Character study, Sean McAllister.
It is important to me to know my characters well before I begin putting them in my novels, so I usually write fairly detailed character studies before I begin any book. Sometimes my characters change dramatically once I start writing, and occasionally a relatively minor character assumes much greater importance as the book progresses, but I must start with an idea of who he/she is. As with real people, our friends and family, our initial assessment is not always the most accurate one or the one we end up with.
Below is my initial, rather brief biography of my heroine’s father, Sean McAllister, interspersed with changes I made, in blue, as his character developed.
Sayuri’s father. Sixty-two. ( I changed his age to fifty-five. I wanted a still young, virile man)
Widower for sixteen years. I decided that the back story—his improbable romance and marriage to his Japanese business partner’s daughter against her family’s strong disapproval was important enough to be told. It impacted on his daughter in a major way.
Handsome man. Think Sean Connery. Gorgeous physique. Polished but rugged features. Hair showing grey at the temples. Eyes that crinkle at the edges and seem to smile with amusement at life. Confident, but vulnerable, intelligent, athletic, swims, dives, kayaks, self-made more than millionaire. (in the tech industry).
He spend the years, after his wife’s death, raising his daughter until, at twenty-two she goes to Europe to continue her music studies. He dates casually but is never serious about any woman until Alyssa James enters his life. Even then he considers the relationship to be one of convenience more than of love. He believes no one can ever replace his first wife, Sayuri’s mother.
He is on boards of a half dozen charities and arts organizations. Owns major estate in Point Grey (Vancouver) Gated, large stone house. In spite of his wealth and background he is not a snob. He doesn’t care whether Sayuri marries a wealth or a poor man. He wants for her only what he had himself, a marriage based on enduring love.
Below is an excerpt that I believe shows something of the relationship between father and daughter:
Sitting on their usual log, with the kayak pulled up on the beach the next morning, Sayuri plunged in. “I’m seeing someone, Daddy. Someone I care for.”
“That’s wonderful, Baby. Who is he? Someone I know?”
“It’s Michael Donovan.”
“Donovan? Detective Donovan? That police officer who`s investigating the robbery?”
Her father turned to her. His eyebrows rose and his voice sounded, if not exactly shocked, certainly surprised.
“I’ve known him for years, Daddy. He’s a wonderful man. He’s solid and reliable.”
“You make him sound a bit like a used car. Solid and reliable is good. But what about love. Do you love him?”
“That’s just it. I’m not sure. I’m happy when I’m with him. But I don’t know. How did you know with Mother? Or with Alyssa for that matter?”
“With Alyssa it was a simple matter. I was tired of my solitary life and found her charming and witty and a good companion. And you must admit she’s very attractive.”
“Yes. She’s quite lovely.”
He paused and sighed. “With your mother, well, that was different. A man can’t expect to find that kind of happiness more than once in a lifetime. The first time I saw her I felt like I’d been hit with a ton of bricks. She was exquisite. And then as I came to know her, to discover the mind behind all that dazzling beauty, I knew I had to marry her. You know your Grandfather Akatsuko didn’t approve of me as a potential son-in-law at the beginning. He wanted a respectable Japanese husband for his daughter. But my persistence eventually won him over. I couldn’t envision my life without her. We were very happy together.”
“I know, Daddy. Anyone could see that.”
“That’s what I want for you, Baby. Someone you can’t imagine life without. If Michael Donovan is that man, then I’ll be happy for you. Just be sure.”
Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: November 3rd 2012
Publisher: Rebel ink Press
Publisher: Rebel ink Press
A jewel heist…
When renowned concert artist, Sayuri McAllister, returns to the west coast of Canada after an absence of five years, she discovers her family home has been a broken into and jewelry worth two million dollars is missing. Michael Donovan, Sayuri’s old high school flame, now a detective with the Vancouver Police Department, is the officer in charge of the case.
What chance can he have…
Michael takes one look at Sayuri and falls in love with her all over again. But they parted in anger years ago and Sayuri is no longer the innocent girl he once knew. What chance can there be for a Vancouver cop with someone as famous as Sayuri McAllister? Especially when that cop is investigating her family and friends?
An unexpected marriage…
Then Sayuri’s widowed father, Sean, marries Alyssa James, a woman Sayuri has never even met. The three live uneasily together in the Point Grey mansion until the unexpected arrival of Alyssa’s brother, Hugh James, a devastatingly handsome, charming Irishman who immediately begins a campaign to bed and wed the delicious and wealthy Sayuri.
Things take a dangerous turn…
Accidents begin to happen. Or are they accidents? Nothing is as it seems. Michael distrusts Hugh James and fears that Sayuri’s life may be in danger.
As they went down in the elevator and across to the park, Michael spoke to the dog, “So far so good. We’ve got her in my apartment. I expect your full cooperation tonight. Whatever happens you are not to climb on the bed, should I get so lucky, or slobber all over Sayuri. If there’s any slobbering to be done, I’ll do it. Got it, buddy?”
Buttercup wagged her tail furiously, nearly knocking over a passing pedestrian.
Michael thought about how Sayuri had looked when she answered the door. So cool and composed. Delectable. Good enough to eat. Down boy, he reminded himself. Don’t blow it now. You’ve got her this far.
Taking a deep breath he muttered, “Keep it cool.” Then he looked at his dog. “Okay, Buttercup, do your thing so we can get back up there.”
She heard the key in the lock and a moment later man and dog were back in the room. Buttercup trotted over to Sayuri and leaned against her, looking up at her adoringly with one blue and one brown eye.
“That was quick,” Sayuri commented as she scratched the dog behind her ears.
“She was anxious to get back to you. We don’t often have visitors. Actually, I’m surprised at her reaction to you. She usually hides under the bed when there’s anyone she doesn’t know in the apartment.”
“Under the bed? I can’t believe she can get all that bulk under a bed. Just what kind of dog is she? I’ve never seen anything like her. She’s huge. And those eyes are amazing.”
Sayuri moved to the armchair and sat down. Buttercup followed her and put her massive head in Sayuri’s lap.
“Clearly she’s fallen in love with you. The vet thought she was probably half Malamute and half Newfoundland, but I’m pretty sure there’s some wolf in the mixture. And the two different color eyes are unusual, but they do happen, particularly in those breeds.”
“Did you say wolf?”
“Watch.” Michael came over to the dog, knelt down beside her and put his arm around her. He lifted his head back and started to howl. The dog threw her head straight back and joined him. The sound was at one and the same time musical and eerie.
“Wow.” Sayuri stared at the dog. “I haven’t heard anything like that since I was twelve years old and went on a canoeing trip up Desolation Sound with my father. We could hear the wolves from our campsite every night. I loved the sound.”
“Don’t let her howl give you any ideas about Buttercup’s personality. Her wolf genes begin and end with her howl. She’s a complete wimp.”
“She’s a big dog for an apartment dweller.”
“Yes, well, I didn’t exactly choose her. She just sort of happened.” Michael paused. You see, I’m in the R.A.A. Unit.”
“Robbery, Assault, Arson. We got an anonymous call that there was a break and enter in progress at an apartment house on the east side. When my partner and I answered the call, we didn’t find a robbery in progress. What we found was found a room full of people cutting and bagging cocaine. We called immediately for backup, but before it could come, gun fire was exchanged and people got hurt. It wasn’t supposed to have happened that way.”
Michael paused and frowned. Sayuri wondered if he was going to say anything more.
Then he sighed. “When it was all sorted out, as we were to leaving the scene I heard whimpering. I pulled this small scrawny shivering mass of matted fur out from under the bed. I was supposed to take her to the SPCA, but I didn’t. I took her home with me. She couldn’t have been more than two months old and she was half starved and filthy. I fed her and bathed her and the next day I took her to the vet for a checkup. He said there was nothing wrong with her that food and love wouldn’t cure.”
“So you had a dog.”
“I had a dog. I had no idea at the time she was going to grow into a giant hairy mammoth.” This was spoken with obvious affection as he ruffled the dog’s head.
“But her name?”
“Just look at her.”
Sayuri studied the dog. She had fur as thick as a bear’s, only longer. Her underbelly was white and everywhere else she was brown and black and white in large splotches. “I don’t get it.”
“Look under her chin.”
Sayuri laughed. “Of course.” There was a large spot of bright yellow there.
The dog, tired of being the object of so much attention, moved to the fireplace, circled three times and plopped down in front of it.
I started to write soon after I found my first pencil. But I began to write for publication about 30 years ago -- professional books. I wrote six of them, all still in print and still in use. Only lately have I turned to fiction. I'd have done it a lot sooner if I'd had any idea how much fun it was!
I’ve lived in many different places. The US -- Certain cities call to me. I love San Francisco and Seattle and the wonderful Oregon Coast. Australia -- among the most open welcoming people in the world, and a wide open young country with incredible land and seascapes, with amazing animal and bird life right out of science fiction. Canada -- HOME. The place where I belong.
I travel a lot. I usually spend the month of October in Europe, Greece or Italy, and the winter in a little house I built many years ago on a small non-touristy Caribbean Island. I have worked and studied in many places -- Hungary, Australia the US and Canada, and have spoken in most of the States and Provinces as well as Taiwan and various cities in Europe. I enjoy being surrounded by cultures other than my own. I enjoy my own as well -- but variety is indeed the spice of my life.
I keep busy -- and I love my life. I love meeting the people who come here to the west coast of Canada and stay in my B&B. I love traveling after the tourist season is over. And I love writing. My interests?? Music, especially opera, reading everything in print, and Writing. And walking on the beach and swimming. At one point I had hoped to swim in every major sea and ocean. I've realized that may not be possible in one lifetime -- but trying has been fun!
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