We authors are told to write what me know, and so far nearly every lead character I’ve created is an artist of some kind. Gillian was a painter. Carrie was a photographer. Most recently, Tonya was a musician. Or they’re like Cassie and Stephanie, and they work with artists. Many of my leading men characters have creative jobs too, such as architects, writers or musicians.
I certainly know art. Some of my earliest memories are of drawing on my bedroom walls. Unfortunately, my mother wasn’t too keen on that, so she got me some coloring books and crayons. As I got older, my favorite toys were paint-by-number kits and a spirograph. Later on, I took up embroidery and sewing. By the time I started high school I was making my own clothes. Then, when I went to college, I got a degree in fine art.
Along with writing, fine art photography is my other passion. A fine art photographer approaches photography the way a painter looks at a canvas. The goal is to create an interesting composition of lights and shadows. I do photography as Gayle Martin. If you’d like to take a look you can see my work at gaylemartinfineartphotography.com.
So, with my background, I suppose it would make sense for my lead characters to have art-related occupations, or otherwise be freelancers of some kind, as I’ve spent most of my working life being self-employed. Fortunately, my editor has plenty of experience in the corporate world. She’s been a real asset in helping me with characters who work so-called, “regular” jobs. I also know retired nurses who’ve been extremely helpful with creating supporting characters who work in the medical field. However, I simply don’t have the background to have a nurse, or a corporate executive, as a lead character.
Thankfully, in my genre, contemporary romance, I really don’t need to get too technical about my character’s occupations. The focus of the story is on the romance. I just need to know enough about their occupations to accurately describe what they do, which for me would be an art related occupation.