Thursday, August 18, 2011

Character Closeup: Kiara

This is the first of what I hope will prove to be a fun little series of posts.  I think most authors probably keep a running note sheet along with their novels.  For me, the first page of any note sheet is a list of characters and descriptions.  I try to boil the characters down to a a few core words or ideas that I can play off of, maybe a quirk or two, and any identifying features.

When I put it that way, it sort of sounds like a rap sheet.

One of the things I wanted to do on here is talk about the characters and sort of muse on my ideas behind them.  I've gotten some good feedback on my first novel already, and one of the main themes to the reviews seems to be that readers relate to my characters.  If there is a #1 thing that I wanted to succeed at in writing a novel, it was to have characters people remember and care about.  Characters are the top reason I continue to read books (especially a series), and I think that is reflected in my writing.  Thus, it seemed a pretty simple idea to give each of these characters a "closeup" on here.  I'll try to keep these brief and spoiler-free.  Also, if anyone has questions pertaining to the characters, feel free to leave 'em in the comments and I'll keep going.

I wanted to lead off with Kiara Nakatomi.  The Binder's Daughter is told from the perspective of Michael Allen, a vampire.  Kiara, then, is the female lead and main romantic interest.  She has an athletic physique, with long, jet black hair, olive skin, and green eyes (the left has a birthmark on it).  She's not very tall, somewhere around 5'6".  Despite her name, her features hint at a more Mediterranean/Russian origin than asian.  She lives in Hebron, IN with her adoptive father Keisuke and works as a waitress at their small sushi shop.

My concept of Kiara's character traits was based firmly on my wife.  I've mentioned before that when I started writing the book, I kept my intended audience extremely focused to my wife and my little sister.  Thus, it is no surprise that I went this route with one of the leads.

I wanted to write a strong female that does as much saving as being saved.  I firmly believe that any healthy relationship has to be balanced.  I know we romanticize the whole damsel in distress thing, but in real life, a good partnership sees both members in the role of savior from time to time.  With this in mind, I had to make Kiara strong enough to stand up to Michael, to be a true partner.

Her physical attributes are pretty similar to my wife's.  I darkened the hair (from dark brown) and emphasized the olive skin tint (my wife makes me look quite pale, and she's of Russian descent).  The distinctive marking on Kiara's left eye, the mark on the iris, is actually something my wife has as well on her green eyes.  Similar to Michael, this was one of the first of her unique traits that I really fell in love with.  It also gave me a built-in way for Michael to recognize Kiara in any situation (which is sort of important).  Also, needless to say, they're eyes I know well (write what you know and all that).

Kiara is certainly a dynamic character.  Early on, she is a bit reclusive, even standoffish.  I think it's clear that she's a caring person, she's just been hiding who she really is most of her life.  Trust and showing her true colors are things she really needs to work at.

As we read, Kiara gets more playful and open.  I try to play off her quirkiness a bit in how she interacts with Matthias.  They've both experienced similar feelings of being the odd duck.  Near the end, we see a bit of Kiara's rash, wild nature.  She tends to let emotion guide her actions, not in a weepy way, but more in an attempt to be heroic.  She's a take-the-bull-by-the-horns type of gal who certainly doesn't want to sit around while those close to her suffer.

I hope to continue to grow her character in the next book in the series.  It'll be the first time that she really is the driver in her own life (having left that up to Keisuke until now).  I'm anxious to see what she'll do.  I think she regrets having skipped out on college after high school.  That may factor heavily in the next book.

I purposefully avoided some of the spoilers with Kiara, but feel free to ask anything in the comments (even the things that I avoided).  If you're a potential reader that doesn't want anything revealed, steer clear of the comments :-). 

I'll try to touch on each of the other main characters in the upcoming weeks.  Feel free to email me with questions or suggestions ahead of time if you'd like.  I'll try to cover it in the post.


Nadja Notariani said...

Hi Matt! Hope your week is moving along well. I really enjoyed getting an introduction to Kiara in this post. This was a great idea! It encouraged my interest in the story.

I'm glad to hear you are getting positive feedback on your novel. That's fantastic! It's got to have you all 'over-the-moon'.

I'm dull this week...very dull. I simply eat, breathe, read, and edit. I love my novel (really I do), I adore my characters (even the rotten ones), but I will be glad when I'm finished editing. All I do is sit, consider/ponder/decide/ type, and read, and yet I'm exhausted. My brain doesn't want to make any more decisions! Ha!

Take care~ Nadja

Anonymous said...

What a great idea, Matt. Like Nadja says, you've whetted my appetite to read the book.

Congrats on the good feedback--that must feel absolutely wonderful.

I'm still emotionally challenged from dropping DS2 at college, so I can't think of any questions I want to ask that wouldn't be spoilers, and I want to read the book, so... But I am looking forward to more posts!

Matt said...

Thanks ladies! I was trying to think of something that would both appeal to writers (whom I love to chat with about writerly things) and readers alike. This seemed a great common-ground. It also works well as promotion without feeling like promotion (which I hate trying to "sell" someone).

As for the feedback... I guess it always finds me in a state of semi-shock. It's like, I tried really hard to do certain things, but as the author I always feel like I could have done better. Hence why chatting with writers is great, because you learn very early on that this is pretty common and why we can't really evaluate our own stuff. It's shocking, then, when I find out it actually worked. :-)

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