Friday, January 27, 2012

Creating Diverse Characters - Ryder Islington

Creating Diverse Characters

I love, and hate, my characters. Getting to know them was what really gelled the plot. See, they mostly all know each other, or used to know each other, or are related to each other even if they don’t know it. They all have secrets. And they all have problems. None are perfectly good or perfectly bad.

From the beginning, I knew five of the characters. I knew the beginning and end of the story. By working on character development, the rest came together. For me, there was natural conflict everywhere I looked. Since giving away the conflicts would probably be a spoiler, I’ll leave that part out, but believe me, this bunch of Southerners definitely have problems.

SSA Trey Fontaine is a thirty-two year old FBI agent who is recovering from being shot in the butt during a drug raid a few weeks before the story begins. His relationships with his mom, dad, godfather, previous heartthrob, and town villain keeps his head whirling. Being addicted to pain medication doesn’t help any.

His godfather, Russell Coleman, is the only Black detective, in the south Louisiana town. He hates Alton Boudreaux, the rich man in town to did an evil thing a few years back. And Coleman’s new partner, Gemini Taylor, is the only female detective willing to work the ugly cases. She has an ulterior motive for working so hard to be hired by this department, in this parish. And with the man she wants to influence. She’s on a mission.

Jaime Boudreaux, Alton’s son, is a service officer at the same department as Coleman and Taylor. He hates Blacks. He hates women in power. He wants to be in control and aspires to greatness—as soon as he’s old enough to become a gun-toting deputy. He’s entitled, arrogant, mean. He only had one brief moment of what he calls love, and the woman involved is dead. He is a suspect in a case very close to Coleman.

Then there are the three children, Drew, a fifteen year old girl, Rocky, a twelve year old boy, and Wile, a six year old boy. Three rattlesnakes who tag team anyone they see as a threat to women or children. Don’t underestimate them. And don’t threaten them. They’re young, but smart and determined. They know almost all the other characters, and they don’t care about titles like deputy, investigator, or rich land owner. One is very talkative, one is almost always silent, and one is coming of age, but still committed to the others. I love sick little Wile. He’s sharp. He’s Huck Finn with attitude. I can’t share Rocky’s story here. It’s too ugly. And Drew, bless her heart, loves children—of course she sees herself as an adult, though only three years older than Rocky.

Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery is receiving rave reviews from readers.

The small town of Raven Bayou, Louisiana explodes as old money meets racial tension, and tortured children turn the table on abusive men. FBI Special Agent Trey Fontaine returns home to find the town turned upside down with mutilated bodies. Working with local homicide detectives, Trey is determined to get to the truth. A believer in empirical evidence, Trey ignores his instincts until he stares into the face of the impossible, and has to choose between what he wants to believe and the ugly truth.

A graduate of the University of California and former officer for a large sheriffs department, RYDER ISLINGTON is now retired and doing what she loves: reading, writing, and gardening. She lives in Louisiana with her family, including a very large English Chocolate Lab, a very small Chinese pug, and a houseful of demanding cats. 

She can be contacted at or visit her blog at Ryder Islington 

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