Thursday, June 11, 2020


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!


  1. This is a great question.

    On the I Created side, it comes down to three: While private eye Benjamin Wade was the star of my first book, his friend, reporter Gordon Gardner, has the fires of righteous indignation going for him. US Army Sgt. Lillian Saxton more than holds her own when she's trapped behind enemy lines in World War II. And Railroad Detective and former actor, Calvin Carter, is my homage to Maverick, The Wild Wild West, and The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.

    As to fictional characters I enjoy watching/reading, they are numerous. For sheet enjoyment, there's Batman, Indiana Jones, James Bond, Marty McFly, Ehtan Hunt (Mission: Impossible films), among others.

    For the deeper characters, these come to mind: Samwise Gangee (Lord of the Rings) who, even though he couldn't carry the ring, could carry Frodo; Dr. Max Goodwin (played by Ryan Eggold on the TV show New Amsterdam) for always being willing to help people; Anton Ego (the critic from Ratatouille) for telling the truth no matter the consequences.

    And there's one guy who straddles both enjoyment and depth: Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) who is a blast in the early movies and makes the ultimate sacrifice by the end.

    1. Scott, you have chosen a LOT of great fictional characters. Yes, you are so right--Batman, Indiana Jones, James Bond, Marty McFly, Ethan Hunt...all great choices!

      When you think about it, there are SO MANY great characters out there it's hard to name a "favorite" for any particular genre or "just for fun" vs. "deep"--you did a great job.

      And there are some characters you might really enjoy for a series of performances/books, and those who may have only had one appearance, but oh--WHAT an appearance it was!

      I really enjoyed your comments, and of course, these posts and comments always lead to more books to be bought and read and more movies to be watched. Your "I Created" characters sound perfectly wonderful to me, too, and I will be adding those to my collection, as well. Lillian Saxton sounds like she's more than got her work cut out for her!

  2. My favorite fictional character in books I've read is Sherlock Holmes in all the stories by Sir Arthur Canon Dole.
    From my own work, my favorite character is Kyle Red Sky and Lola Wilding from the Wildings Series and John Douglas from The Violin.
    I loved the Half Breed's Woman. Jax and Callie were both strong characters in this story. Actually, I love all your stories. It would have been hard for me to pick out just one favorite character.
    All the best, Cheryl...

    1. Sarah, you are so kind. I loved your Kyle Red Sky and Lola Wilding, too, and of course, I know that John Douglas and The Violin particularly pull at you since they have such a personal connection.

      There are so many wonderful characters out there--too many to list in a blog post, I know, but isn't it wonderful to think about all the authors who created the characters that we love so much? What a gift to the world!

  3. Like you Cheryl, I've had many over the years from the Black Stallion, (do animals count) to the Sara Paretsky's VI Warshawski character and so many inbetween.

    For those I created, Josephine Murphy has a special place in my heart as the character of my first novel. However, Clara Cross in my very first story "Home For His Heart", will forever be special.

    I loved the question and I'm sure I'll keep finding others who have stuck with me over the years. Doris

    1. Oh, yes, Doris! Animals count, for sure! They are so unique and special and have their own personalities! I'm reading "JUDY" by Daniel Lewis right now--the true story of a dog (Judy) who was a British gunboat's "mascot" just before the onset of WWII. What a wonderful story it is. I didn't know about her until one of my writer friends mentioned she was reading that story and how good it was. The Black Stallion was a wonderful book!

      Yes, those characters that we first created, in our earlier stories, are sometimes the ones that are our favorites because we were pouring our hearts out with ideas in the beginning --that was "the overflowing" time. LOL I remember Clara very well!

      Yeah, once you start thinking about this it's hard to stop--there are so many wonderful characters out there that have made their mark on the world in so many ways.

  4. PIP in GREAT EXPECTATIONS. Read that real early as a kid and it BLEW ME AWAY! HAV-I-SHAM (Have a shame. Dickens had a way with finding names for his characters.)

    As for WESTERNS there are so many. Jane Withersteen, and Jim Lassiter struggling against corrupt Morman's was a gasser!

    1. Pip was wonderful! I loved Great Expectations. That was probably my very favorite Charles Dickens story.

      Yes, there are a ton of them in westerns, for sure. We are so lucky to be able to have so many wonderful tales to read and to experience that have been written in the past. Surely a lasting "mark" for those authors!

  5. Of course in: RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE by Zane Grey

  6. You always post such good questions in your so enjoyable blogs. I had to think for a moment, Cheryl, because several unforgettable books popped into my mind, and as much as I was hooked on GWTW, Sweet Savage Love and Ashes in the wind, I quickly realized Angelique remains my favorite heroine and stories. Her adventures from France to the New World, and the man who claimed her heart. Hooked on Prry Mason when it came to tv, I read all the books as well and Della Street inspired me to become a legal secretary. From my books, Chase and Sara are special because it was my first published book, but in the second book, it was Mike who stole the limelight. I loved his big heart and teasing personality.

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth, I'm so glad you came by and enjoyed this. Oh, yes, all those books you mentioned were so wonderful--GWTW, I read in 7th or 8th grade--loved it, and had a friend the same age who was reading it, too! What luck! Someone to talk with about it! LOL Sweet Savage Love was my very first romance I ever read and as soon as I finished it I started reading it again. I think I still have about 3 copies of that book. It remains one of my favorite stories ever. Ashes in the Wind was wonderful, too, as are all of Kathleen Woodiwiss's stories. Like you, I loved Perry Mason--what a team--Perry, Della and Paul Drake! NONE BETTER!

      I have really loved and identified with all the characters you've created for your stories, too, Elizabeth. You have a real gift for that! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your very kind comments!

    2. Awww, Cheryl, you've squeezed my heart with your comments. I'm so grateful you love my stories. I'm often finding we share similar things and experiences. Is it possible we were sisters in another lifetime? I'm glad we're friends in this one. And I'm so proud to be part of the Prairie Rose Publications family.

    3. I feel the same, Elizabeth! So glad Jacquie pushed and prodded until you submitted your story, and look at what came of that! Hugs!!! XOXO

  7. Cheryl,

    Challenging question that is difficult to narrow down to a reasonable few.

    My five favorite female fictional characters are Morgan Le Fay (The Mists of Avalon), Eponine (Les Miserables), Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice,) Beatrice (Much Ado About Nothing), and Scheherazade.

    My five favorite male fictional characters are Charlie Allnutt (African Queen), Samwise Gamgee (Lord of the Rings trilogy), Edmund Dantes (Count of Monte Cristo), Matt Keelock (The Keylock Man), and Inspector Javert (Les Miserables).

    Favorite characters I've created: Cale Demarko and Erin Sansone (from an unpublished family saga), Beau Hyatt (from a soon to be republished novel), and Mingo Valderas (The Comanchero's Bride).

    Side note: I have The Fighting Prince of Donegal on VHS. Red Hugh O'Donnell. Because of his story, I developed an affinity for lost causes and last stands.

    1. HA! I KNOW! Especially when you go back to childhood and think about the characters in books you read then, all the way through adulthood, AND the movies/tv shows, etc. That's a LOT of characters to sift through! LOL Oh, yes, I loved Morgan Le Fay in the Mists of Avalon. That was a wonderful book!

      Your Mingo Valderas was such a fantastic mixture of so many qualities--his personality was just electric. I loved THE COMANCHERO'S BRIDE!

      OK, further proof we are twins. I loved The Fighting Prince of Donegal! I even found the book that was adapted from the film. I don't know if I still have it, but for many years it was a prized treasure. That story made such a huge impression on me--Hugh O'Donnell will live forever in our hearts and minds!

      Thanks for stopping by--I know you are mega-busy with "life" things right now. Hugs! XO

  8. Liked the blog! Shared on Facebook and Twitter!
    Scarlet O’Hara! Jo March!

    1. Nina, thanks so much for sharing!

      Scarlett O'Hara has to be one of my all time favorite characters. She's larger than life, in the book and on screen. I can't imagine anyone else "playing the part" of Scarlett other than Vivian Leigh. And Jo March--another favorite! Wouldn't it be great to write a character that was remembered as universally as either of these two? Maybe we still have time! LOL

  9. My favorite fictional character is Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice). She was a woman ahead of her time.

    Of the characters I have created, my favorite is Inga Stryker. She gave up family time and her personal comfort to help to win the right to vote for women.

    1. Ann, I loved Elizabeth Bennett too. Pride and Prejudice was SUCH a good book, as evidenced by the many times it's been re-done as a movie--there is a universal appeal.

      I've really enjoyed reading about the Stykers and the different paths they are taking. You built quite a world with them!

  10. My favorite fictional character has to be Zane Grey's Arizona Ames. My father collected Grey's books and I started reading them when I was 12. Arizona Ames was the first one he gave me and still, to me, he's the very essence of the Western hero.

    As far as characters I've created, I fell so in love with the Donovan family of my first book, I've just had to keep writing about them. There are new minor characters in each book, and each has a different focal family member, but I somehow doubt I'll ever get tired of them.

    1. P.S. I love Irish music and one of my favorite songs is "O'Donnell Abu!". I've learned the first 2 verses, but the third one won't stick yet. I'll get it down one of these days, then move on to verse 4 about "dauntless Red Hugh."