STARLA KAYE welcomes Chelle Cordero on Giving Your Characters a Voice

I’m excited to have Chelle Cordero as my guest author today. I was looking at Chelle’s “bio” page on her website and her first line “My name is Chelle Cordero and I am a writer” snagged my attention. It hit me like someone announcing their name and saying and I’m an alcoholic. Odd, I know. But being a writer sometimes is like an addiction…but there is nothing wrong with this addiction. I proudly say that I am Starla Kaye (or any of my other pseudonyms) and I am a writer. Moving on now… Chelle is here today to share a little about herself, her writing, and share with us her thoughts on “Giving Your Characters a Voice.”


How do you respond to someone who says, “You write WHAT?”

My stock answer is “Anything someone will buy.” Then after their sympathetic laughter is over I explain that I have 2 writing personas – I am a novelist who loves to get lost in romantic suspense stories, and I am a freelance journalist writing (non-fiction) for newspapers and magazines. I am one of those lucky people whose full-time job is being a writer.


Do you have cheerleaders supporting you as a writer?

My sister is probably my biggest cheerleader, she is always encouraging and allows me to talk non-stop about characters and plots I create in my mind. I also have a very supportive husband who gave me the time to build a writing business instead of insisting I get a “real job”…  and then there are my (adult) kids who brag about my writing even though they deny it to my face.


Give us two random thoughts about yourself, something that might surprise your readers:

I am a disaster movie addict, I love to watch movies (even BAD ones) about natural disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, meteor strikes, electrical storms, etc. My favorite movies have been Day After Tomorrow, and Dante’s Peak. – I also melt at old Clark Gable movies.

(Starla) Me too! I know it might be creepy to some people, but I love those kind of shows, especially the two you named.


Is there a general theme or message in your books?

Nobody is perfect, we are all fallible. Love and good intentions help conquer all.


How do you get beyond writer’s block?

I change my routine, sometimes just walking away and taking a few deep breaths.


How do you deal with rejection?

I won’t deny there is disappointment, but just as I am not interested in every book on the shelves at the nearest book seller, I understand my book just may not work for the individual I submitted to.


How do you promote your books and yourself as an author?

I use a lot of social media, my website and my blog.


Chelle’s thoughts on Giving Your Characters a Voice

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they walk and talk – in real life and in books. You can give your characters distinctive personalities  with just a few words of dialogue or a habitual gesture.

Maybe your character is a social climber who feels compelled to enunciate her words and pepper her speech with words like “Dahling” or maybe you’re writing about a guy who believes he is the greatest gift to womankind and calls every female “Sweetheart.” You can give your character a trait that is uniquely theirs by using just one or two words consistently in the dialogue and mark them so well that your readers will be able to tell who is talking without the “so and so” said.

Think about phrases that have been popularized in TV and movies – “you got some ‘splaining to do,” “to the moon Alice,” “d’oh,” “cowabunga,” “yippe-ki-yay, motherf–ke,” “yabba dabba do,” and “oh Rob” – each time you hear one of these phrases chances are you have a pretty clear image of a particular character in your mind. When you introduce your character to your readers and make a particular expression or phrase part of them, then your readers will “see” that character every time they read that phrase in your story.

If you are dealing with a character whose lack of education, social standing or mastery of the English language is lacking, they are still going to speak like everyone else for the most part, just infuse their dialogue with the occasional idiom, mispronounced word, or unique phrase that fits their personality. An uneducated adult may use the words “ain’t” or “would of” (instead of would have) occasionally when he or she is speaking; the guy who’s trying to be hip may refer to everyone as “hey dude”; and the non-English speaking character may mix their idioms with literal translations or synonyms which appear out of place (such as “quick food” instead of “fast food”).

If you have an English as the second language  character, there is no need to give every word an accent, just sprinkle an occasional foreign word or pronunciation into the conversation.  “Perhaps mademoiselle would appreciate a simple Bordeaux?” or “The Chihuahua is a leetle dog” is enough to hint at a French or Spanish speaking character. Characters who shout out four letter curse words every time the going gets tough, knocks on wood not to jinx themselves, or begins to stutter under stress have very specific identifiable traits.

Along with dialogue the character’s eye contact, or lack of, can say a lot about their honesty; hold his head high and you’ve instilled a proud streak; let a character jump at every noise and you can almost feel her nervousness. Even if you have two characters who come from similar backgrounds and educations, once you give each of them an unique trait, you’ve made them individuals. Use language and gestures typical of the characterization sparingly, readers should not have to muddle through entire blocks of poor grammar or accented words. A little dab here and there will do it.


 Now let’s talk book specifics about Final Sin...

Title:  Final Sin

Genre: Romantic Suspense

ISBN: 978-1935407133

Publisher: Vanilla Heart Publishing

Buy Link:  Amazon


What was unique to this particular book?

I explore the lives and loves of “everyday heroes” – my main characters are a paramedic (her) and a deputy sheriff (him).

Will there be any sequels to this book?

Although it was written as a stand-alone book, one of the characters in Final Sin, paramedic Matt Garratti, deserved a story of his own. Matt moved on to become a flight medic in North Carolina in Hyphema.



Deputy Sherriff Commander Jake Carson has his hands full… investigation of a brutal multiple homicide, a troubled son and a vindictive ex-wife. He meets young, free-spirited paramedic Julie Jennings. When Julie becomes the subject of an obsession, it puts both of them in danger.



The call had gone out for the ambulance and medics to respond for a female

with a heart condition. They heard the BLS crew sign in as they headed to the scene with their lights flashing and siren wailing.

They were nearing the address they had been dispatched to. Matt deftly

avoided traffic as they came down the road. As they turned the corner, they saw what appeared to be a middle aged well dressed woman standing and arguing with a town police officer. The cop looked exasperated and even embarrassed as he saw the rig pull up.

“If that’s our patient, she seems feisty enough.” Julie said as an aside to Matt as he parked the rig next to the arguing couple. They could hear the siren of the volunteer crew’s ambulance behind them.

“You brought your paddles?” The woman strode purposely over to Matt before he even stepped out of the truck.

Julie got out on her side and came around the truck. “Where’s the patient, ma’am?” She looked around the scene and saw no one else.

“I am! I called for you.” The lady was impatient.

“We got a call that someone was having a heart attack?” The woman didn’t appear to be having any serious problems.

“I never said I was having a heart attack!” She yelled angrily. “I told those stupid jerks at nine-one-one that I needed someone to bring those defib-erator things! The things with the electric paddles. Come on, get them out.”

“Why do we need the paddles?” Julie asked her. Patients were only defibrillated when the heart was beating so rapidly, weakly and irregularly that it was almost not beating at all. This woman’s heart was certainly beating, Julie noted.

The BLS ambulance had come to a stop behind the Medics truck. The first

EMT out of the truck stopped and listened to the woman’s tirade. She glanced at the police officer standing by and was satisfied that despite the woman’s volume, the scene was safe. Then she went to help her partner at the back of the truck.

The irate woman turned to Julie and put her hands on her hips with an exasperated and dramatic sigh. “Because I need to get to the hospital!” She enunciated each word slowly as if she were dealing with an unruly, young child.

“Okay,” Julie kept her voice calm. She refused to feed into this woman’s anxiety. “We can take you. Can you tell us what’s wrong?” Julie noticed the woman back away from her as she approached. She stopped.

“We just need those damn paddle things.”

Matt stepped down from his side of the rig, he was holding a blood-pressure cuff and had taken his scope from around his neck. The woman faced him angrily. She was possibly in her forties or fifties and her hair was done nicely as if she had spent time in a beauty parlor recently. Her coat, although a little heavy for the actual temperature, was clean and her shoes looked like they were in good condition. She was loud and argumentative and even a little unsteady on her feet.

Alarms started going off in Julie’s mind.

He showed her the scope and cuff in his hands. “Ma’am, it would help if we could just get a couple of vitals.” He tried to explain.

“Don’t you people bother to listen? I don’t need you to take anything of mine!”

The vollies had already gotten the gurney from their ambulance and were wheeling it over to the woman. The ambulance driver, a young man, looked to his partner for guidance while approaching this volatile sounding patient.

Looking at them incredulously, she raised her voice. “Put that thing away!

You don’t need that. Just get me what I need, listen to me for a change.”

The crew stopped. The EMT looked towards Julie and Matt for some direction.

“If you would just let these nice folks help you…” The police officer tried to help but it was obvious that he only made the woman angrier.

She turned to him. “Don’t you dare patronize me! I pay my taxes, you’re just my employee. You better show me some respect.”

Julie could see the flush creeping over the young officer’s collar as he held his temper in check. “They are just trying to help you.”

“Then they should just do what I’m telling them to do.”

Julie stepped in. “What is it exactly you want us to do ma’am? Why did you call nine-one-one?”

“I need you to start my car.” At Julie’s puzzled expression, the woman continued yelling. “With those defibbing things you carry. My car won’t start.”



Author Web or Blog Site:  Welcome to Chelle’s World

Facebook:  Chelle Cordero

Twitter:  Chelle Cordero

Amazon Author Page:  Chelle Cordero

Email:  [email protected]


14 thoughts on “STARLA KAYE welcomes Chelle Cordero on Giving Your Characters a Voice

  1. charmaine gordon

    As always Chelle, there’s a wealth of information to be mined from your thoughts. And Starla, you provided a homey atmosphere for discussion. I’ve read all of Chelle’s books and look forward to the next. Thanks, my friends.

  2. Smoky Zeidel

    Excellent, Chelle! Would you believe I went to work at the Sears Tower in Chicago two weeks after the movie, The Towering Inferno, hit the theatres? I wasn’t scared, though–disaster movies are kind of my secret passion, too!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *