Friday, 16 November 2012

On Character Studies - Michael Donovan

We all use different approaches in writing. What works for one author doesn’t necessarily work for another. For me it is vitally important to know the people about whom I’m writing before I put the first lines of any story to paper.
That’s not to say that characters never change during the course of a story. Often the story is about the change in a particular character from the beginning of the novel to the end. But it’s important to make the need for this change evident to the reader. It’s necessary to establish firmly who the character is at the beginning before showing the gradual changes to that character.
Having said that, the hero in Sonata Michael Donovan, is not a character who changes much in the course on the book. He starts out a decent, intelligent, lovable guy, and he ends up a decent, intelligent, lovable guy. But through those absolutely consistent character traits, he causes change to those around him.
Here is the character study I wrote on my hero, Michael Donovan, in my new novel, Sonata.

Clint Eastwood as Michael Donovan
lMichael Donovan—hero.  Thirty-one. A detective with the Vancouver police. Father and grandfather were policemen. Good looking in a hard tough way. Lots of muscles. Tall, capable, all business. Serious about his work. Appearance—think the young Clint Eastwood. Muscles like iron. Broad shoulders, slim waist, taut abdomen. Sandy hair that defies taming even though kept short, sharp green eyes, rugged face. Not handsome, but certainly attractive and very masculine. Off duty dresses very casually. Jeans, running shoes, etc. Former hockey-jock. 

Michael’s hobby is cooking. He worked his way through university in restaurant kitchens, and took courses at the Vancouver Culinary Arts School. Michael’s cooking ability plays an important part in his seduction of Sayuri McAlister’s (my Japanese-Canadian heroine, a professional cellist).

He was Sayuri’s sweetheart in high school, where she was two years below him.  Their relationship ended badly when his adolescent hormones too obviously reacted to the twelfth grade femme fatal. They haven’t seen each other since-- (twelve years ago). They reconnect when he is assigned to investigate a break-in at Sayuri’s father’s house just as Sayuri returns home from Paris.

 On his off-work hours Michael works on a sailboat that he keeps moored at Secret Cove. He whistles melodiously as he works. Picks up melodies he hears Sayuri practicing. He has a huge dog named Buttercup, a Malamute, St. Bernard, wolf cross, who is afraid of her own shadow. He rescued her, a shivering, malnourished puppy, in the course of a drug bust. 

 Michael has an efficiency apartment in Vancouver on Sixth and Granville, and a small house in Secret Cove on the Sunshine Coast that he inherited from his grandparents, while Sayuri, the woman he loves, comes from a different world. Her father owns a major tech company (think Blackberry) and she lives in a mansion in Point Grey. The difference in their financial and social status looms large in Michael’s eyes. He sees it as an insurmountable problem. Furthermore everyone in the McAllister household, including Sayuri’s father and his new fiancĂ© and the couple who have worked for them for years and raised Sayuri after her mother’s death, must be considered a suspect in a multi-million dollar jewelry robbery that appears to have been an inside job.
How can Michael hope to win Sayuri in the face of these obstacles?

Below is a short excerpt.  Michael has just persuaded Sayuri to have dinner with him.

Sayuri McAllister
Michael stopped the car before a gate to the underground parking garage of a high-rise condo building on Fourth Avenue. The gate swung up in response to his keycard.
“Where are we? I thought you were taking me to dinner.”
“I am. I’m taking you to dinner at my place.”
“I see. I suppose that’s all right, as long as you don’t think that I’m on the menu.”
Michael burst out laughing. “I wouldn’t presume…”
Sayuri laughed with him. “You can’t have changed that much Michael. Of course you’d presume if you thought you could get away with it. And I hope you can cook, because I certainly can’t.”
“Cooking is among my many and varied talents. You’ll never have to cook if you just stick with me.”
“That’s a very good thing, because if our survival depended on my cooking we’d starve. When other girls…”
“And boys,” Michael interjected.
“When other girls and boys were learning how to cook, I was practicing cello.”
Michael pulled his car into a numbered parking space and came around to Sayuri’s side of the car to open the door for her.
“Mmm. A man who can cook and who helps his dinner companion out of the car. Are you sure you’re for real, Michael Donavan?”

COMING NOVEMBER 2012 -- The latest romantic thriller from Blair McDowell.

SONATA is the story of the beautiful and talented Sayuri McAllister who returns to her home in Vancouver after a five year absence to discover her father’s house has been broken into and much of her deceased mother’s valuable jewelry is missing. Michael Donovan, Sayuri’s old high school flame and now a detective with the Vancouver Police Department, is the officer in charge of the case. To her surprise Sayuri feels a great attraction for him even after all these years. Does Michael feel the same way? Shortly after the robbery, Sayuri’s father marries Alyssa James, a woman Sayuri had never met and to her surprise the mansion is soon also home to Alyssa’s brother. Hugh James is a devastatingly handsome Irishman who immediately begins a campaign to bed and wed the delicious and wealthy Sayuri. 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.

Purchase Blair McDowell's books today by clicking on the covers below.  You can then select the vendor of your choice.

The Memory of Roses Delighting In Your Company;   Sonata by Blair McDowell
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Blair McDowell