Choosing a career for a character by Sue Moorcroft – guest post

Today I’m pleased to welcome Sue Moorcroft to the blog. Sue is the author of Starting Over, Dream a Little Dream, Is This Love? and All That Mullarkey and her latest novel, The Christmas Promise, is published by Avon on 6 October for ebooks and 1 December in paperback.

Today Sue talks about choosing a career for a character.

Choosing a career … for a character

I choose a career for a character with far more attention to the consequences than I did for myself when leaving school. (Once I set my feet on the path towards being able to write ‘author’ as my occupation I began to pay a lot more attention!)

A character needs to have a career that fits his or her personality traits and the situation I’ve created for them. Or, if I’ve given them the ‘wrong’ job then there needs to be a good reason for it – like a young mum who’s doing an evening job she hates because finances dictate.

Just as important as the career fitting the characterisation, it has to fit my plot. I find it irksome if I can’t make happen what I want to make happen on a Tuesday afternoon because my character will be chained to her desk in an office, so I’m always on the look out for nice flexible jobs.

A couple of years ago a fellow guest on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire was Abigail Crampton, a milliner (maker of hats). Hers seemed exactly the right kind of occupation for one of my heroines. She’d be her own boss, giving me the flexibility I’d need, and I was pretty certain that my readers would love to know more about the artistry and innovation of millinery, of working with gorgeous materials in three dimensions. I had the forethought to ask Abigail if I’d be able to contact her in the future when the right heroine came along. She kindly agreed.

When I began to plan The Christmas Promise I realised that Ava was exactly right for the role. I emailed Abigail to ask if she’d mind helping me and I spent a lot of time learning about why something as commonplace as steam should play such a vital role in taking a flat, lifeless piece of fabric and transforming it into a graceful three-dimensional shape. I learned how to conduct a hat fitting, how to wear a hat and when, even how to transport a hat.

In the process, I also learned what kind of attention to detail and patience millinery takes, as well as creativity and skill. Choosing Ava’s career brought her to life in my imagination.

#MyPromise to myself during this learning curve was that if the book was contracted I would have a couture hat made. It’s in a promise I’m in the process of keeping as Abigail’s making one of her creations just for me. I will wear it at my launch!

About the book:

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For Ava Bliss, it’s going to be a Christmas to remember …

On a snowy December evening, Sam Jermyn steps into the life of bespoke hat maker Ava. Sparks fly, and not necessarily the good ones.Times are tough for Ava – she’s struggling to make ends meet, her ex-boyfriend is a bully, and worst of all, it’s nearly Christmas.So when Sam commissions Ava to make a hat for someone special, she makes a promise that will change her life. She just doesn’t know it yet…

Curl up with this gorgeous, festive read – the perfect treat for fans of Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley.

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