Characters Lead, I follow by Lauren Smith

As a new author, I often hear the question, “Where do your ideas come from?” I never really know how to answer this question. But the truth is that my characters come to me mostly formed in my head. More than once, my novels have started out with a singular vision, a flash of some scene (usually not the starting point, but from somewhere in the middle of the future novel). The characters are there, strolling out before my eyes, in the midst of a plot I’ve only just discovered.


I’m sure other authors agree. Characters define themselves and lead you as you start to write. Sometimes they even give you a bit of trouble when you want them to act a certain way or say a certain thing. For example, my upcoming release from Samhain in 2014, called Wicked Designs, is a perfect example of characters taking the lead. Whatever I’d intended to happen with my heroine Emily and my hero Godric, is long forgotten in the wake of Emily and Godric taking control of their own story. I had every intention of Emily being older and more jaded. But out came a young Debutante, determined to hold her own against a duke in his early thirties who’d never met a woman his emotional or intellectual equal. The result? Fireworks.


Want a taste? Here’s an excerpt from where Emily has been kidnapped by Godric who’s determined to ruin her in revenge against her uncle who embezzled money from Godric. Emily makes a desperate break for freedom and comes face to face with the physical and irresistible temptation Godric presents.

WickedDesigns72lg final medium


It was now or never. Seizing what might be her only chance, Emily whirled to the left, toward an entry way and a large door not twenty feet away. Clutching her skirts she sprinted towards it, blood pounding in her ears as her fear mounted. A few feet more and she’d be free.

Suddenly she pitched forward, falling flat on her stomach.

The cold stone bit into her hands as she sought to brace her fall. Something hot and hard latched onto her right ankle. Panting for breath, she looked over her shoulder. Godric crouched behind her, a feral glint to his eyes. His chest expanded with obvious effort.

Her pride swelled. He wasn’t used to chasing after women, especially not ones with the intention of getting away.

“I thought I advised against running, Miss Parr.” Godric’s green eyes danced with shadowy merriment, as though they were playing some game.

It infuriated her. This was her life, her freedom!

“Let me go! You have no right to keep me here!” Emily kicked at his hand with her free foot, but he caught her left ankle, and then slid her along the floor on her stomach until she lay beneath his crouched body.

A doe in the glen catching scent of man, Emily lay still, listening to Godric breathe. When he spoke, she ignored him and focused instead on her counter attack. She tensed and flipped onto her back, backhanding him with a sharp crack across the face.

The fingers around her ankles tightened as he growled low in his throat. “The time you spend here can be civil or not. I shall leave it up to you, but know that for every act of defiance I will demand something of you in return.” He exhaled, deeply. She felt it even in her ankle, the move of his body above her. “You may not like the price.”

His face loomed above hers with all the beauty of a vengeful god. With aching slowness he caged her in using his body to trap her. Hers shuddered at the heavy contact as his limbs matched hers. Ice warred with fire along her skin as she fought tremors of excitement. It was as though she faced a lion—raw beauty, extreme power, and a posed threat—yet she couldn’t look away, and wanted to taste his full lips again.

Reality struck her sharply, reminding her to fight him. She tensed, testing her strength. His chest was a wall of steel, immovable as a mountain. Left gasping after her efforts, Emily’s eyes burned with childish tears. She couldn’t free herself, not from him, not from this place. And worst of all, she couldn’t escape her own desire. It was torture to want her abductor to coax her lips apart and teach her how to kiss so divinely.

Godric cupped her cheek with one hand, rubbing the pad of his thumb lightly over the curve of her lower lip. The warmth of his breath and the hint of his scent tangled her senses and rationality until she was a jumbled mess inside. Fear sparked within her, like flashes of lights hidden behind black clouds.

He could ruin her…physically. He hadn’t really assured her safety, and now Emily realized her mistake. Godric could very easily take her, brutally and completely, and she had no way to defend herself. She had to say something, something to placate him and protect herself.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to—” she expelled in a rush, but his lips took hers hard and fast, in an intoxicating rush of sensations and tastes. She whimpered as he fisted a hand in her hair, pulling her head back to expose her throat. Being so exposed sparked an explosive thrill. Her breasts strained against the fabric of her gown and heat pooled between her legs. It made little sense, this breathless yearning to be powerless beneath him, the desire to surrender to his sensual assault. The whispering graze of his teeth against her skin restlessly stirred her body.

When he returned his mouth to hers, she quivered with anticipation. The glide of his tongue between her lips was all about domination. She could feel it in the press of his chest against her breasts. The decision to submit countered everything in her body and mind, but she finally did.

He stilled atop her then, lips half-parted over hers, and with a soft sigh he drew his head back. His tongue licked his lips and regret flickered in his gaze. Emily wondered how far he would have taken her seductive punishment if she hadn’t acquiesced to him so quickly. He eased off her and helped her to her feet. Emily despaired at the loss of contact and she hated herself for admitting it.

“Shall we try this again?” His voice was low and husky. Did he have to be so tall and…and intense? Her instincts still screamed for her to run, but a good part of her wanted to step closer, to agree to anything he said. No man should have such power over her, but Godric was starting to, and that scared her far more than the intoxicating seduction of his kisses.


I hope you enjoyed this tasty excerpt! Feel free to check out my blog and facebook for details on the release and future stories about Godric’s rakehell friends!

A special thanks to Lucien for allowing me to make an appearance in his tavern! *Waves to Lucien who is reclining in a chair by the hearth.

I’d love to hear from you blog viewers what you think about characters and their stories? If you’re  a writer, do you listen to your characters, or do they listen to you?


warmed up close upAbout the Author

Lauren Smith is an attorney by day and writer by night. She loves to write adventurous, steamy, character driven historicals, sexy, gothic romantic suspense and she’s currently dabbling in sweeping space opera cyborg stories. She lives in Oklahoma with her cat Tiki and a feisty little black schnauzer Fritz. Drop her blog for news on Wicked Designs, exclusive illustrations of scenes from the book and more!


Twitter: @LSmithAuthor



10 comments on “Characters Lead, I follow by Lauren Smith

  1. Great post, Lauren. I get my ideas in much the same way. It’s like video playing in my head. Usually though, it’s at the beginning of the book. My characters absolutely take over. I can slow them down, sometimes, but if I try to exert a lot of control the whole writing process slows to a grinding halt. So I just have to see what comes out. I tweeted.

  2. Oh my! A tasty excerpt indeed! It’s funny, I was just thinking the other day how my stories come to me. I was outside walking on the beach and then it just flashed before me. A scene. A snippet. But it’s all I needed. It’s truly remarkable how the visions present themselves, no?

    • ldsmith1818 says:

      First off, jealous that you get to walk on a beach! i’m in the middle of the US so there’s no beaches for me. And yes its incredible how visions of scenes just randomly show up! Thanks for stopping by Christi!

  3. NancyS.Goodman says:

    Love the excerpt Lauren! I get my stories in the strangest way, while I’m in the shower, or walking to work, or driving in the car. But sometimes while I’m writing someone else’s story, they come knocking! Tweeted

  4. Ann Aarons says:

    Wow! Great excerpt!

  5. Lauren, my characters do the same thing! They sure have minds of their own. I imagine how I want the story to go, and usually it doesn’t go that way. I follow my characters! But I love writing that way because then I’m just as surprised and excited for the ending as I know my readers will be. 🙂

    I’m thrilled for your upcoming release with Samhain. And I LOVE this story – and your series!

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