Today I ask Gerald Hornsby about characters.
Q: Do you find it harder to write nice characters?
Gerald Hornsby: My longer works are all crime thrillers, and it’s easy to set up the conflict – the cops as the good guys on one side, and the criminals on the other. For me, the story is all about the character – stories derive firstly from character, which then have a plot to drive them. So I spend a lot of time on my characters, getting a feel for how they think and how they would react in certain circumstances.
I usually try to make my protagonists basically nice people, who are put in difficult positions. To me, it is far better to show that my main characters can battle against the odds, and do things for the ‘right’ reasons. And I find it’s better to try to give them a sense of humour, as I believe it helps in trying circumstances. I want my readers to like my protagonists.
However, when it comes to my antagonists, I let my mind free, and create all sorts of nasty traits for these people. These people are not nice, and sometimes they have a slightly perverted sense of right and wrong. I don’t want any of my readers associating with them, and I have great fun inventing ways in which their cruel and unpleasant natures can be exhibited.