How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in your book?

Freud thought every role in a dream was played by the dreamer, and in a way, that’s the way my books are. The emotions the characters feel are mine since I can only write what I feel, and their personal problems are ones I’ve grappled with. In the writing, though, the characters become more than I ever was as they develop in response to the needs of the story. Kate from A Spark of Heavenly Fire is the most like me, maybe because she was the first character I created.

Here are some other authors’ responses to the question about much of themselves are hidden in their characters. The comments are taken from interviews posted at Pat Bertram Introduces . . .


From an interview with A. F. Stewart, Author of Once Upon a Dark and Eerie

I really hope there is very little of me in my characters since many of them tend to be immoral, vicious, bloodthirsty killers, or unwise enough to get themselves into situations where they are maimed or killed. Well, maybe they share my odd sense of humour.

From an interview with Debra Purdy Kong, Author of “The Opposite of Dark”

When I first began writing about Casey several years ago, I think we had more in common than we do now. Like Casey, I wasn’t interested in marriage, I was studying criminology, and my parents were divorced. However, I’ve grown older while Casey’s stayed young so our interests and concerns are quite different. She’s still building her career and attending school, and looking for love. I’ve been there, done that, so I look at her from a different perspective and see almost nothing of myself in her now.

From an interview with Bonnie Toews, Author of “The Consummate Traitor”

There are elements of myself in both heroines, but yet they are stronger than I think I could ever be. The journalist, Lee, lives with my recurring nightmare and my affinity with the Holocaust. I have often said, “I am a Gentile with a Jewish soul.” The pianist, Grace, reflects my more naive, pollyanna side. And yet, the one time I headed into the Rwandan conflict that proved the UN’s promise of “never again” would the world tolerate another genocide to be an outright lie, I went with complete faith, like Grace, that I was protected from harm.

From an interview with J J Dare, Author of False Positive and False World

The aggressive part of my passive/aggressive personality is turned loose in the books. I can let myself go through my characters; I can destroy without regret, lie with a straight face and a cold heart, and generally, get away with murder.

From an interview with Dellani Oakes, Author of Lone Wolf

Matilda is a lot like me in some respects. Her fierce devotion and the way she takes up for those she loves is totally me. Oddly enough, some of the aspects of Wil’s personality come from me as well. Mostly, he and Marc mirror aspects of my husband’s personality.

So, how much of yourself is hidden in the characters in your book?

(If you’d like me to interview you, please check out my author questionnaire and follow the instruction.)

5 Responses to “How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in your book?”

  1. TheOthers1 Says:

    Some a lot and others just a little. I don’t think you can get away with not having any part of yourself in your characters. Well, I can’t at least.

  2. Rod Marsden Says:

    The more feisty females that turn up in my books and short stories are based on women I have known. Some of the men are reflections of me either in terms of what I am like, what I was like and what I would wish to be like.

    I agree with what theOthers1 said. You can’t get away without having a part of yourself in your characters even if that part is only an observer. A character that has no connection whatsoever to our world and our existence would be a very dull character indeed.

    The most endearing and memorable of the Greek gods is Hercules. Why? He’s part human and therefore can be put up against the problems we mere mortals continually face.

  3. Book Bits #153 – ‘The Starboard Sea,’ Top Romances, Philippa Gregory, Scriptwriting and other tips | Malcolm's Book Bits and Notions Says:

    […] Ideas: How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in your book? by Pat Bertram – “Freud thought every role in a dream was played by the dreamer, and in […]

  4. Psychic Witness Says:

    I know that some of my likes and dislikes sneak their way into my stories. I try to keep that to a minimum. I also make a point of giving them interests and tastes that aren’t mine. I don’t want to make my main character *too* much like me!

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