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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Guest Post!! Heather Manning, Author of Swept to Sea

I'm super excited to have Heather Manning on the blog today. This talented young lady is only 17, and she's already published her first novel. This talented young author has interviewed with us in the past, and now we're letting her take over the blog. Be sure to check out her debut novel, Swept to Sea!
Swept to Sea by Heather Manning
Genre: Adult Fiction (Inspirational Historical Fiction)
Date Published: November 25, 2013
Publisher: Astrea Press

Lady Eden Trenton never wanted to leave her privileged existence in London—until her father invites a dangerous suitor into her life. Left with few options, Eden devises the best reprieve she can: escape. Chasing freedom, she stows away aboard a pirate ship, praying she will gain her independence in the colonies before she is discovered by the nefarious crew.

Captain Caspian Archer has spent the last five years hardening his heart and searching to exact revenge for the event that tore his life to shreds. When he catches word that his enemy is residing in Jamaica, Caspian steers his ship toward the colonies in all haste. His plans soon change, however, when he discovers the young beauty hiding in his ship’s hold. 

Cut from the only lives they have known, Caspian and Eden are pulled together as each pursues a fresh hope upon the sea. 

The Making of a Character

As a reader, one of my favorite things is strongly developed characters. Likewise, as a writer, it is very important for me to fully round out my characters. Sometimes, characters can be kind of scary to write. Where on earth do you begin? How do you make them unique? What should they be like?

Typically, I develop my characters before beginning a story. I then build the plot of the story around where I want them to go and how I want them to change over the duration of the book. To build my characters, I typically start with a name, an age, and an appearance. These don’t have to be set in stone. Originally, my main character, Eden, was named “Nicole” for a few drafts. The name just didn’t fit so I searched for a fresh one. After deciding the basics, I will further develop my characters’ personalities. Do they have any defining characteristics? What do they do when they’re nervous, angry, or sad? I decide the answers to all of these and then move on. I also write their life history—what made them who they are today? My character Eden is skittish around men, and rightly so. Her fiancĂ© was very abusive. Characters’ pasts play a big part in their attitude an interaction with others. After a while, I will have a full character profile created. I save each one (for major characters) in their own document, along with a photo of a model or actor whom my character looks like. This way I can pull up these files very quickly if I have a question about how my character looks or acts.

Another way I develop characters is by finding interview questions and asking my characters these. I fill these in, answering as if I were my character. This really helps me get into these pesky creature’s heads. I file these away on my computer. Also, I will take some online personality quizzes and answer as my character. After determining my character’s personality type, I research that particular type and see the different quirks those people have and how they respond to situations. Another method I have used is my actual audience. I will post a little blurb about my characters on my blog one week, and ask my readers to leave questions for the characters. Then, I will have the characters answer these in the next week’s post. This is really nice because the questions are unique and I have to answer them. Plus, they get to interact with my readers.

All of these methods seem to help me create my characters.

As a reader, does this process sound interesting to you? Do you enjoy developing characters?
What is your favorite part about the process?

Thank you for having me today.
Heather Manning is a young lady who loves to read—and write. She has won multiple competitions for her writing with “Nextgen Writers” and placed first in some writing contests with the “Go Teen Writers” blog and is a proud member of ACFW. She lives in Missouri where she attends high school, acts in community theatre, eats donuts and reads every Inspirational Historical Romance she can get her hands on.

To learn more about Heather Manning and her books, visit her blog.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.


  1. Great book, I would definitely read it again.

  2. Great advice, Heather! I have created profiles for my characters, but taking personality quizzes as them is genius! :)

  3. Thanks, ladies! Jackie, I am thrilled you enjoyed it, and Sarah, I'm glad it helped!


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