Story Characters

I’m often asked about the characters in my novel and how I got the ideas for them. Some even wonder if they depict my family members, or maybe even me. “No” and “No.”

The answer to the question concerning where I got the ideas for my characters is, “People watching.” I have always found people interesting and discovered that, based on appearance, their demeanor and actions are often predictable. I people watch at the mall, the grocery store, the airport, in restaurants, and even in church. (For shame!)

I-70 between Kansas City and Colorado is a highway I travel quite often, and this was the highway I again traveled after a wonderful Thanksgiving with family. There are few opportunities to people watch along this highway. One sees lots of cows in pastures, windblown tumbleweeds rolling across the highway, grain elevators, rusty tractors, and prairie land ad infinitum. I find myself anticipating the signs that tick down the miles to Colby, Kansas. The “Oasis” is located there, a huge travel center with junk food, drinks, restrooms, gifts, a Mr. Goodcents, and, yes, a Starbucks – truly an escape from hours of boredom. Around two in the afternoon on our day of travel, we arrived there to join many other travel-weary people.

The break was short. With candy bars, Starbucks, and a fair amount of dread, I returned with Hubby to our car. While Hubby rearranged some things in back, I had my first opportunity of the day to people watch. I was not disappointed. A young woman, carrying a child, came running along the walkway toward the automatic door. I guessed the child was around two-years-old. Close behind, two children who looked to be maybe four and eight, were attempting to keep up with the lady.
As they arrived in front of our car, the mom stopped. This meant the children also stopped. Totally oblivious of the fact that she might be in someone’s view, Mom pulled a nightgown that was sliding toward her sneaker-clad feet up and underneath her winter jacket and secured it there. It was then that I became aware they were all dressed for bed. The older child and the mom were the only ones with jackets. The little guys wore pajamas and sneakers to fend off the cold.

Being the nice person I am, I did not pick up my cell phone and snap a picture. But I do think I feel a story coming on.


  1. That could go in lots of directions; but I hope the young lady and her brood are warm, and safe and sound, wherever they may be now.

    1. Vanilla, I understand those big SUV's are quite cozy.