday: Characters IRL