Favorite Characters to Write and to Read by J Vincent

I have never thought about “liking” to write a particular character.  There are definitely characters whom I like—sometimes too much—but caring about writing them? Hmmmm. 

After thinking a bit the answer lies in the fact that I like strong characters whether they be heroes, heroines, or villains.  And strong characters often take the pen in their own hands, so to speak, and write themselves.  That disconcerted me when I first began to write and I still haven’t reconciled the fact that it happens with the idea that as creator, I should be more in charge or more in control of the menagerie in my head.  I’m so far down the writer road now, that I worry if they don’t take charge.  Funny how one’s world and ideas turn.  Alongside my characters’ strengths I am partial to vulnerability.

Of the coterie of characters in my Honour series the one I like the most is André, Baron de la Croix.  I first met him as a six year old in Bond of Honour—one of my published oldest books and quite unwittingly, on my part, a precursor to the Honour series. I had no idea at the time I would ever encounter him again. Even at six he was daring and adventuresome.  When I needed a character who could be a British spy in my H series it turned out that André not only was the right age but fit the bill perfectly.  What surprised me more was that the villain Donatien who also is a thread through my series was also in Bond of Honour.  He was part of a gang that kidnapped André. These two men are very different but totally committed to their ideals.  Donatien doesn’t think he has any but they are there and I have been astounded at his development.  There even appears a glimmer of redemptive value in Honour’s Redemption, completed but not yet released.  That astounded me at the time I wrote it, revealing to me as I write this, another facet of characters I like to write.  They grow and change.  Not always in a way I want them to but in a way that is true to them.

The same things are true of the characters I like to read.  I am now reading the fourth book of Kate Ross’s Julian Kestrel regency books.  Sadly there are only four because she passed away from cancer shortly after writing the fourth.  Julian Kestrel starts as an enigma with rather tantalizing hints given as the first book progresses.  He is outwardly rather useless and inwardly very complex.  As he solves a murder mystery in the first book he surprises himself and others and not only at his development as a detective. Ross did such a good job that I am deeply saddened that we will never know what was in store for this character down the road.  There are provocative hints but that’s all they will ever be.  

 Lord Peter Whimsey written so well by Dorothy Sayers and after her death by Jill Paten Walsh.  He is strong yet vulnerable and troubled.  A more current favorite character, strong but flawed, is J. P. Beaumont, the Seattle, or rather ex-Seattle detective depending on where you are at in the series, written by J A Jance. (Or maybe I’m just in love with the voice of Gene Engene who reads the Jance audio books.) Then there is P.D. James's Commander Adam Dalgliesh of the London Police or Anne Perry’s William Monks also originally of the London Police, Victorian era.  Or J. D. Robb’s Dallas and Roarke—again police, murder and mystery in a futuristic setting. There are other authors I read faithfully—Earlene Fowler, Iris Johansen’s Eve series, Dick Francis.  All of these write murder and mayhem.

Looking at this it appears I have a thing for detectives and murder mysteries.  But there are others.  Mercedes Lackey’s sci-fi Arrow of the Queen series has several characters I love to read especially her heroine, Talia.  There is Jo Beverley’s Georgian period Malloren series whose head of family, the Marquess of Rothgar, is a delicious character and there are Beverley’s regency Rogues.

But what kinds of characters do you like to read?  Are there any of my characters from my past or present work that have caught your fancy?