In November, I wrote a blog post for my friend, Nicole Givens Kurtz's newsletter (which you should totally sign up for HERE
and get a free book) about the return of Sheriff Tom Myers in my new series, In The Wind
and how the character evolved and stuck around after his initial appearance in Evil Ways
and Deadly Games!
years ago. I also explain how it all ties into my Snow
series as well.
Sometimes it is a pain when characters won't leave. Then, there are times when it turns out to be the best thing ever. I'd say Tom Myers' constant pestering me to give him his own story falls in the latter category. Lucky for me the character was too stubborn to go away quietly.
Below is the blog post in its entirety and Nicole's intro from her newsletter
. Big thanks to her for asking me to write this post.
In the Author Spotlight, we have the talented Bobby Nash. Bobby Nash is renowned award-winning novelists, prolific short story writer, and all around good human being. Check out his writing advice in the Spotlight.
When Characters Won't Leave
by Bobby Nash
Don’t you just hate it when guests don’t know when to leave?
I’ve had this same issue crop up with characters before and why not, eh? I mean, when I create and write characters, they become real to me. Sometimes too real. Eventually, they stop listening to me until finally, they start telling me what they’re going to do.
As a writer, this is a great thing.
It’s also a pain in the butt.
When my characters become real, they have character traits, foibles, and personalities just like real people. At the best of times, those character traits will elevate the story and gives those characters that added oomph! (that’s a technical term) that helps the reader connect to them. Have you ever fallen in love with a fictional character? I know I have. This is why.
Way back in the previous century, sometime in the late 1990’s, I was writing what would become my first published novel. It was called Evil Ways
(Shameless plug #1: you can still find Evil Ways at your favorite on-line retailer). Evil Ways is a mix of thriller, mystery, and horror. I once described the book as “imagine if Die Hard’s John McClane found himself in a horror movie setting.” Sounds fun, right?
Evil Ways stars FBI Agent Harold Palmer and his brother, small-town newspaper reporter/owner Franklin Palmer (Shameless plug #2: Evil Intent
is coming in 2021. It is also currently being released as a serialized novel at www.patreon.com/bobbynash). The brothers are on the trail of a killer while reconnected after many years apart.
As a newbie novelist (I had already been published with comic books and short stories), I set about creating a fictional town and county called Sommersville, Georgia (before I realized there was a real Summerville, Georgia. Oops!). The action took place in this fictional county. I needed a local cop to interact with the Palmer brothers and that was the first time I met Sommersville Sheriff Tom Myers and his deputies, Benjamin Dooley and Christopher Jackson. They were important to the story, but were not the main characters. As luck would have it, they all survived the novel, although not unscathed as I had put them through the wringer.
In all honesty, I never planned to write these characters or fictional county again.
What did I know, huh?
My next novel was called Deadly Games!
It features new characters - Atlanta PD Detective John Bartlett and photojournalist Benjamin West. Together, these two captured a madman six years earlier. He was convicted and sent to prison. Now, six years later, he enacts his revenge. (Shameless plug #3: you can still find Deadly Games! at your favorite on-line retailer). Part of the story takes place in a rural area.
A lightbulb went off that reminded me of this fictional town I put a lot of time into created. So, being the smart (or lazy) writer that I am, I set part of the action in Sommersville. There was no plan to bring in the sheriff’s department though.
Until the story demanded it.
Tom Myers returned with deputies Dooley and Jackson, which made Deadly Games! a kinda/sorta sequel to Evil Ways. I even made mention to the events as a reminder for the readers.
Since then, the character of Tom Myers has kept tapping on the back of my brain, reminding me that he’s ready to return whenever I need him. He will make a small appearance in 2021’s Evil Intent, by the way.
When I was looking for a companion piece to my Snow
series (Shameless plug #4: all of the Snow books are still on sale and more are on the way. Visit www.abrahamsnow.com for more). Snow grew up in Sommersville County, which is something I originally threw in as an easter egg for longtime readers, but it was all part of Tom Myers’ plan to make a big comeback.
I shouldn’t have been surprised when a story idea hit me that would be perfect for Myers and his team. That’s when In The Wind – A Tom Myers Mystery
was born. Not only had this character refused to go away, he is now headlining his own series and has solidified the Sommersville Saga and the BEN Books
Not bad for a one-off character, huh?
The lesson here is to never assume that anything is one and done when it comes to writing. Your characters might just surprise you and demand more time in the spotlight. Tom Myers certainly did. As a matter of fact, he’s not the only character to do that. Remind me to tell you about Lance Star one of these days (Shameless plug #5: all of the Lance Star: Sky Ranger
books are still on sale at your favorite retailer. Visit http://lancestar.blogspot.com
for more).In The Wind
is the first book in the Tom Myers Mystery
series published by BEN Books (www.ben-books.com
). It is available in paperback, ebook, and audio book. Read it FREE with your Kindle Unlimited subscription. Look for book 2 in early 2021.
Somewhere in the wilds of Sommersville, GA
Bobby Nash is not a man of action, a detective, or a hero, but he loves to write about characters who are those things and more. Bobby is an award-winning author of novels, comic books, short stories, screenplays, and more. He is a member of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers and International Thriller Writers. On occasion, he appears in movies and TV shows, usually standing behind your favorite actor. Sometimes, he puts pen to paper and doodles. For more information on Bobby Nash and his work, please visit him at www.bobbynash.com, www.ben-books.com, and across social media.