A lot of my characters are derived from my previous experiences and perspective. The rest comes from the characters themselves. To be an author, you need to embrace an outside-the-box attitude. Not everything is logical. Sometimes you hear voices in your head, and it doesn't mean you have a mental health condition. Although you might. There is a proposed correlation between creativity and mental illness. Studies have shown that mental health conditions, like bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder, are significantly more common among artists (Kyaga, Simon; Landén, Mikael; Boman, Marcus; Hultman, Christina M.; Långström, Niklas; Lichtenstein, Paul (January 2013). "Mental illness, suicide and creativity: 40-year prospective total population study". Journal of Psychiatric Research. 47 (1): 83–90.). So, whether I can attribute the voices in my head to a creative muse or a mental illness, I listen to those voices. They are my characters. They are an expression of myself.
Kurtis Warde from A Wizard's Choice was a difficult character to write. Mostly because we had a disagreement over his use of coarse language. I don't really swear. I don't suppress the urge; I just don't want to say "bad" words. Perhaps connected to my upbringing as a "good girl" or the great variety of other words at our disposal. Language is a form of self-expression so I won't judge your choices, but there are some words and phrases that may garner a tsk-tsk from me though...
Kurtis was very angry. His anger came from a deep-rooted place, and he needed to express himself loudly, coarsely, without reserve. So, I let him. I let him get everything out. His emotion poured from him like water from a faucet.
He squeezed his eyes shut. “My grandfather died yesterday.”
“I’m so sorry, Kurtis. I didn’t realize he was ill.”
“He wasn’t.” Kurtis opened his eyes, staring past Alina. “I killed him.”
She gasped. “What?”
“Well, technically I didn’t. But it’s my fault he’s dead.”
“I’m sure that’s not true.” She placed her hand on his arm. “Whenever a family member hurts, we all suffer from the what-if guilts.”
“It’s a little more complicated than that. The family tree location spell?”
“It led my grandfather’s killers right to him.”
“You can’t blame yourself for this.”
He narrowed his gaze. “Perhaps I blame you?”
“You’re hurting now and looking for something to take that pain away. You came to me. Your grandfather’s death was a tragedy, but not my fault or yours.”
“I don’t know what to do. That lost feeling I had before? Well, it’s nothing compared to the fucking gaping hole I feel now.”
She wrapped her arms around his neck, holding him close. “Don’t keep it in. Scream. Swear. Let it out. I can take it.”