Meet Stephanie Ellis

© Can Stock Photo / aletia

a lead character in The Letter

Stephanie Ellis, a lead character in my contemporary romance novel, The Letter, has a lot of spunk, and she’s not afraid to call it as she sees it. A legal secretary, Stephanie has been in a relationship Danny for some time. She wants to know where their relationship is going, but whenever she brings it up, he quickly changes the subject. 

Their relationship will soon takes an unexpected turn when Stephanie accidentally stumbles on a card an old girlfriend sent to Danny. Her best friend thinks the sender is nothing more than a lonely ex, but Stephanie remains unconvinced. Is she really an ex? Or has Danny been seeing his old girlfriend on the side? The old girlfriend, however, will soon be the least of her worries as her entire world will soon spirals out of control. And while things aren’t necessarily as they appear, she’ll make a rash decision which changes her life forever.

Stephanie is a purely fictitious character. However, the opening chapter of The Letter is based on a real-life event that happened to a close friend many years ago. 


Marina Martindale

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Meet Danny Woodruff

Photo of a businessman wearing glasses.
© Can Stock Photo / barsik
 a lead character in The Letter

Danny Woodruff, a lead character in my contemporary romance novel, The Letter, is my most complicated character to date. He’s hardworking and ambitious. His goal is to work his way up the corporate ladder, regardless of what it takes to get there. He also in love with Stephanie. At least in his own way. Unfortunately for her, Danny has a problem. He’s haunted by not one, but two, women from his past. 

The Letter begins with Danny and Stephanie in a long-term relationship. Stephanie is ready to make a commitment. She wants marriage and a family. However, every time she brings it up, Danny changes the subject. He’s perfectly happy with the status quo. In fact, he’s not sure if he even wants a wife and family.

Things will suddenly change when Stephanie accidentally stumbles on a love letter to Danny from an old girlfriend. As the story unfolds we learn more about Danny’s past and his struggle to overcome it. However, the ending may not be what you were expecting. 

Danny is a composite character loosely based on several men I’ve known in the past. He may not be my most likable lead character, but he’s probably the most realistic.

Marina Martindale

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Meet Rachel Bennett

A woman with blonde hair sitting in front of a computer.
© Can Stock Photo / oksun70
a lead character in The Stalker

Rachel Bennett, a lead character in my contemporary romance novel, The Stalker, has a serious problem. A man from her past is obsessed with her, and he intends to have her at all costs.


Rachel has recently returned to her hometown of Tucson, Arizona, where she is attending her ten-year high school reunion. She’ll soon be reintroduced to Shane MacLeod, a fellow classmate whom she briefly met while serving on the yearbook committee. Rachel may not remember Shane, but he certainly remembers her. As they’re busy getting reacquainted, another man from Rachel’s past suddenly reappears. Craig Walker, is a former coworker who’s been stalking and harassing her for years.

Rachel has tried her best to stop Craig’s harassment, but the system keeps failing her. Finally, with Shane’s help, things appear to be working in her favor. But unknown to both of them, Craig is about take his revenge, and when he does, Rachel’s life will never be the same.


Rachel is loosely based on a friend who was once hounded for years by a former colleague. However, she wasn’t afraid to push back.


Marina Martindale

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Meet Shane MacLeod

a lead character from THE STALKER

A young businessman holding a smartphone.
© Can Stock Photo / boggy

My editor loved Shane, one of the lead characters in my contemporary romance novel, The Stalker. She thought he was the best leading man since Alex Montoya, from my contemporary romance novel, The Deception. She has a point. Both men will do whatever it takes to protect and defend the women they love, and both were the nerdy kids when they were young.


Rachel and Shane attended the same high school, but they had different circles of friends. Shane hung out with a couple of other nerdy kids, and they formed The Math Club. Rachel was on the yearbook committee, and she took their club photo for the yearbook. She may not have noticed Shane, he certainly noticed her. Unfortunately, he was too shy to pursue her.

Shane and Rachel would meet again at their ten-year class reunion. Over the past decade, Shane has gone from a nerdy teenager to a handsome, accomplished man. He soon spots Rachel and invites her to join him at his table. She accepts the invitation, and the two quickly become friends. Little they know, however, that another man from Rachel’s past intends to destroy her, and he will stop at nothing to get to her.


Shane is a purely fictitious character. By the way, if you liked, The Deception, you’ll like TheStalker. Along with similar leading men, both leading women have enemies who intend to destroy them at all costs. There’s also a supporting character who appears in both books.

Marina Martindale

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Meet Alex Montoya

a lead character in The Deception
A young man with curly blond hair.
© by Fotolia

Alex Montoya, a lead character in my contemporary romance novel, The Deception, is likable and sexy. He’s strong yet quirky and vulnerable at the same time. The American-born son of a Spanish immigrant father, Alex is American in every way. His father, however, still clings to Old World customs and traditions. This creates plenty of friction between the two of them.


Alex and Carrie have a friendship which goes all the way back to the fourth grade. They remained friends through high school, but drifted apart when they attended colleges on opposite ends of the country. Ten years later Carrie deeply regrets letting Alex go. After her identity is stolen, and she’s accused of a serious wrongdoing as a result, a friend arranges for her to meet with a bright young attorney who can help her. Much to her surprise, that bright, young attorney is none other than her long-lost best friend, Alex.


I created Alex in part as homage to a friend who was the first American born child of Italian immigrant parents. While proud of her heritage, she too sometimes found herself in conflict with her parents whenever they tried to impose their Old World expectations on her. His other inspiration comes from a real-life cousin who’s an attorney and dedicated family man. In fact, the book is dedicated to him. 


If I had to describe Alex in one word, it would be loyal. He’s the kind of man who’s willing to go the extra mile for the people he cares about, while not expecting anything in return. That’s what makes him such a likeable character, as well as a positive role model.


Marina Martindale

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Meet Carrie Daniels

© Can Stock Photo / photography33
a lead character from The Deception

I wanted Carrie Daniels, a lead character in my contemporary romance novel, The Deception, to have a girl-next-door quality about her. Judging by the comments I’m receiving from reviewers, I must have hit my mark.

A freelance photographer and former child model, Carrie’s entire world is about to come crumbling down. Her mother suffered a debilitating stroke, and Carrie went from riches-to-rags once her mother’s insurance ran out. Her financial calamity, however, is only the beginning of her problems. Her significant other is about to dump her. Once that happens, she’ll be left homeless and vulnerable as a former mentor seizes the opportunity to exploit her for her own selfish gains.

Carrie experiences both sides of infidelity. First she’ll learn that significant other has been unfaithful to her. Then she’ll meet Scott, a married man who presents himself to her as single and available. Carrie leaves the relationship once she realizes things aren’t adding up, but by then it will be too late as Scott’s wife seeks revenge. Yet despite her troubles, Carrie remains resilient as she tries to make the best of what she can. She’s the kind of character you can root for; sweet on the outside, but strong on the inside.

Carrie is a fictitious character, although I’ve put a little of myself into her. Photography is one of my life’s passions, and when I young I dreamed of becoming a model.

Marina Martindale

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Meet Ian Palmer

a lead character in THE REUNION

(c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / photography33

Ian Palmer first appears in my contemporary romance novel, The Reunion, as a middle-aged man. He has had a successful career as an architect, working his way to a top position with a large firm. His personal life, however, has been less than stellar. Ian married the wrong woman for the wrong reasons, and the marriage ended badly. Now his life is about to change. He has a second chance with Gillian, his long-lost love. However, his new-found happiness will soon be put to the test as Ian struggles to balance Gillian, parenthood, and his career, which is about to come to an unexpected and untimely end.

Ian also appears in the story as a young man. During the flashback chapters he’s an outgoing but ambitious college student who meets Gillian, the girlfriend of one of his classmates. The two quickly become friends. Later on, they will become more than friends. Unfortunately, Ian’s ambition and desire to succeed will be their undoing.

The inspiration for this younger Ian comes from someone I once knew, years ago. His real life inspiration really was an architecture student, and the scene where Ian and Gillian first meet is based on a real-life event. This is why Ian will always be one of my favorite characters. There are some people we simply never forget. Of course Ian Palmer wasn’t his real name, and the character has his own unique personality. All of my characters, whether they are inspired by real people or not, are unique individuals. That’s what makes creating them so much fun.

Marina Martindale

 
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