Saturday, September 23, 2017

A Memory Full of Characters

This month's topic is about characters I have found memorable. Usually, I remember stories I like by title, series, or author best. I can remember many series I enjoyed, but could probably not name their characters.

I think I've read books since third grade--a helluva long time ago. In those early years, I loved reading about animals, so it is not surprising that animal characters remain lodged in my mind. 

Because I was drawing horses at the time, horse characters, in particular, have synapses links within me. Anne Sewell's title character in Black Beauty has a comfortable residence. While a children's book, Sewell, writing in 1857, wanted "to induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding treatment of horses," which I think I picked up on, especially near the end when I learned what the horse Ginger endured. I think these characters induced respect for all animals in me, not just horses. I read all of Walter Farley's Black Stallion books, too, and Will James' Smokey, the Cow Horse. Indelible mental imprints occurred. 

In my teen year's Johnny and Rab in Esther Forbe's Johnny Tremain made me appreciate history and I continued reading more of it, but more in actual European history. This led me to read the Lymond Chronicles about Lymond Crawford in the 16th century.

Literally, thousands of characters have come and gone since then, but I remember Mary from Georgette Heyer's The Devil's Cub. Mary was a strong and resourceful woman in very trying circumstances, which I believe was an enlightening viewpoint on gender in novels. I'm sure Heyer would be very surprised at all the sex involved in the Regency Romance genre of books she engendered.

What? Only three animals and two humans out of all the reading I've done? I'm surprised. After I'm done here, I'm sure other characters will arise from their mental tombs, but these are the ones I remember best.

Of course, having spent so much time with my own characters, it is hard if not impossible to forget them. Often they throw me flashes on another storyline they deserve. Maybe someday, I tell them. Right now I've got to work on the ones I have started.

For differing viewpoints, check out the following author's blogs on this topic.

Anne Stenhouse
Heidi M. Thomas
Victoria Chatham
Diane Bator
A.J. Maguire 
Judith Copek
Beverley Bateman
Fiona McGier
Skye Taylor
Rachael Kosinski


  1. I'd forgotten about animals. Another of my early reading was Mr. Popper's Penquins - I'd never met a penguin when I read that book, but I sure wanted to. Like you many characters, human and animal have touched me over the years, but the most touching animal was Until Tuesday by Carlos Montelvan - bred and trained to be a service dog, Tuesday had his own soul crushing losses before he was introduced to Carlos. Tuesday inspired me to write my own service dog story, Loving Meg, and to turn over all the royalties from that book to K9s for Warriors here in Florida.

  2. Marquis of Vidal, the Devil's Cub! I really loved it when Mary shot him! I also thoroughly enjoyed These Old Shades, Vidal's sinister father's story. Oh gosh. Now I want to read rather than write today!

  3. Black Beauty, Black Stallion, Will James--yes, all very memorable classics! Oh yes, Sky, Popper's penguins--great example!

    1. I think those early childhood books make important impressions.

  4. Loved your post. And only 3 animals and 2 people - interesting.
    I loved Black Beauty and many other animal stories in my youth but I never thought of them as characters of the book. Interesting.

  5. Hi Rhobin, The wind in the Willows made a profound effect on me when I read it in S1. I think it might be why I write books today. Toad, ratty, mole the weasels. Yep! I'd not thought of animals, but they are so important. anne

  6. Rhobin-- when I was quite young and perhaps in need of a humility check, I read Johnny Tremain and was sort of horrified when Johnny had to deal with getting his hand burned. I wasn't used to a story where the character couldn't magic away his problem or get surgery or something, so I froze. It's a grand book, though, and I reread it every few years. :)

  7. As little girls, I think we all loved Black Beauty. I can see my old copy from where I sit. You are the second blogger this week to mention Georgette Heyer, and now I am really wanting to read her. Thanks for the tip. Love animals. Wind in the Willow was very special.