Families: Creating Character Backgrounds for Series Books

hisladyashlynn200X300_72dpi   I recently went to a family reunion and met around sixty people I’ve never seen or heard of before. That’s always interesting. And I learned a lot of quirky details about the long-dead relatives that make the family unique.

For example the spelling of our last name changed constantly, which makes tracing family genealogy tricky. Sometimes there were two “l”s and sometimes there was only one “l.” Even a pair of twin brothers did that, with one using one “l” and the other using two “l”s. What’s that about?

Also, I knew my current family is stubborn (of course not me, lol), but the older generations took that trait to extremes. Remember the Hatfield vs. McCoy feud? My family was part of the bloodiest feud in Kentucky history for three years in the late 1800’s. The state militia was even called three times to the town where most of the feud took place. At one point they nearly killed off all of both families.

I have never used these interesting little details in stories that I have written, mainly because I didn’t know about them until now. But I’m trying to figure out how to use some quirky family details that I learned in upcoming books. Have you ever thought about what little odd details are in your family? Some that might help build an interesting character?

As a writer of multiple book series, I create in-depth character/family backgrounds that I refer to as I write each story. Pieces of those backgrounds eventually get woven into the series. It would be easier on me, the author, to simply dump all of the information explaining the family history right at the beginning. But a reader wouldn’t appreciate it, and they wouldn’t be able to tie certain details learned too early into later story developments. Information should be revealed in the appropriate places at the right time.

I am currently writing the second book in my Regency series for Blushing Books, Abigail’s Earl. But I still haven’t come up with a good name for the series. Basically each of the five books involve the Duke of Claymore’s grown children.

The Duke of Claymore had a complicated relationship history involving two women he married (at different times, both now dead) and the true love of his life (his English mistress, who was framed and sent to America, eventually giving him three children), who refused to marry him. All of his grown children are in England at this point. The three American-born ones struggle with fitting in and being tolerated let alone accepted.

His Lady Ashlynn was the first book in the series.


Lady Ashlynn Remington is the youngest of twin sisters born to her English father’s American mistress. She is also the most headstrong of his three daughters and two sons. She resisted coming with him to England, disliking the English ways and especially displeased with English nobility. She is determined to return to America and the man she’d hoped to marry. Her father, though, is equally determined to keep her here. When she meets a handsome, powerful duke at one of the balls, she is attracted and resistant at the same time. But he promptly asks for her hand in marriage and, against her desires, her father eagerly accepts. She won’t give up her plans so easily…

Twice married, widowed, and still without an heir, Blaine Wellingsworth, the Duke of Ashcroft, knows from the their introduction that the spirited Lady Ashlynn will be his next bride. Never has he been so drawn to a woman. He will not take “no” for an answer. It might take some doing, patience, and even a well-applied hand, but she will be his wife. And this passionate young woman will learn to love him as much as he does her.

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3 thoughts on “Families: Creating Character Backgrounds for Series Books

  1. Eva Lefoy

    I don’t have any exciting details in my own family. But there’s always a hotbed of psychological stuff to draw from in any family. Good luck on the new book!

  2. Allison Knight

    I used location and the fact that my grandparents home was part of the underground railroad in the US before and during the civil war for my first novel, in part because I thought you were supposed to write what you know. I wish you luck with your titles. That can be difficult.


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