Friday, November 22, 2019

Giving your Characters Hobbies

About six weeks ago, I was answering interview questions for a blog post to promote my latest title. This set of questions focused on drawing out information about me the person. Huh? I’d been answering such interviews as “me the author” for so long I’d almost forgotten that I used to do other things than write, research and read. So I dug deep and remembered what I did a couple years ago when I was in a writing slump and was avoiding the computer.

I crocheted baby afghans. I love this hobby because it’s portable and can be stopped and started easily. At least, much easier than when sewing or quilting were my hobbies. Plus in winter, I have the added bonus of the garment being created warms my lap. The hobby is relaxing and once I get into a rhythm, I can do it while watching a show on television. When my family lived in Texas, I used all sorts of scrap yarn that I’d gathered over the years and donated the finished blankets to the children’s hospital. My youngest daughter and I did a project at church where we made beanie caps and donated them to a homeless shelter. Unfortunately, a lot of that yarn got donated when we moved from Texas because we knew the 750 s.f. cabin we were moving to lacked enough storage.

I was in the garage a couple months ago looking for canning supplies on our shelves and ran across a couple boxes of yard. Now, I’ve caught the crocheting bug again and have finished several baby afghans in the intervening time. For me, crocheting is automatic. My fingers move in an established pattern while I watch TV and I feel relaxed. The finished projects will be donated to a local women’s shelter so I make all sizes from newborn to toddler.

The heroines of our stories would have crocheted (and knitted and sewed) out of necessity. So, I use the word ‘hobby’ is a loose way, meaning an activity done in spare moments between other tasks. But I have to believe they would have gained the same sense of quiet and used the time for reflection. A seamstress might tat collars and cuffs in the evening to add to her dresses. Such an activity would add unique or artistic touches to everyday wear and would feed the woman’s soul. As would sketching or painting or penning poetry. In other stories, I’ve given men whittling, woodworking, or leather craft hobbies. The characters become richer and more relateable.

In my latest release, A Vow for Christmas, mail-order bride Vika is aware on the train ride from Lincoln, Nebraska, to Gunnison City, Colorado, that she will have to crochet vests and scarves because the mountainous city has a much colder temperature than what she was used to. Then when she arrives, she expands the list to provide items for her new family. 


In the three years since his beloved wife died, rancher Chad Rutherford has done the best for his family. But with his sister leaving the family ranch to get married, he needs to find someone to keep house and tend his kids so he places an ad for a mail-order bride.

Left on her own by her brother’s murder, spinster Vika Carmichael must find a way to life. An ad for a mail-order bride from a widower with small children seems like the perfect fit. Until she arrives in Gunnison, Colorado Territory, and wonders if room for her exists in their hearts.

Will two proud individuals find a way to work together, or will their marriage vows be broken by Christmas?

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  1. Giving hobbies to the characters is a good idea. It makes them more real. I loved the post! The book sounds great, too!

  2. Wonderful post, Linda! My hobbies are sewing and knitting. I was never any good at crochet!

  3. I crocheted YEARS ago (mostly out of necessity)....never found that rhythm and peace you talk about. Might have to take it up again just to see...

    Congrats on your new release!
    Good luck and God's blessings