Where do my characters come from?

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“Where do my characters come from?”

I get this question a lot and the answer is simple: I get them everywhere.

My husband and I recently took a mini-vacation to the North Carolina mountains. We were very close to the Cherokee Indian Reservation and spent a whole day exploring the town. We’ve always enjoyed it there. When we were dating, we visited every month in the spring and summer.

If you caught my post on Instagram or Facebook a few weeks back, you would have seen a photograph of my great-grandparents. Jesse and Mintie HensonMy great-grandmother was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian and on the trip home from the mountains, my mind started wandering. Where did my great-grandfather meet an indian girl? What were the circumstances surrounding their love story.

My great-grandfather grew up in Haywood County and I know after they married they lived in Maggie Valley, NC which is a lovely little town on the other side of the mountain from the Indian Reservation. Did they meet there or somewhere else?

Since I don’t know, I romanticized their meeting a bit. I imagined him finding her hiding from a group of men who had bad intentions so, the romance author in me made my great-grandfather the hero of their story.

It also triggered an “Ah-ha!” moment for a nagging roadblock in a story I’ve been plotting for Aaron Hilam and Betsey Atwater titled NIGHTINGALE. Circumstances that are revealed in WILD HORSES will have an impact on both of those characters, which will effect their lives forever and causes one of them to leave Willow Creek. Thoughts of my grandfather finding an indian girl spilled over into my make-believe world and the rescue of an indian girl in distress is just the catalyst my story needed and suddenly, all the loose pieces started falling into place.

It took nothing more than a few wandering thoughts for my indian girl character to come to life. I can see her in my mind as clearly as I do the other inhabitants of my little wild west town and she’ll have quite a story to tell. I’ll go ahead and let you know that Ben Atwater finds her more than a bit intriguing so cupid is still hard at work in Willow Creek! I have characters popping up daily and more stories to tell than I’ll ever get written. Now, if life will just stop demanding so much of my time and let me write them, you may get a chance to read them.

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About Lily Graison

Lily Graison is a USA TODAY bestselling author of historical western romances. Her Willow Creek Series introduced readers to a small Montana town where the west is wild and the cowboys are wilder. Lily also dabbles in sci-fi, contemporary and paranormal romance when the mood strikes and all of her stories lean heavily to the spicy side with strong female leads and heroes who tend to always get what they want. She writes full time and lives in Hickory, NC with her husband and a house full of Yorkies.

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