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How I Create my Characters

Photo by Gayle Martin
And are they based on real people?

When I tell people I write contemporary romance novels they’re genuinely curious about what I do. They ask a lot of questions such as, are my books a series? No, they are not. Are my characters based on real people? Sometimes. Ian and Gillian in The Reunion are loosely based on people I’ve known.

Gillian in particular is based on someone I know really well. Me. I really was an art major in college. Some of my work has been in juried art shows. I also thought about buying an art gallery, but couldn’t get the funding. I’ll never know for certain what my life may have been had I made different choices, but Gillian was a wonderful opportunity to play what if.

Ian was loosely based on an old college boyfriend. I incorporated some of his positive traits into Ian, such as his desire to succeed. However, none of us are perfect. My old boyfriend certainly had his faults too, but most of those characteristics were not part of Ian. Oddly enough, I later found some of his negative traits in antagonists in other stories, although I didn’t realize it at the time. Funny how our minds work.

Whether inspired from a real-life person or not, each character is fictitious and unique individual. I must be doing a good job as I’ve had some interesting feedback from readers. Some truly hated my villians and were glad to see them get their comeuppance. Others shared their frustrations over the protagonists making bad decisions. My all time favorite, however, came from my proofreader, who was reading The Reunion in her apartment complex laundry room. She said one of the antagonists, Ryan Knight, made her so mad she started cursing him out. Then she looked up and noticed other people were giving her strange looks. Her story was the highest compliment anyone could ever give me.

Marina Martindale


The Reunion is available on Amazon and

Posted in Characters, Inspiration, Writing