Where do characters come from with Pamela Cook

Today I have the delightful rural romance author Pamela Cook visiting. She’s talking about something I’m sure many of you find fascinating – characters and where they come from. I know as a writer and reader I’m always interested to know about other writer’s processes and characters are a HUGE part of writing a novel.

Welcome Pamela… take it away!

pamela cook

Character Inspirations For Essie’s Way

One of the questions writers are sometimes asked is “Where do you get your characters from?” The answer is usually a combination of real life and our imagination and that’s certainly true for the characters in my new novel, Essie’s Way.

So today I thought I’d give you a run-down on where the ideas came from for the two protagonists and a couple of the support cast.

But first of all, here’s a quick outline so you know who’s who:

Miranda McIntyre looks like she has it all sorted. A successful lawyer, she is planning her wedding and ticking off all the right boxes. When searching for something old to go with her wedding dress she remembers an antique necklace from her childhood in the shape of a horseshoe encrusted with pearls. When she asks, her mother denies any knowledge of it. But Miranda is sure it exists. Trying to find answers, she discovers evidence that perhaps the grandmother she thought was dead is still alive.

Ignoring the creeping uncertainty about her impending marriage, and the worry that she is not living the life she really wants, Miranda takes off on a road trip in search of answers to the family mystery but also in search of herself.

A reclusive old woman and a handsome horse trainer help show Miranda what she is missing. Ultimately, she will find that looking back can lead you home.

ESSIE’S WAY is a touching story about finding yourself and learning from past mistakes.


The inspiration for both Miranda and Esther’s characters came from a week long writing course I did years ago called Catch The Whisper. The idea was to write whatever came into your head using a series of prompts which ranged from cue cards to photos to music. In the fragments I wrote that week Miranda started was a I’m-not-going-to-take-it-anymore type of girl who catches her boyfriend in bed with her best friend, has an epiphany and decides it’s time for a sea change. The Miranda in Essie’s Way is a lot more mild-mannered, at least to start with but she is certainly searching for something, and it’s not just her grandmother. She’s young, professional and has the world – apparently – at her feet. The question is: is it the world she wants?


Esther’s character also appeared that week and she appears in the book as she came to me then – playing a melancholy song on her violin as she sits on the verandah of her cottage by the sea. But Esther isn’t all she seems – a bitter old woman hiding away from the world. She’s tough and independent on the outside but underneath her brittle shell is a past filled with love, passion, grief and betrayal. I guess I drew on a lot of the strong women I’ve met in my life who carry on regardless, making the best of what they have, including my own mother. I really enjoyed imagining Esther as a young girl and writing in her voice for the diary section of the book, seeing her evolution, for better or worse.


Belle is Miranda’s best friend and they are total opposites. While Miranda is quite conventional and plays by the rules, Belle is much more of her own person and doesn’t care quite so much for what she “should” be doing. She follows her heart and says it how it is. While Belle doesn’t appear that much throughout the book, she’s a great support and is always there for Miranda when she needs her. The idea for the character didn’t come from any particular person but I’ve often noticed that best friends can have completely different character traits and that’s what I wanted to explore in this relationship.


Vincent is a local horse trainer who Miranda comes across on the beach at Pelican Point. Once again he isn’t based on anyone in particular – if only he was! While he’s tall, dark and gorgeous he has a laid back charm and sense of vulnerability that Miranda finds herself attracted to, despite her engagement to another man. He is kind to Esther and loves horses and animals – what’s not to love! In his relationship with Miranda I wanted to explore the idea of instant attraction – not necessarily love at first sight, but something close to it, something that’s enough to make you wonder.

I hope you enjoyed this insight into the characters. There are a few others in the book who you can hopefully meet between the pages of Essie’s Way. When you do I’d love to know what you think of them.

Thanks for having me on the blog, Rachael.

Happy reading everyone!

essies way

Thanks for that insight Pamela, I’m even MORE eager to get a copy of Essie’s Way now. For all you readers who agree with me, you can grab a copy online at Booktopia, Amazon, iBooks and all other good bookshops 🙂 Be sure to pop on over to Pamela’s website, or visit her on Twitter and Facebook!


One thought on “Where do characters come from with Pamela Cook

  1. Interesting! I find author’s writing processes and how they develop characters, settings etc endlessly fascinating. We’re all so different yet there are always tips you can pick up.

    Fab post, Pamela and Rach. Thanks.

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