Visual Imaginary by Mollie Blake

This week we have UK based author Mollie Blake talking about Visual Images. Her new book is  The Secret at Arnford Hall: A Cheshire Love Story.

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There’s someone else in my head

When I start to think about the book I’m going to write, I begin with a main character, their problem —there will always be one— and their salvation. I will add family, friends and enemies. And because I write sexy romantic thrillers, there will always be a lover, or two.

I prefer to write in the third person in order to portray the Point of View of more than one character, without confusing the reader. To be able to do this effectively each character playing a role in the story will share a bit of room in my head. I need to get to know them. An image will be conjured up. It could be from a photograph, or a screen, even an advert—David Gandy makes a good Gabriel Black in The Secret At Arnford Hall. I will often give the reader a glimpse of my visual image, for example my leading lady has long rich brown hair and goes to the gym, or, her eyes are kind and her body is a little less toned in parts than she would like…you get the picture.

Although I like to have visual images of my people, the most important thing is their personality. I need to make them real with traits and mannerisms, likes and dislikes, and more often than not a dark side. I have to get to know them inside out. If I believe in them, then hopefully the readers will too. Throughout the story I constantly check that everyone stays true to their character. This means I have to take time to get to know them. In the early stages of a story I will experiment and let them go “off-piste” as it were. I might need to reign them in—this was something I did a lot at the beginning with Gabriel, as he was such a difficult man to get to know—but sometimes I take their lead. 

An example of this happened to me in a book, when I wrote a scene in which the main couple had been experimenting in a gym with light bondage. Things escalated in more ways than one:
She felt indignant at his anger. “Don’t get angry with me. You’ve just given me a box of ropes, handcuffs and blindfolds. What the hell am I supposed to think? You have too many secrets! Why?”
“I liked it. I liked to be cuffed and hurt!” His stance was solid and his face looked icy-cold.
I was shocked when I wrote this down in a notebook, and actually stopped writing to think about it. I never intended the hero to be a masochist but, after thinking through the implications, I went with it. It helped shape both the story and the character. Because I don’t do a lot of planning at the beginning of my writing, preferring my story to develop and go down paths I might not be aware of when I first put pen to paper (or finger on keyboard), this worked well for me.

When conceiving my next story I will always have a beginning, an element of danger, and an end, but a lot can happen in between as my characters evolve and, in some cases, age.

So in order to get to know them and their actions and reactions, my characters live in my head for a lot of the time. It can get a little crowded in here. Luckily when I start a new book, the old characters move out and make room for the new ones to take over. I’m never lonely.

Quotes from review of The Secret At Arnford Hall:

Her plot is strong, her characters realistic and well developed, and her sex scenes hot and spicy, and plentiful.”

You get to know the characters inside out and stay up late reading because you just have to know how it all ends.”

He lived in a nightmare. His son brought him daylight. Can this woman be his breaking dawn?

Gabriel Black didn’t give a damn about the world. Until, that is, his seven-year-old son enters his life for the first time. The young boy brings daylight into the darkness of Gabriel’s world. But a single parent needs a distraction. And this single parent has no limits when it comes to getting what he wants…

She’s built a new life for herself on the ruins of the old, but this man can destroy everything she’s worked so hard to gain…

Grace McGuire lives with a dark secret—one that, if revealed, will destroy her new life. Then her world collides with that of forceful Gabriel Black, a multi-millionaire with a secret of his own, a secret Grace is determined to uncover for her sanity and all she holds dear.

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  1. Great post, thanks for sharing.

  2. I like the premise of this story. Sounds intriguing.

    1. Thanks Ann. If you do read The Secret At Arnford Hall, let me know what you think - I love to hear from readers x

  3. Thanks Nas for inviting me to post here. And thanks for your comments. I hope you enjoy my story

  4. Hi Nas and Mollie - I think I'd be a little taken aback if I'd written that snippet down ... but great you went with the concept - good luck and cheers to you both - Hilary

    1. Thanks Hilary. You can probably guess I don't blush much. Best wishes - Mollie xx

  5. Sounds like an interesting book. Letting characters live in our minds definitely helps us get to know them. Great to hear from Mollie! :)

  6. That's pretty intense... I only write about myself but being able to write a story of characters is interesting to me, I don't know if I could keep all the characters straight... I am in awe of people that can xox

  7. If you want to, Launna, just give it a go - you never know who you might meet 😉
    Thanks for you comment and best wishes


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