Wednesday, June 20, 2018


What a great question! I came upon this one when I was answering a questionnaire for another blog and thought it would be a fantastic question to expand on all by itself. Because who among us—writers, readers, or both—DOESN’T have a favorite fictional character?

And it changes, doesn’t it? When I was a little girl, I remember being enthralled with stories of the Color Kittens, Pippi Longstocking, and finally Nancy Drew. Later, heroines such as Kit Tyler—Elizabeth George Speare’s unforgettable character in THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND held my interest.

But I also loved the heroes, too—Hugh O’Donnell, THE FIGHTING PRINCE OF DONEGAL, and Robin Hood, fighting their way to freedom and justice for the people they served! And of course, I was a western lover even then. I was spellbound by Travis and Arliss, the brothers in Fred Gipson’s OLD YELLER, and the sequel, SAVAGE SAM.

Davy Crockett and Mike Fink were favorites, for a while, with books complete with pictures from the Disney series. I couldn’t find an image of the actual books I had, but I did find this one of the “stamp” book—which I also had!

GONE WITH THE WIND was my first “adult” book and I’d seen that movie, so I was enraptured by Scarlett O’Hara. Even at a young
age, the facets of her personality both on the screen and in the book fascinated me. How could she be “all” bad? She gave up so much to save her family…or did she? I still love to think about what a wonderful character Margaret Mitchell gave us to ponder.

The first romance book I ever read was SWEET SAVAGE LOVE by Rosemary Rogers. I can’t tell you how that book changed my life in so many ways. I had never read a book that made me feel as if I was right there in the main character’s skin like I did with Ginny, the heroine. As soon as I finished that book, I turned around and read it again, and it’s on my keeper shelf to this day.
The hero of that book, Steve Morgan, is as hard as they come. But there is a place in his heart for Ginny that no other can fill, and she feels the same for him. I read this book close to 40 years ago, and those characters are still memorable today.

As far as characters I’ve written…all writers know that is nearly an impossible choice. Of course, the first book you ever wrote probably contains your favorite character(s)—even if that wasn’t the first book you ever published! They are your first loves, the reason you started writing in the first place.

The first book an author publishes holds an unforgettable place in their hearts, as well. Those characters were the ones that people were able to read about, to relate to, and to give the author feedback on.

The current book is one that is full of hopes, dreams, and promise—just like the ones before. Will people love your characters as much as you do, or will it flop?

Then there are the books that are “experiments”—maybe shorter, longer, or a different genre. How did others like those characters…but moreover, how did YOU like the characters you created?

My favorite male character I’ve created is one that was the “star” of my first book—the one that has never seen the light of day. I still have hopes and plans to rework it and get it out there, but it’s LONNNNNG. But Johnny Brandon is a man’s man, and he’s going to have his vengeance no matter what. Still…there’s room for love—though he is an unwilling participant in the beginning. As always, things have a way of working out for the best, but he kept me on my toes the entire time I was working on that manuscript, and he’s utterly unforgettable.

Probably the couple that were “the odd couple” for me were U.S. Deputy Marshal Jaxson McCall and runaway debutante, Callie Buchanan in THE HALF-BREED’S WOMAN. Jax is hired “on the side” to go after Callie who has run away from her stepfather, a prominent socialite in Washington, D.C. She is headed west, into his familiar territory. He tracks her easily enough, but when he catches up with her, he realizes that his instincts were right—there’s something terribly wrong with her stepfather’s “worry” about her disappearance. Their relationship becomes something neither of them expected, and when Callie’s stepfather comes after them both, Jax realizes he’s got to pull out all the stops to keep Callie safe from the man who is evil to the core.

But Callie has lost so much in her life, she’s determined she’s not going to lose Jax—or her life. She surprised me several times, and I loved the way she grew as a character and found her own strength and bravery as time went by.
What’s your favorite fictional character you’ve read, or one you’ve created?

Here's the buy link at AMAZON for THE HALF-BREED'S WOMAN!

Here's an excerpt from THE HALF-BREED'S WOMAN:

The set up: U.S. Deputy Marshal Jaxson McCall has tracked down debutante Callie Buchanan in her flight across the country to get away from her powerful stepfather. Now, because of an overzealous cavalry commander, they have been forced to marry to save Callie’s reputation and Captain Tolbert’s military career from question. It’s their wedding night, but Jax is still uncertain that he’s the best thing for Callie—he wants her to have choices, not something forced on her. But Callie knows what she wants…in her heart, she will forever be THE HALF-BREED’S WOMAN…

Jesus. A king’s ransom in rubies. But more important, the love of the woman kneeling beside him, offering him, truly, the only valuable she had left. The only thing that stood between her and destitution. She was handing him her future, and he held it in his hands, glittering in the lamplight.

“Callie.” His voice was husky, rough, but infinitely tender. “You trust me so much, sweetheart? This is everything you own, isn’t it?”

As Callie lay her head beside him, Jax laced his hands through her hair, thoughtfully fingering the silken mass of burnished copper. She nodded, not answering.

“Think long and hard about what you’re saying, Callie. I’m…not your only choice. Once we’re out of here, we can get this marriage annulled—if you want—”

Her head came up swiftly. “Is that what you want, Jaxson? Truly? To walk away and pretend we never knew each other, never made love together—”

“Shh, no, baby, it’s not what I want.” He put a roughened finger against her lips.

“Then, what? Is it the idea of marriage itself that repels you—or marriage to me?”

“Dammit, Callie, you’re young, you’re beautiful—educated—”

“A fugitive.”

“We’ll get that set straight, sweetheart, and then your whole life will be open to all kinds of possibilities—not just marriage to a—a half-breed U.S. deputy marshal, for God’s sake!”

“I happen to be in love with a half-breed U.S. deputy marshal! One that I want to spend my life with! Remember, Jax? Remember? ‘Laugh with me, love with me, have babies with me—’ Remember?” She moistened her lips, her voice carrying the husky edge of tears, her emotions raw.

Roughly, with a muttered curse, he dropped the case on the bed and pulled her to him. He held her tightly as she scrambled to move herself away from him. He speared his fingers through her soft, tumbling hair, loving the feel of it against his fingertips and across the bare skin of his neck and shoulder.

“Jax! Stop it! I don’t want to hurt—”

“You aren’t going to hurt me, Callie. Not like you mean. Physical pain, I can deal with. Emotional pain, that’s a little harder.” He pulled her back against him, but she resisted, turning her head as he tried to kiss her. He shifted to his left side, throwing a bare leg across her, forcing her head around to look at him.

“Can I trust you, Callie?” His eyes were hot, burning into hers. “If I give you my heart, can I trust you?”

“Jax—” Callie murmured, stopping her thrashing at the hoarse, raw emotion in his voice, the intensity in his eyes. He held her arms tightly in his hands. “I will never, hurt you, Jaxson. Never.” Their lips were only a hairsbreadth apart, her voice a soft whisper, gliding across his skin. “I love you, Jax.” She moistened her lips. “I love y-”

His lips slanted across hers, cutting off the rest of her words. She opened her mouth for him, and his tongue entered her in a promise of what he planned to do to her body in a few short minutes. Boldly, she touched his tongue with hers, and his fingers tensed against her scalp. He had turned until his body almost completely covered hers, pinning her beneath him. Finally, he lifted his head. “I’ll never let you go, girl. That’s one thing you better know. If we make love tonight, you’re mine, Callie. Forever.”


  1. That is a good question and one I'm not sure I can answer. I know that Bess, from the poem "The Highwayman" still resonates with me to this day. To give it all for love...what courage and what a gift.

    As for my own writing, I can't choose. I will say Clara in my first story and Josie in my first published novel have special places in my heart and soul. Now, I will be thinking about this the rest of the day...and at work no less. *Grin* Thanks for the thought provoking post. Doris

    1. Oh, yes! Bess! What a character. So many characters that have been "invented" through the ages in all different types of literature. It's remarkable what the brain can invent, isn't it, Doris? Thanks so much for stopping by!

  2. Great question and one that's hard to answer. Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, Atticus Finch, Scarlet O'Hara,and I admit to having a sneaking admiration for Tom Ripley's ability to be so amoral.

    1. Yes, Christine! Atticus Finch--and Scout, too! Both wonderful fictional characters who brought so much to the world. To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite novel. You picked some good ones! What about your own characters? It would be hard to choose between them!

  3. Cheryl,

    My favorite literary characters are Hannibal Lecter, Inspector Javert, Shane, Scarlet O'Hara, Hamlet, Phantom of the Opera (Erik), Atticus Finch, and Edmund Dantes. I was enamored with the Robin Hood, King Arthur, and the 'Red' Hugh O'Donnell stories and characters, too.

    My favorite characters of my own creation are in a historical family saga novel that I haven't published yet, and the antihero (Beau Hyatt) in my first published novel (that is currently languishing in rewrite limbo after a rights reversion).

    1. Some good ones, Kaye! And I can't wait to see YOUR characters come out of hiding and see what's going on in the big wide world! LOL GET CRACKIN', GIRL!

  4. What a neat, thought-provoking question, Cheryl. My earliest memory of an unforgettable character is Bambi. How I sobbed when Bambi'smother was shot and you know what? I recently watched the movie on tv and I got weepy all over again when that happened. I loved all the teenage sleuths like Nancy Drew and Judy Bolton, but it was Della Street of Perry Mason fame that eventually led me to becoming a legal secretary. And then when I was 21 I discovered Angelique written by French husband and wife team, Serge and Anne Golon. I managed to acquire all ten books and years later lent them to a friend and never got them back (sniff sniff). Angelique is no doubt my most beloved heroine and no doubt inspired my love of romance historicals. Jean Valjean is also an unforgettable hero and well played by Hugh Jackman in the remake of Les Miserables. Yuri Zhivago and the beautiful Lara both in the book and the movie are standout favorites, as are Scarlet and Rhett. When it comes to my writing, how can I possibly choose a favorite...they're my fictional children and each has his/her unique qualities that makes me love them. Chase for loving Sara despite her determination to drive him away, Mike for his teasing tongue, Molly for her sauciness, but I admit I have a soft spot for Rachel and Adam in the first historical I wrote. When this current trilogy has its final edit, I definitely have to dig out Rachel's story and retype it into this computer. It was my fourth book and just missed being a Golden Heart finalist. I have a sneaky feeling it remains my favorite book of the dozen I've written. I'm so itching to get back to it. Thanks for your trip down memory lane, Cheryl, and sharing excerpts of your stories.

  5. Elizabeth, I love all these characters you've mentioned and I can't wait to read about all the ones you've created! Isn't it wonderful to be able to imagine these characters as we read about them, and then, so many of them are further brought to life by the wonders of filmmaking!