While I was reading Sparkle Abbey’s recent blog post about how real her characters in their Pampered Pets Mystery series, I laughed and sympathized with the authors who are clearly suffering from C.A.R.D. – Character / Author Reality Disorder. Most authors I know suffer from this. We invest a lot of time in these people and we go through a lot together. Of course it’s only natural that they start to take on a life, even if it’s only a virtual life, of their own. Sparkle Abbey described their characters as the best (fictional) friends a girl could have. But what happens when you don’t like one of your characters? It’s possible that I created a character to be an excellent villain and now they… Just. Won’t. Die.
The third novel in my Carrie Mae Mystery series High-Caliber Concealer (on sale November 17 – available for pre-order now!) brings back all the girls. Nikki, the heroine, and linguistics major, with a nagging mother who tries to keep her job as an independent espionage agent for Carrie Mae a secret from her CIA Agent boyfriend. Jenny, the bombshell blonde with a beauty pageant history and a love of firearms. Ellen, the grandmother of two, and well-trained sniper. And Jane, the geeky Intelligence Analyst who keeps the team up to speed, but fails at keeping them politically correct. But at the very end of the book, I also bring back a character that’s been kicking around for two books now insisting on getting more “screen” time, and of course, that segued right into book four – Glossed Cause. And I have this thought: Oh, now I remember why killed you. It’s because you are SO ANNOYING.
Is it ok to fight with your characters? Just punch them in their virtual face a little bit? Or do I need to check myself into the library and get a stiff dose of non-fiction to combat the raging C.A.R.D. outbreak I’m clearly suffering from?