Monday, August 28, 2017


What a great question! I came upon this one when I was answering a questionnaire for another blog and thought it would be a fantastic question to expand on all by itself. Because who among us—writers, readers, or both—DOESN’T have a favorite fictional character?

And it changes, doesn’t it? When I was a little girl, I remember being enthralled with stories of the Color Kittens, Pippi Longstocking, and finally Nancy Drew. Later, heroines such as Kit Tyler—Elizabeth George Speare’s unforgettable character in THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND held my interest.

But I also loved the heroes, too—Hugh O’Donnell, THE FIGHTING PRINCE OF DONEGAL, and Robin Hood, fighting their way to freedom and justice for the people they served! And of course, I was a western lover even then. I was spellbound by Travis and Arliss, the brothers in Fred Gipson’s OLD YELLER, and the sequel, SAVAGE SAM.

Davy Crockett and Mike Fink were favorites, for a while, with books complete with pictures from the Disney series. I couldn’t find an image of the actual books I had, but I did find this one of the “stamp” book—which I also had!

GONE WITH THE WIND was my first “adult” book and I’d seen that movie, so I was enraptured by Scarlett O’Hara. Even at a young
age, the facets of her personality both on the screen and in the book fascinated me. How could she be “all” bad? She gave up so much to save her family…or did she? I still love to think about what a wonderful character Margaret Mitchell gave us to ponder.

The first romance book I ever read was SWEET SAVAGE LOVE by Rosemary Rogers. I can’t tell you how that book changed my life in so many ways. I had never read a book that made me feel as if I was right there in the main character’s skin like I did with Ginny, the heroine. As soon as I finished that book, I turned around and read it again, and it’s on my keeper shelf to this day.
The hero of that book, Steve Morgan, is as hard as they come. But there is a place in his heart for Ginny that no other can fill, and she feels the same for him. I read this book close to 40 years ago, and those characters are still memorable today.

As far as characters I’ve written…all writers know that is nearly an impossible choice. Of course, the first book you ever wrote probably contains your favorite character(s)—even if that wasn’t the first book you ever published! They are your first loves, the reason you started writing in the first place.

The first book an author publishes holds an unforgettable place in their hearts, as well. Those characters were the ones that people were able to read about, to relate to, and to give the author feedback on.

The current book is one that is full of hopes, dreams, and promise—just like the ones before. Will people love your characters as much as you do, or will it flop?

Then there are the books that are “experiments”—maybe shorter, longer, or a different genre. How did others like those characters…but moreover, how did YOU like the characters you created?

My favorite male character I’ve created is one that was the “star” of my first book—the one that has never seen the light of day. I still have hopes and plans to rework it and get it out there, but it’s LONNNNNG. But Johnny Brandon is a man’s man, and he’s going to have his vengeance no matter what. Still…there’s room for love—though he is an unwilling participant in the beginning. As always, things have a way of working out for the best, but he kept me on my toes the entire time I was working on that manuscript, and he’s utterly unforgettable.

Probably the couple that were “the odd couple” for me were U.S. Deputy Marshal Jaxson McCall and runaway debutante, Callie Buchanan in THE HALF-BREED’S WOMAN. Jax is hired “on the side” to go after Callie who has run away from her stepfather, a prominent socialite in Washington, D.C. She is headed west, into his familiar territory. He tracks her easily enough, but when he catches up with her, he realizes that his instincts were right—there’s something terribly wrong with her stepfather’s “worry” about her disappearance. Their relationship becomes something neither of them expected, and when Callie’s stepfather comes after them both, Jax realizes he’s got to pull out all the stops to keep Callie safe from the man who is evil to the core.

But Callie has lost so much in her life, she’s determined she’s not going to lose Jax—or her life. She surprised me several times, and I loved the way she grew as a character and found her own strength and bravery as time went by.
What’s your favorite fictional character you’ve read, or one you’ve created? Be sure to leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for a FREE DIGITAL COPY OF THE HALF-BREED’S WOMAN!

If you can't wait to see if you won, here's the buy link at AMAZON!

Here's an excerpt from THE HALF-BREED'S WOMAN:

The set up: U.S. Deputy Marshal Jaxson McCall has tracked down debutante Callie Buchanan in her flight across the country to get away from her powerful stepfather. Now, because of an overzealous cavalry commander, they have been forced to marry to save Callie’s reputation and Captain Tolbert’s military career from question. It’s their wedding night, but Jax is still uncertain that he’s the best thing for Callie—he wants her to have choices, not something forced on her. But Callie knows what she wants…in her heart, she will forever be THE HALF-BREED’S WOMAN…

Jesus. A king’s ransom in rubies. But more important, the love of the woman kneeling beside him, offering him, truly, the only valuable she had left. The only thing that stood between her and destitution. She was handing him her future, and he held it in his hands, glittering in the lamplight.

“Callie.” His voice was husky, rough, but infinitely tender. “You trust me so much, sweetheart? This is everything you own, isn’t it?”

As Callie lay her head beside him, Jax laced his hands through her hair, thoughtfully fingering the silken mass of burnished copper. She nodded, not answering.

“Think long and hard about what you’re saying, Callie. I’m…not your only choice. Once we’re out of here, we can get this marriage annulled—if you want—”

Her head came up swiftly. “Is that what you want, Jaxson? Truly? To walk away and pretend we never knew each other, never made love together—”

“Shh, no, baby, it’s not what I want.” He put a roughened finger against her lips.

“Then, what? Is it the idea of marriage itself that repels you—or marriage to me?”

“Dammit, Callie, you’re young, you’re beautiful—educated—”

“A fugitive.”

“We’ll get that set straight, sweetheart, and then your whole life will be open to all kinds of possibilities—not just marriage to a—a half-breed U.S. deputy marshal, for God’s sake!”

“I happen to be in love with a half-breed U.S. deputy marshal! One that I want to spend my life with! Remember, Jax? Remember? ‘Laugh with me, love with me, have babies with me—’ Remember?” She moistened her lips, her voice carrying the husky edge of tears, her emotions raw.

Roughly, with a muttered curse, he dropped the case on the bed and pulled her to him. He held her tightly as she scrambled to move herself away from him. He speared his fingers through her soft, tumbling hair, loving the feel of it against his fingertips and across the bare skin of his neck and shoulder.

“Jax! Stop it! I don’t want to hurt—”

“You aren’t going to hurt me, Callie. Not like you mean. Physical pain, I can deal with. Emotional pain, that’s a little harder.” He pulled her back against him, but she resisted, turning her head as he tried to kiss her. He shifted to his left side, throwing a bare leg across her, forcing her head around to look at him.

“Can I trust you, Callie?” His eyes were hot, burning into hers. “If I give you my heart, can I trust you?”

“Jax—” Callie murmured, stopping her thrashing at the hoarse, raw emotion in his voice, the intensity in his eyes. He held her arms tightly in his hands. “I will never, hurt you, Jaxson. Never.” Their lips were only a hairsbreadth apart, her voice a soft whisper, gliding across his skin. “I love you, Jax.” She moistened her lips. “I love y-”

His lips slanted across hers, cutting off the rest of her words. She opened her mouth for him, and his tongue entered her in a promise of what he planned to do to her body in a few short minutes. Boldly, she touched his tongue with hers, and his fingers tensed against her scalp. He had turned until his body almost completely covered hers, pinning her beneath him. Finally, he lifted his head. “I’ll never let you go, girl. That’s one thing you better know. If we make love tonight, you’re mine, Callie. Forever.”


  1. Great post, Cheryl. Several of the characters you love are also my favorites, especially Ginny and Steve from Sweet Savage Love. My favorites of all time are Jamie and Claire from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. As for my own books, you're right, my favorites are Jessie and David from my first book, Darlin' Irish.

    Terrific excerpt! I want to read more!

    1. Lyn, when I started thinking about it, they just kept coming! LOL There were so many more that I didn't have room to list, and I suppose a "favorite" changes at different points in our lives and our reading/writing interests, doesn't it? Oh, yes, Jamie and Claire! I found myself loving Jamie but at many times, it was hard to warm up to Claire. But my sister thought she was wonderful!

      I have Darlin' Irish on my Kindle...someday, I'm going to take a "reading vacation" and just catch up on all the books I want to read for pleasure.

  2. (FROM FACEBOOK and placed here:

    MARTIN EDEN is the book by Jack London and the main character transforms from an illiterate sailer to a best selling author, then goes out the port hole of a ship at sea, at the very end, (suicide). Disdaining his success, from absolute poverty to riches, losing and gaining the girl he loved,(for him for all the wrong reasons---money and success) Martin Eden decides to end his life.

    Towards the end of the book he states, "IT WAS WORK ALREADY PERFORMED." His meaning that he wrote and he wasn't famous and then later that material made him famous.

    Why do I like the book and the character? THAT'S ME! Work already performed! Hundreds and hundreds of (my work over 50 years) manuscripts piled up, ready to edit and publish!

    MARTIN EDEN is a VERY interesting book and in some way autobiographical of the man himself, JACK LONDON!AND PLACED HERE)

    1. Charlie, YOU are still a WORK IN PROGRESS my friend! Get those mss. sent to a publisher! They can't see the light of day if you don't send them! LOL

      Thank you for commenting. I have to read this book now.

  3. A wonderful, thought-provoking question, Cheryl. How can I possibly select a "favourite" character from the thousands of books I've read? I reflect and see the stages I've progressed through from the juvenile detective books to adult books like Frank Yerby and Margaret Mitchel. And then I met Angelique, a series written by a French husband and wife and I was hooked. Angelique of the golden hair and turquoise eyes (I think) and her adventures. This was pre-Rosemary Rogers and Kathleen Woodiwiss. I had all seven books in the series and re-read then, loaned them to a co-worker and never got them back. The covers were gorgeous.

    Picking a favourite character from my own books is harder because I love them all, just like I can't pick a favourite child. What's interesting, though, is how a secondary character enters the story and captures my heart, demanding his/her own story. Such is the case with Mike, a big golden bear of a man with a teasing tongue that never stops (book 2 of my western trilogy) and Molly, a spirited saloon girl with a sassy mouth who demanded her own book (3). These two made me laugh out loud. Every time I read this one scene I laughed. Then one day I didn't laugh. That made me realize that as authors, we are keenly affected by our surroundings, our mood, circumstances and this affects how we write/edit. So one day, if the editing is not going well and you want to get rid of the scene, either leave it in and look at it again the next day, or cut and paste it into a blank document that can be retrieved back into the book. If you feel the same the next day or week, then decide. As a writer, I doubt myself often. With another scene in Molly's story, I sent the excerpt to three on-line reader friends and they loved it, so that scene stayed in and they asked me to change the names of the saloon girls because the readers wanted to be in the book, lol. I'm so excited to have the first book of that trilogy published next year by Prairie Rose Press.

    And lastly, Cheryl, I look forward to reading your books. I loved your excerpt.

    1. Elizabeth, THANK YOU for your thoughtful comment! I appreciate that. It's fun to think back on all the books we've loved through the different stages of reading and the passing "fancies" we've had through all the years and see the characters that affected us and gave us such happiness in our reading adventures.

      Like you, I love secondary characters and sometimes have to be certain they don't steal the show. In the first book I ever wrote that I mentioned, Johnny has a younger brother, Nick--from a totally different background--and they've never had any kind of relationship--same father different mothers. Oh, my gosh! How I enjoyed forging the bond between them! I think I'm just going to HAVE to make time to rework that story. LOL

      I am so looking forward to your book coming out, Elizabeth. I can't wait to get down to the nitty gritty of editing and getting it ready to go. I love what I've "skimmed" so far!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

    2. And I meant to say THANK YOU for your very kind words about my stories, too. I'm so glad you enjoy them!

  4. I play the Mike Fink song in class when we talk about Mississippi River travel or frontier legends :-)

    1. OMG! That's awesome, Troy!

      You know for a long time, people told me that Savage Sam was a figment of my imagination. No one else could remember it. Everyone remembered Old Yeller, but no one remembered Savage Sam...BUT, I had the 45 record of the theme song for the Disney movie. I could prove I was not crazy. LOL

      I bet your students love the Mike Fink song. They are so lucky to have you!

  5. What a great question, Cheryl. I think my favorite depends on my mood. It's either Taylor Stapleton in PRINCE CHARMING, by Julie Garwood, or Bathsheba in Loretta Chase's LORD PERFECT. My favorite of those I've written changes too. I always love Pearl Parker in THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE for her strength. But, the character I'm writing is always a favorite, too. Right now that's Daniel McClintock in DANIEL. One of my favorite heroes is Nathaniel Bartholomew in THE MOST UNSUITABLE HUSBAND because of his flaws and redemption. Isn't having our job the best?

    1. Hi Caroline! YES! There is nothing I love more than to read about an unforgettable character (and I left out VILLAINS--another blog post in the future!) LOL Maybe WRITING an unforgettable character is better...I don't know. I love doing both. I'm reading Hummingbird by LaVyrle Spencer right now. OH MY! Miss Abigail is one of THOSE characters, for sure. And speaking of flaws, the soon-to-be hero (I am thinking, at least) in that book, Jesse, is one of those flawed characters that you can't wait to see redeemed.

  6. Oh my, someone else who loved Hugh O'Donnell. I loved the Dr. Syn/Scarecrow character in the Disney film of the same name, he was such a complex character and Patrick McGoohan played him to perfecytion. Read "Sweet Savage Love", but my favorite was Lady Julitta and Red Adam in "Red Adam's Lady" and Kendra and Marny in "Calico Palace" are unforgettable. Loved "The Half-Breed's Woman" but I think my favorite character of yours that stays with me is Derrick McCain. There was just something about him that has stayed with me. (I have the book, so don't include me in the drawing.) Doris

    1. Doris, I feel the same way about Derrick. He is so haunted by things beyond his control, and he doesn't consider himself "heroic", yet he has done some pretty heroic things. And talk about a man of conviction--once he found his way. LOL (That took some doin'!) LOL Thank you for mentioning him. I think the "draw" to Derrick is the fact that he was so alone and didn't know why until he was an adult--and then...the normal feelings came--anger, betrayal, and trying to figure out just where he belonged in the world. Thanks for your kind words, Doris. And another Hugh O'Donnell lover! YAY!

  7. ELIZABETH CLEMENTS...COME ON DOWN! You are my winner for a digital copy of THE HALF-BREED'S WOMAN! Please contact me at for your prize!

    Thanks to everyone who stopped by and read and shared your thoughts about your favorite fictional characters! I'm adding to my TBR list, y'all!


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