In all my books I have been able to incorporate real life people and situations I’ve come across. A friend’s mother was in a wheelchair many years ago, paralyzed on one side due to a stroke and having to speak with difficulty out of the side of her mouth. In one of the stories, I made the character a man, in Shadows on the Mountain. I knew first hand how hard it was for my character to speak and be understood. In my first book, Journey to the Well, Marah had a mother in law who was possessed in her old age. This was based on my own grandmother who had been in a cult for many years. My grandmother found Jesus and was healed at a Kathryn Kuhlman evangelist meeting.
In northern California, where we lived for seven years, we experience the full impact of the Brown’s Mountain Fire, having to leave our house within five minutes. We were the first major fire at the time and all the major staff and equipment rolled into our small town. I used that in my book, Smoke Before the Wind. On a bus, walking down the street, in a store, all around us, we see people with characteristics that might fit a character in our books. Some authors write a complete profile on their imaginary character, but I see them in my mind and seem to see how they will react to certain situations. When you need a character for your book, look around you, and consider situations you have been through. They’ll walk into the pages of your book!