Writers struggle to make their characters live and breath, to make them "real" to the readers. The goal for me is to make the reader feel like my characters could be someone they meet in real life.
On the other hand, I can't inject too much reality in my stories. The main goal of my fiction is to provide escapism for my readers. It's what I look for in my own reading. Too much realism reminds the reader of the very things they are trying to escape from.
Apparently, there's another problem I didn't realize until I released the first three books of the 888-555-HERO series last spring. People have their own definition of reality, and if the story doesn't mesh with their reality, the reader gets a little irate. (Or in one case, VERY irate. LOL)
While Canyon Pointe is a fictional city, it's based on parts of New Orleans, Denver, Phoenix, and Houston.
For example, everyone is aware of Houston's thriving Hispanic community, but it's not all Mexican-Americans. Houston has Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Guatamalans, Hondurans, etc. Little Vietnam has the greatest collection of restaurants outside of the home country. DH's primary care doctor was from Pakistan; mine was from Taiwan. So there's more than one or two ethnic groups in any major U.S. city. I wanted Canyon Pointe to reflect other U.S. cities.
A lot of Harri and Aisha's quirks are based on several female attorneys I know in real life. All of them a tough and passionate about their jobs.
There's also the age difference in relationships in my stories. Again, many women I know bucked the trend in America and married guys younger than them, including my own paternal grandmother, who was part of the Greatest Generation. So I'm having a little fun with Rey, a Gen Z, pursuing Aisha, a Gen X.
It's funny how the older Gen Xers and younger Boomers find my stories appalling. Appalling, they say! Especially, the "liberal agenda"!
Apparently, having a multi-ethnic, multi-age cast blows some people's minds. Except that's the world we live in now.
We live in an apartment (our immediate house-buying plan was blown up by my cancer last year) squarely in the very red Midwest. We're a town surrounded by farms and fields. Yet, ours neighbors in the complex have run the gamut of ages, from white Gen Z kids rooming together, to Millennial Pakistani grad students, to older Gen X empty nesters in the proverbial rainbow of colors.
Our reality is that things are changing. Things are ALWAYS changing. All the righteous anger in the world isn't going to change that.
So, in the meantime, I will continue to write characters that reflect people I know in real life. Now, get off my lawn!
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