Yes, it is I, Stud L. Monkey yet again taking over J. Morgan’s Giggles from the Darkside. This time the geekoid asked me to interview him about character development, or some such foolishness. If you ask me, if a guy asks a figment of his Id to talk to him, he has bigger issues than being an author. Like being stone cold nutters with a capital Nutty Buddy in his belfry, because not even bats would roost in his bell tower. But, hey, it’s a paycheck, and since I’m something of a character myself, I thought it’d be fun to screw with him.
Stud: All comfy there, Jmo? Stop fiddling with the buckles. It’s supposed to be that tight. If you keep messing with it, the tie in back will come loose.
Jmo: When I asked you to interview me, I didn’t mean put me in a straight jacket while I was taking a nap.
Stud: I ain’t Oprah! If you wanted a nice comfy chair with a key to some eco-friendly car under the seat, you shoulda asked somebody else. Now, shut you yap, and let me make with the David Letterman. So, have you always been crazy, or is this a midlife crisis thing?
Jmo: That wasn’t on the list I gave you! And, I’m not crazy.
Stud: You’re basically talking to yourself, and you say you’re not crazy. You’re the freaking poster-child for it! Okay, I’ll ask you something that won’t make you turn all red in the face. So, Mr. Jmo, how do you go about developing your characters?
Jmo: I start with a basic idea. A rough sketch of who I believe my character is. Usually, I start with my heroine. She is the one telling the story most of the time. I’ve said this before but I usually base them on a friend. That might sound like life plagiarism, but to me the people I know are just too interesting not to use. The hero comes next. He plays straight man to my heroine. Not all the time, but most of the time that’s the case. I pull in from a lot of sources to create just the perfect foil for her. The only book I can think of where my hero came first was Love Free Stake Hard, and well Mis-Staked, of course. Both those books have something in common. The heroes were based partly on me.
Stud: Ha! So you admit that your heroes are all you! I knew it!
Jmo: When you get right down to it, all my characters are me. As a writer it would be impossible to create a character without bring part of who I am into them. My experiences, moral compass and geeky disposition oozes into every fiber of each character that pops out of my head. So, I guess you could say, my personality disorder finds an outlet other than just being the voices in my head. That isn’t to say that every character is the same. Each character is uniquely themselves. I just channel a different aspect of who I am, coupled with whoever I base the character on. That would make them the love child of me and my muse. That sounded so much better in my head.
Stud: Ew! That’s where it should have stayed too. If I were one of your muses, I’d sue for child support and mental anguish. Let’s move on before you say something to make me upchuck. You said you start with a rough sketch of a character. What brings definition to them?
Jmo: The plot. The book itself defines who they are. Just like when you meet someone for the first time, all you get is the good first impression. It’s only after you hang out with them for awhile that you get the real picture of who they are. Through the course of the book, characters surprise you by how they react to any given situation. That means that no matter how well you thought you knew them, they do things that make you go hmmm, very interesting. To me writing is like reading. I’m never sure what’s going to happen until it happens.
Stud: Very interesting. And how do you feel about that?
Jmo: Are you trying to psychoanalyze me?
Stud: Am I?
Jmo: Just ask the next question?
Stud: Alright, but my fans will not be pleased by how you abuse me. In fact, I’m bored now, so which characters stand out as those closest to who you are?
Jmo: You of course. Breathred for all his geekiness is me at heart. A guy who wishes to be a hero in a world that doesn’t want one, but needs one. Deme from Love Bites 3, for his naïveté and seeing the world through a computer screen most of the time. Caern from Immortally Damned. As a man who constantly struggles with his spirituality and his place in God’s plan, I purposely went into that book wanting to address that struggle and all its implications. But, when you get down to it, all of them hold some part of me inside them.
Stud: Okay, twizzle britches, what about the characters you’ve based on your buds?
Jmo: Ha! My greatest achievement as an author would have to be capturing the heart of my sister of the heart Susan, in character form. Waterfall Woman is her to a T. Madison from The Southern Werewolf Chronicles is my wife body and soul. Jenn might not be a Southern Deb, but she and Madison capture the spirit of Southern women. Strong, opinionated, beautiful and ultimately willing to do anything for those they love. Mad Marlene from the upcoming Bite Marks Two truly hits so close to home, not even I can tell them apart. The same goes for quite a few others, but names of the innocent, or not so innocent, must be protected.
Stud: That jokes so old, Moses wouldn’t even use it. And, on that I’m out of here. Jmo, you can Houdini your way out of that jacket, because I am offended that you think I’m fictional. Buddy, me and you are the same person. You’re just too scared to admit it. Now, I’m off to see how fast that Prius will really go!
Jmo: Stud! Let me out of this thing. If you don’t, you’ll so regret it.
Boom! Insert door slamming here.
Jmo: Okay, I’ll regret it. Before you go, in the coming weeks, I’ll be interviewing some of my character muses to see how they felt about being immortalized by the written word, and how close I came to capturing them.
Good night folks. Uh, if anyone out there would like to help me here, I’d appreciate it. He turned off the light, and I’m sitting in the dark.
An impromptu photo opp for Stud.
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