Sunday, December 30, 2012

Charles Dougherty's Interesting Characters

Today Charles Dougherty, author of the Bluewater Thrillers, talks about the interesting people who inhabit his fictional bluewater world.
At Amazon

Your characters seem very real and the sort of people you might meet in the islands. Do you know or have you met the characters in your books?
The characters in my fiction books are composites.  Their personalities and physical traits are always borrowed from real-life people, but none of them are real people.  I’ve always been a people-watcher, and when I see or hear something interesting, I often imagine having a character say, do, or look like whatever caught my attention.  It’s fun to mix and match behavior and appearance.  The character Sharktooth, for example takes his physical appearance from a gentle giant that I know.  His Rastafarian beliefs and lack of adherence to them come from another friend who is a commercial fisherman.  The controlled violence in his personality is drawn from yet another acquaintance, a former bodyguard for a deposed dictator down here.  His bald head above dreadlocks and his wry sense of humor belong to another water-taxi driver down island.
Who would you like to play your main characters in a movie?
I never know how to answer that question, because I’m completely out of touch with movies.  When we’re visiting back in the states, we sometimes watch DVDs, but I have no idea who the actors are.  I could pick some of the people that I’ve encountered in real-life, but their names wouldn’t’ mean anything.
Would you like to live next door/next berth to your characters? Why or why not?
That could be fun.  Most of them would make pretty good neighbors, if you overlook their quirks.  The villains, of course, are another matter.
At Amazon
Which of your characters would you least like to meet in a dark alley?
Mike Reilly, from Bluewater Killer.  He’s the scariest one to me, because in some ways he’s so normal, yet he’s completely unpredictable.  He’s provoked to violence by things that most people never even consider.  While some of the other characters may be more consistently dangerous, they’re easier to understand.
How do you determine your character’s flaws?
I try to develop characters that have the same basic elements of personality that all of us have.  I think that we have character flaws that are a result of adapting our behavior to accommodate to our experience.  That leads to certain traits being emphasized at the expense of others.  What may be a character flaw in one situation may have been a strength in a former encounter.  In the case of a villain, I often don’t spend much time delving into the causes of character flaws; the villian’s job is just to be bad, unless the villian is the focus of the story.  Significant characters need to have flaws consistent with their personalities and backgrounds, and I think the flaws should be exaggerations of traits that exist in all of us.
Would your main character make a good roommate? Why or why not?
I think Dani Berger would make a fine roommate for the right person.  She’s loyal, hard-working, and intense, but she does have a violent temper and the skills to make her dangerous when she’s provoked.  She and Liz Chirac seem to get along fine; Liz’s cool head balances Dani’s temper.
Which characteristic do you consider most important in your main character?  She’s believable, at least to most people.
Thanks for hosting me, and have a great 2013.
Sailing blog about life afloat:
Books for Sailors and Dreamers (Non-fiction) :
The Bluewater Thrillers :



Ellis Vidler said...

Charles, I'm reading Bluewater Killer now and can't wait to get back to it. Your characters are so interesting and believable, I feel like I could step onto one of the islands and come face-to-face with any of them.

Thanks for being here. I've enjoyed getting to know you and your books.
Happy 2013!

Leslie Ann aka LA said...

Hi Charles,
Late readling all this, but fascinated from word one. I assume that living on a boat might be similar to living full time in an RV? Everything in it's place or chaos reigns?

The bit about your fingers and the anchor chains completely scared the ... out of me. I play piano, so I felt every second as I read the passage.

And I really liked the comment you made about developing a character, and flaws. Flaw in one situation, strength in another. That will stick with me.

Best of luck to you. Can't wait to read your books.

~Leslie Ann