Monday, November 22, 2010

Holidays, Food, and Character Traits

Thanksgiving’s in a few days, for Americans. It’s like the "om nom nom" starter’s pistol for the season that lasts through the beginning of January. This is why I finally joined a gym.

I’m a pretty good cook, and I like working in the kitchen. I’ve been saying for years that the first Thanksgiving after my maternal grandmother passed, her spirit touched my hands and gave me her gravy-making skills. Watching that smooth, rich, brown gravy come together exactly as planned was a beautiful moment.

Some of my characters are good cooks. In my first (trunked awaiting rewrite) book, the horror plot was relieved by lots of good cooking. In my Falcone and Driscoll series, not as much, although I do manage to work in how to make homemade Sicilian pizza.

Other hobbies of mine, like knitting and playing musical instruments, aren’t as universal as cooking and eating. After all, Patricia Wentworth created the best detective-who-knits in Miss Silver. Is there a musician detective? I don’t recall one.

I’ve learned a few things as my characters have informed me of their talents and quirks. I know the techniques of cello playing, how to research someone’s ancestry, online RPGs, navel piercing, and all-natural foods.

Have you ever been so interested in a book’s MC that you wanted to learn to do what they do? In my own case, I got so irritated at Miss Silver’s continual “knitting in the Continental manner” that I taught myself that method. (I knit a lot faster now, and two-color knitting is a breeze.) Have you ever researched something for a book and ended up incorporating the skill into your real life?

I’ll be happy to share my recipes with anyone. And then we can head to the gym together.

10 comments:

Lois Winston said...

Alice, people have been asking me if you can really kill someone with a glue gun. I hope none of my readers get it in their mind to dabble dastardly with a glue gun thanks to my book!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I think it's fun to discover what characters do in their spare time--when they're not solving mysteries and saving the world!

Vicki Doudera said...

I love the fact that I can learn anything I want and then use that info for a character. Just finished an architecture course.. hmmmm......

On the knitting front, is the continental method really faster?

Darrell James said...

Alice- I think I agree with Vicki on this one. I like researching whatever I need to create the character I'm going for.

Though, my characters do tend to wind up in abadoned warehouses an aweful lot. Maybe because I've been in a few.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Have I ever researched something for a book and ended up incorporating the skill into my real life?

Ummmmm, yes. And I'm leaving it at that.

Alice Loweecey said...

Lois, just smile knowingly and dodge the question when they ask!

Vicki, it is. I love that method.

I just learned all about the Danish resistance in WW2 for my next book. Fascinating!

Beth Groundwater said...

Oh, Sue Ann, inquiring minds want to know! ;-)

I tend to give my characters skills/hobbies that I already enjoy like skiing, making gift baskets, and whitewater rafting. New skills/hobbies that I've researched for my mysteries include fly fishing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling, and of those, I think I would most enjoy snowshoeing. It's a lot like hiking, but done in the winter.

Alice Loweecey said...

Brrr.

I want to make my characters learn skills that need warm-weather research, like surfing in Hawai'i. Although one desire of my life is to see the Northern Lights, and you pretty much have to bunk in Snow Country to see 'em.

Kathleen Ernst said...

Learning something new is a big plus for.me! Maybe you can teach me the continental method...

Kathleen Ernst said...
This comment has been removed by the author.