by Sharon Kendrick, author of Christmas in Da Conti’s Bed
It’s the little things which count – especially when it comes to characterization When I’m teaching students on my Tuscan writing holiday we talk about fleshing out characters and making them real. Real enough so that if you bumped into them at a party, you’d recognise them straight away.
So how do you set about making the products of your imagination come alive? The obvious thing is to think about what your characters look like and what they like to wear. If I were describing my own clothes – I wear lots of dark and scarlet and green but wouldn’t let a pastel shade within a mile of my skin, because pale colours make me look hideous! I love wearing jewellery, but not too much of it. Oh, and I have very big feet. As for some of my characteristics – I’m hopeless at being organised and good at learning poetry.
It’s exactly the same for my hero and heroine. They have their own way of dressing, as well as things they’re good and bad at. They have a particular way of looking at the world which is unique to them. Before I begin a new book, I sit down and work out exactly what these traits are so that by the time I start writing – I feel as if I know my characters inside out.
Opening in New York and moving to the snowy English countryside, the idea for Christmas in Da Conti’s Bed started with a woman who’d done something in the past which she’d never been able to shake off. Something which the hero despised her for.
Alannah Collins is best friends with Niccolo da Conti’s sister and the last person he wants to be his little sister’s bridesmaid. He is uptight, controlling and disapproves of everything Alannah stands for. Unfortunately that doesn’t impact on his overwhelming desire to have sex with her.
Alannah’s personality comes across in the quirky way she dresses. She uses structured clothes as a kind of armour but personalises each of her outfits with a sparkly little brooch. I got the inspiration when I found this glittery bumble bee brooch in a tiny seaside store. Immediately, I knew it was something that Alannah would wear and it provided the key for her character.
The outfit Alannah is wearing on the cover of the book is also deeply significant and symbolises part of the personal journey she has to make. This is a shamelessly emotional Christmas love story and I really hope you enjoy it.
If you had to describe something particular you like to wear which sums up the person you are, or something you’re very good (or bad!) at – what would it be?
For details of Sharon Kendrick’s next Tuscan writing holiday in May 2015, contact www.watermill.net
About Christmas in Da Conti’s Bed:
A Christmas gift she can’t refuse…
Billionaire Niccolo Da Conti has everything a man could want—the money, the cars, the business empire—but seeing the unbearably enticing Alannah Collins again has sparked his possessive streak. He’ll hire her, seduce her and cross her off his wish list once and for all!
Alannah knows the danger of working too closely with the sensual Sicilian, but she’d be a fool to refuse his help launching her business. Now, with Niccolo ruthlessly trying to seduce her under the mistletoe, her every defense is threatened. Can she stop him from unwrapping the truths she’s fought to conceal?