Monday, December 31, 2012

Meet Louise, the Two-Faced Villain in "The Deception"

Photo by Fotolia
We've all known people like this, haven't we? People who are sweet as pie to your face and pretend to be your best friend when, in reality, they have their own agenda, and their only interest is in using you. With friends like that who needs an enemy, right? Meet Louise Dickenson, one of the antagonists in The Deception. Louise is more than happy to be your friend, provided you have something of benefit to her, which makes her such a great antagonist. She's the kind of woman we all love to hate.

Louise is a semi-retired commercial photographer. Years before, she was the photographer who shot all the print ads of Carrie, the leading lady, when she was a child model. The two forged a friendship, or so Carrie believed. Later on, when Carrie became a commercial photographer herself, Louise mentored her.

Louise is now an art photographer. She has a show coming up at a local art gallery, and she's also picked up a private commission for a series of photos of a female nude to display in a private home. Louise plans on including the nude photos in her upcoming show as well, but first she needs a model. Knowing  Carrie is down on her luck, Louise decides to help her by offering her a well paying modeling gig, but when Carrie hesitates, Louise skillfully calms her fears by convincing Carrie that she really is trying to help her. Finally, Carrie accepts, but the experience leaves her feeling manipulated and exploited, and as events unfold, she'll discover that Louise was never her friend.

Louise is a fictitious character, but she's loosely based on a family member who was also a master manipulator.

MM

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blame It On Too Many Soap Operas and My Misspent Youth

© Can Stock Photo / ginosphotos
Sometimes people ask me what motivated me to become an author, or why I write contemporary romance. Well, blame it on my misspent youth, because for many, many years, I was a soap opera junkie. It started when I was in about the sixth grade, and it lasted through high school and college, and into adulthood. I can even blame it on my mother too. Instead of telling me to go do something more productive with my time, she got me started on her soaps.

I used to schedule my college classes around my soaps. (Yes, there actually was a time when we weren't able to stream.) Having my first VCR was a truly liberating experience. I could have a life since I could now tape my soaps and watch them at my convenience, and I taped my favorite soap everyday for years.

So, what was it about soap operas that was so compelling?  According to my old high school drama teacher, soap operas were real life, exaggerated. Back in the day, when soap operas relied on classic plot lines, such as extra-marital affairs, illegitimate children, and long-lost family members, viewers could make a connection because they were believable stories.

The other thing that made the soaps so compelling was, I believe, the characters. I never watched the now defunt All My Children, but I certainly know who Erica Kane was. Another unforgettable soap character, and one of my all-time favorites, was Dr. Marlena Evans on Days of our Lives. Having two great actresses, Susan Lucci and Deidre Hall, play those parts certainly helped, but behind those two talented actresses were talented writers who helped transform these fictitious characters into believable, three-dimensional people.

So, looking back, that was my inspiration. I too strive to create believable, three-dimensional characters such Ian Palmer, Gillian Matthews, Carrie Daniels and Alex Montoya, just to name a few. I also work hard to create believable stories, with plot lines similar to soap operas. My stories are about characters who get involved with the wrong people, long-lost lovers who are reunited, and people who are betrayed by the ones they trust the most. In other words, real life, somewhat exaggerated.

MM