July YA Author Interview Answer #8 “How do you decide on character development for your YA story? What inspires you?”

How do you decide on character development for your YA story? What inspires you?
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Hello everyone! We are behind schedule for the July author interview as we had difficulties to get the last three authors to send in their answers and we had to find new authors to replace the three authors who had signed up earlier for the interview. Nevertheless, I am happy to finally be able to publish the answers from all of them for the interview series.

It’s time to reveal the answers for all 12 questions answered by 12 author participants in the July Group Author Interview, in the 12 genres, 12 authors, 12 months and 12 questions series! Thank you for the support from the 12 Young Adult authors who have participated in this group author interview.

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So, the 8th question is “How do you decide on character development for your YA story? What inspires you?”

1) Author #1: Jesse Frankel

Good question. I like to look at the frailties of people. Many of my characters have either physical flaws or psychological hangups–or both. I incorporate those flaws into their development, where they have to overcome their so-called disabilities. That makes them memorable.

2) Author #2:  Roxanne San Jose

What inspires me is based on my creativity and what I think is good for the story.

3) Author #3: Diane Guntrip

I don’t think I give much thought to character development. I normally have the whole book planned from start to finish in my head before I begin the story. I just write what comes into my head. However, I am influenced by life itself, my experiences of living and ideas from events such as on the news, stories, etc.

4) Author #4: Katy Mitchell

I write character profiles for each of my characters, detailing things like their appearance, character, what clothes they wear, likes and dislikes, motivations and flaws, etc. I could get inspiration from anywhere! On the bus, walking around, from the TV or a movie! I tend to mull things over in my mind for a period of time before I put pen to paper.

5) Author #5: Marisa Noelle

When I first think of an idea, usually it’s the central plot or the character that comes to me first. I know what they will have to overcome from a plot point of view. Then i ask myself what it is they want at the beginning of the novel, versus what they need. If I can make these two opposing opposites then I know I will have a lasting conflict throughout the novel as the MC comes to accept what they need and reject what they initially wanted. In this way, the arc of my characters are created. If I can do the same for secondary characters and make them in the way of the MC, then I’ve got even more delicious conflict.

6) Author #6: Amy Beashel

For me, everything is driven by what the character thinks they want, why they can’t get it and how / whether they can achieve it in the end. I take inspiration from real life stories I read in the news or hear about on the radio/ podcasts. (I’m OBSESSED with podcasts!) To gain a better understanding of my characters at the beginning of writing, I use a book called The Wisdom of the Ennegram which looks at nine different character types. It’s great for getting to grips with a person’s motivation, best traits and flaws and how they might behave in a crisis. The book was a brilliant tip from Julie Cohen, a fantastic writer.

7) Author #7: T.K. Kiser

Often the characters develop on their own! Carine and David have surprised me in their words and actions as I’ve written their scenes. That’s one of my favorite things about writing: the muse is mysterious and beyond my understanding. All I know is when I set pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), the characters start to breathe. Sure, I plot, revise, and edit, but there’s something about creativity that’s almost like magic.

8) Author #8: K.B. Shinn

I’m a big fan of the classics, and I absolutely love re-imagined fairy tales. But sometimes the things that inspire you appear when you’re not looking for them. I used to be a substitute teacher, and while I was hanging out in the teachers’ lounge, I got in a conversation about old Disney movies. Sleeping Beauty is one of my favorites, although not without criticism–I mean, it’s the story of Princess Aurora, but she’s only onscreen for ten minutes of the entire movie! While we were talking, I wondered how the story would have been different if Aurora had woken up early: thorny castle, everyone still asleep–and no prince with the magical kiss. I concluded that Aurora probably would have had a nervous breakdown, so I created a fairy tale princess who was determined to get out and get help. And once you create a character like that, it’s only natural that she needs a world to go into.

9) Author #9: Shirley McCann

Watching my own grandkids evolve through their life. Also other books in the genre.

10) Author #10: Claire Moore

Alongside writing I work for a big youth charity. Through this work I have the great privilege of meeting and hearing about amazing young people overcoming enormous challenges and achieving the most brilliant things. I’m blown away by them and they are my inspiration.

11) Author #11: Jeremy Smith

A character with a well defined back story will develop themselves. Never build a house with shoddy footings, it’s so much harder. Add a dash of conflict, a sprinkle of self-doubt and just let them loose.

12) Author #12) Jon Hartless

The Full Throttle series was inspired by 1920s motor racing, with specific reference to the Bentley Boys. I realised the era was a perfect way of showing the issues we still have today, (the class divide, the many opportunities for the wealthy in contrast to a complete dearth of working-class opportunities and so on), and as such all I needed to do was drop my characters into that world and watch them react. Poppy is intelligent, an outsider, and questions everything, while Amy is far more constrained by public opinion and being respectable. In contrast, Simeon, their wealthy sponsor, automatically assumes as a wealthy man he can have whatever he wants…

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Founder of International Book Promotion


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