Please give a warm welcome back to fellow Black Opal Books author, Pepper O'Neal.
Several people have asked me where I get my ideas for the animal characters I use in my books, as I always have at least one character that’s not human. So I thought I’d use this blog to explain that.
Basically, I take the animal characters from the same place I take my human ones: from real life—from the friends and acquaintance, both human and non, I’ve met throughout my travels. Only with the animals, I don’t have to ask permission first.
I’m a sucker for animals. Always have been. As a child, growing up on a farm, I learned that animals have personalities, just like people do. Now, I’m not saying that animals—other than humans—are sentient beings, but they do all have unique personalities and seem to display many of the emotions we do. I’ve seen animals express happiness, anger, grief, depression, cleverness, shyness, and downright sneakiness. When I was younger, I assumed (you should never do that, you know) that this was only true of domestic animals. It seemed reasonable to me that if the animals lived around humans, they’d pick up some of the human mannerisms and habits, good and bad. But when I started working for a company doing educational documentaries and research in third world countries, I discovered that wild animals also had distinct personalities and gave the appearance of having those same emotions and mannerisms.
One night around our evening campfire in rural Mexico, I expounded on this theory to the team I was working with at the time. The team leader—a gorgeous hunk who was a former CIA officer I’ll call Jake—raised one eyebrow, which he was very good, at by the way. After a few minutes of thought, he stated that while he could see why I would think that, his opinion was that since animals weren’t really sentient beings, while they might experience a facsimile of human emotions, it was unlikely they could experience the same degree of emotions that humans could. This was an opinion I was quick to disagree with some three weeks later when the team was being chased out of an area by an extremely pissed-off wild burro who took exception to our invading his territory.
When I created the main character for Blood Fest: Chasing Destiny, the book that’s coming out on April 30, 2011, from Black Opal Books, I combined Wiley with another one of my team members whom I’ll call Ryan, to come up with a Vampire/Lycan half-breed, named Roman. Since Ryan was definitely an alpha male with—as the whole team agreed—a little too much testosterone at times, by combining Wiley’s sweet and gentle nature, with Ryan’s not so much one, I got an alpha male with a sensitive side, who has tremendous control over his animal nature but struggles with his emotions.
When I emailed Ryan a bio of the character, he responded that he’d always wanted to be a vampire, so he was cool with it. And he figured Wiley probably would be too. Though neither of us has been able to contact him to find out for sure. Since I promised my friends and associates not to use real names or photos, I’ve had to improvise. So this is a picture representing my hero, Roman, not a picture of Ryan.
Visit my website: http://www.pepperoneal.com
Learn more about Blood Fest: Chasing Destiny at: http:www. http://pepperoneal.com/blood-fest-series/
Read an excerpt of Blood Fest: Chasing Destiny at: http://pepperoneal.com/blood-fest-series/excerpt-chasing-destiny/
Check out Sherry’s Duty Calls as well as other Black Opal Books publications at: