CREATING DYNAMIC BACKSTORY
BY PATRICIA ROSEMOOR
While backstory isn’t something that should a large part of a novel, it’s one of the most important things I need to figure out for my characters. A dynamic backstory gives a character a dynamic front story, usually because she or he has something to overcome or prove or atone for.
Years ago, after I’d written several Intrigues, I tried to figure out why I liked some of them but loved others. My analysis of my own work told me that it had to do with the character’s backstories. For me, the more the characters suffered emotionally in the past, the more engaging their story in the present. So one of the things I always do is figure out who my characters are before starting to write. I’m not talking about looks or jobs—though I need to know those, too. I create something that happened in the past that makes my characters who they are or gives them a goal as my story unfolds.
“Clive should be here for this,” her mother said wistfully. “After losing De Oro Del Casco, he spent his life researching the Celestine.”
De Oro Del Casco being the remains of the sunken Spanish galleon lost in the hurricane as her precognitive dream had foretold. Though she knew she hadn’t made it happen, Cordelia couldn’t help but feel some residual guilt.
She slipped her arm around her mother’s waist. “It’s because Dad did all that research that I was able to put together his notes and maps and find the Celestine for him. And for you.”
Cordelia has her reason for the hunt for sunken treasure.
Then there is Morgan.
He would never beg anyone for money. He’d seen his father do it over and over, most of his life, changing him from a proud man to one always oozing gratitude, usually to some stranger. One of the myriad “haves” in this world like Cordelia Ward. Morgan would be his own man, make his own name, and then others could come to him for money.
And finally, Innis.
He knew he had it in him to do whatever he set his mind to. He’d already proved that he was the right man to run Foley Salvage, the family business. His father had made him feel unworthy—had tried to convince him that he would turn out to be nothing—but, determined to get ahead, Innis had hardened himself against his own uncertainty. In the end, he’d won over the board and had defeated his acrimonious father. Taking control of the business, he’d proved the old man wrong.
Interestingly, I didn’t set out to give all three characters reasons that had to do with their fathers, if for very different emotional reasons. Sometimes the process takes me by surprise.
Think about your favorite romances. What character stands out in your mind and why?
About Written in the Stars
“A passionate tale of destiny, danger and dark magic—and a love so powerful that it conquers time.” Mary Jo Putney, New York Times Bestselling Author.
In 1601, Lady Elizabeth York’s star-shaped birthmark proclaims her a child of magic. When she arrives at Dunham Castle to marry Carlyle, heir to the Duke of Lennox, but finds enchantment in the eyes and touch of Will Grey, the Duke’s bastard son. Bewitched by Elizabeth, Will defies all for their love, and his jilted half-brother places a curse on them both.
Searching for a treasure ship sunk long ago, present-day marine archeologist Cordelia Ward is pursued romantically by both salvager Innis Foley and treasure hunter Morgan Murphy. She is haunted by a murderous nightmare where one man is the killer and the other the victim, but which man is her enemy, which her soul’s mate? Can a journal that belonged to her ancestress, Lady Elizabeth York show her the answers…in time to save her true love?
Chased by evil, two women discover their own magic to fight the villain’s curse on the Posey rings that draw them to the men they are destined to love.
About Patricia Rosemoor
Patricia RosemoorWith 90 novels and more than seven million books in print, Patricia Rosemoor is fascinated with “dangerous love” – combining romance with danger. She has written various forms of romantic and paranormal romantic thrillers, even romantic horror, bringing a different mix of thrills and chills to her stories.
Patricia has won a Golden Heart from Romance Writers of America and two Reviewers Choice and two Career Achievement Awards from RT BOOKreviews, and in her other life, she teaches Popular Fiction and Suspense-Thriller Writing, credit courses at Columbia College Chicago. Three of her Columbia grad students and two students from other venues are now published in novel-length fiction.
SKIN is her first original indie thriller. With 53 Harlequin Intrigues since 1985, she is now writing romantic suspense for Entangled Publishing.