J.A. Stinger

Words Can Inspire The World

What Do Your Characters Look Like?

I knew what my characters looked like, but my artist, though he’s talented and awesome, was not a police sketch artist–he needed a photo to work from.

I had seen photos of actors and models who resembled my characters, but I couldn’t use them without permission, and besides, I didn’t want my creations to look exactly like any living person. So I got creative.

I got out a box of old, old photos of long-dead family members. Lucky genealogy is one of my interests! I pored over the images, looking at bone structure and expressions. If you do this, you totally have to ignore hair and clothing styles!

Tommy Bailey bears strong resemblance to my great-great grandfather on my dad’s side of the family. His portrait was made in 1863, just before he enlisted in the Union Army. People in photos from this era rarely smile, because it was hard to hold that expression long enough for their image to be fixed on film. His determined look and the set of his jaw befitted a young soldier. He was a perfect template for Tommy.

Careen Catecher has the lovely cheekbones and eyes of my maternal grandmother. Grandma’s portrait, taken in the late 1930s, is in soft oils, sepia tone. She has glam lipstick and a curly bob, which wasn’t at all how I pictured Careen. But with the updated hairstyle and natural lip color, she’s perfect.

If you’re interested in creating art for your own project, I highly recommend WillNoName, who can be found at http://fiverr.com.

I just ordered a new Counteract book trailer…stay tuned!!

Tracy Lawson has wanted to be a writer ever since she learned to read. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Communication from Ohio University, and though she embarked on a career in the performing arts as a dance instructor and choreographer, never lost her desire to write, and thus far has to her credit a coming-of-age dystopian thriller and an historical nonfiction. Her interest in writing for teens is sparked by all the wonderful young people in her life, including her daughter, Keri, a college sophomore.

You can find out more about her on her website www.counteractbook.com and onTwitter