Character Sketchs from EVADE — Derek Barton – 2019

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I thought it would be fun and in the spirit of the month to show you some of my characters and their story backgrounds in my upcoming novelette series called EVADE.

Getting geared up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) Challenge which is in November.  This story already has me super excited to write it!

Enjoy!!


DETECTIVE LINDSEY KORREY

Alexandra

(Alexandra Breckinridge)

Character Profile Questions:

What is their name? Lindsey Rose Korrey

How old? 32

What does your character look like? Thin, athletic-build with long reddish-brown hair and gray eyes.

Where does she live? Penn Wynne, a suburb of Philadelphia, PA

Where is the character from? Hinsdale, Suburb of Chicago, IL

What kind of childhood? Lived a typical Midwest life with a happy upbringing. Her mother died early in a car accident, but her father did his best to raise and provide for her and her older sister, Cheryl. He worked as a truck driver. She is driven and has a keen mind for investigating but emotional with kids — has always wanted a child but physically cannot. She recently divorced due to not being able to have children.

What does the character do for a living? Detective for the PPD (Philadelphia Police Department).

How does your character deal with conflict? Her temper can get her in trouble, stress can cause her inner filter to drop. Lashes out when in pain or upset.

Who else is in their life? Ex-husband Jerry Raymond. Her older sister, Cheryl Korrey and Lawson Torv — the serial killer she has been hunting her whole career.

What is your character’s goal or motivation? While in college, her best friend, a nurse, was raped and murdered. The killer and her friend’s body had not been found. This spurred her to make a career change. She is convinced that Lawson Torv “The Nurse Catcher” is the man who killed her.  Now that he is in custody, her new goal is to see the man personally led to the courts and have all his victims receive justice.

Their Status: She has climbed her way to a good position within the department by her drive and will to find the perpetrator. Her work focus has earned her grudging respect. After eleven years, she has finally caught up with Lawson and helped in his capture. Currently, he is being held in California and on his way being extradited to Pennsylvania. With this arrest, she’ll be one of the most respected policewomen in PPD history. While she’s not looking to go higher up in the chain of command, she’s excited to finally move on from this case.

What is the worst thing to happen to her in her life?  Just after she left the police academy, she was assigned to patrol with an old friend of the family, Officer Roderick James. During a late-night robbery, both of them were ambushed and shot. When she came to, she found that her kevlar vest had stopped the shots from hurting her, but James had been shot in the head. While he survived the scene due to her efforts, he had suffered a lot of brain damage. In the months after, he never regained functionality nor even remembered her.  During the Christmas holiday, he died of a brain aneurysm brought on by lasting injuries from the shooting incident. She suffered a lot of anxiety and guilt from this; wondered if she should have let him die with dignity versus a slow drawn-out death.

What is her greatest fear? Losing another partner like Officer James due to a mistake.


OFFICER JOSH BANNON

Jake

(Jake Gyllenhaal)

Character Profile Questions:

What is their name? Joshua Tyler Bannon

How old? 26

What does your character look like? Short dark brown hair, goatee, blue eyes, thin

Where does he live? Jenkintown, Suburb of Philly

Where is the character from? Jenkintown, Suburb of Philly, lives in his late mother’s house.

What kind of childhood? Average. Middle-class family.

What does the character do for a living?  Patrol officer for about three years on the force.

How does your character deal with conflict? He’s a bit impulsive and has a temper.  Passionate about helping people though and will risk his life every time.

Who else is in their life? Patrol officer O’Dell is his best friend but he doesn’t go out or have any other friends.  Has only a golden retriever named Casper.

What is your character’s goal or motivation? Not too ambitious.  He likes his routine and his post. Hasn’t worked out a plan for the next 5 years.

Their Status: Recently got into a little trouble over beating two men that were robbing the homeless people. He caught the two men after they beat one man unconscious and were assaulting his wife.  He’s under an ongoing investigation about the matter.

What is the worst thing to happen to him in his life?  High school sweetheart cheated on him when she went to college. He has problems with trust and commitment.

What is his greatest fear? Being helpless to help someone in his care.


OFFICER SHAWN O’DELL

Michael

(Micheal Cudlitz)

Character Profile Questions:

What is their name? Shawn Karl O’Dell

How old? 30

What does your character look like? He’s Irish, redhead, freckled white skin, green-blue eyes and has a red goatee. Heftier build and a fraction of a limp from being wounded on duty.

Where does he live? Glenside, Suburb of Philly

Where is the character from? South Marketview Heights, a poor suburb of Rochester, NY

What kind of childhood? Average, not middle class but not exactly poor either.  Has three older brothers. They were a bit rough on him until he got bigger and could beat them. He looks more like his father than his mother.

What does the character do for a living?  Supervising patrol officer

How does your character deal with conflict?  Levelheaded, a tad stubborn.  Pretty traditional thinker and conservative in religious and political beliefs.

Who else is in their life? Recently married — less than two years. They are thinking of having kids.

What is your character’s goal or motivation? After Josh moves up, he’ll either put in for a post with the training department or quit for a private security firm.  Feels there’s too much of a chance he won’t be there for his new wife and possible children.

Their Status: Patrols and trains Officer Bannon.

What is the worst thing to happen to him in his life?  During a car chase, he was hit by a civilian car that broke his leg. The leg didn’t heal very well but the civilian also died and that haunts him some.

What is his greatest fear? He either kills an innocent person or gets killed on duty which he feels that the chances of this are getting more and more likely.


RORY PHELPS

Levi-Miller

(Levi Miller)

Character Profile Questions:

What is their name? Rory Dillon Phelps

How old? 7

What does your character look like? Small 3’4”, brown hair and brown eyes, with a short bowl haircut.

Where does he live? He did live in a suburb of Philly but disappeared in a mine in 2016.

Where is the character from? Edgewood, Suburb of Philly

What kind of childhood? It was up and down for him as his father was abusive and a drunk. He has a great sister, Bethany, who he loved completely.

What does the character do for a living? Had just started second grade in school.

How does your character deal with conflict? Rory will sneak out and find a hiding spot whenever he’s threatened or stressed.

Who else is in their life? Bethany was the only person in his life that mattered as his mother was too wrapped up in keeping her abusive husband happy and calm.

What is your character’s goal or motivation? REDACTED TO PROTECT YOU FROM SPOILERS — HEH!

Their Status: At the beginning, in 2019, Rory will appear on a street corner, wearing the winter clothing he’d been captured in. He won’t speak and waits to attract attention. He doesn’t look like he’s aged in the three years.

What is the worst thing to happen to him in his life? Getting abducted and taken away from his family.

What is his greatest fear? AGAIN REDACTED… Nothing to see here. Please move along.


BETHANY PHELPS

Mackenzie

(Mackenzie Foy)

Character Profile Questions:

What is their name? Bethany Anne Phelps

How old? 12

What does your character look like? Sandy brown hair, skinny, glasses and brown eyes

Where does she live? Drexel Hill, Suburb of Philadelphia, PA

Where is the character from? Edgewood, PA

What kind of childhood? Average until the death of her family.

What does the character do for a living? Student. She’s kept to herself mainly and often feels ostracized by her classmates. The weird “Mine Incident” has put a stigma upon her.

How does your character deal with conflict? She internalizes a lot of her stress and doesn’t show much emotion. The experience of the mine has created a lot of PTSD and nightmares.

Who else is in their life? Lives with her new guardian, Kenneth Gerard. They met in the mines and survived the experience together.

What is your character’s goal or motivation? She has no aspirations right now as the “real” world seems bizarre to her now that she has witnessed its supernatural underbelly. Everyday life has become surreal.

Their Status: She’s stuck in limbo; growing up without her family. It’s hard on her not having her brother. She feels she failed him but won’t speak with anyone about the event. One, no one would really believe her except those that were there and two, she doesn’t want to relive the experience.

What is the worst thing to happen to her in her life?  Of course, seeing her mother killed (not so much her father) and seeing her brother dragged off by some beast dog… She hasn’t found a way yet to move on. Her guardian also fights with his own inner demons that attached to him from their shared trauma in the mines.

What is her greatest fear?  The creature some call Mr. Boots… the one who wiped out her family.


KENNETH GERARD

Kenneth

(Judge John Deed)

Character Profile Questions:

What is their name? Kenneth Byron Gerard

How old? 59

What does your character look like? Grey hair, glasses, cane for walking, thin and green eyes.

Where does she live? Drexel Hill, a suburb of Philadelphia, PA

Where is the character from? Norwalk, CT

What kind of childhood? His family has always been wealthy. However, Kenneth and his father were never on good terms, mainly due to his “outbursts”. Kenneth is a psychic and has had episodes or visions all his life. He tried once to discuss the matter, but his father exploded and beat him — something he had never done before and hasn’t since. Kenneth never forgot that anger though. He later discovered that a great aunt of his had the “gift” but was burned for her abilities.  The family always laughs at or gets uncomfortable discussing the subject.

What does the character do for a living? At an early age, he left for college, became a history and philosophy teacher. Teaches at Constitution High School in Center City, PA. He has a trust fund that his family maintains for him, but he tries to live mainly on his own resources.

How does your character deal with conflict? He is pretty down-to-earth for someone who has lived with privilege. Tackles problems head-on and with focus. He is patient and sympathetic, but after the “Incident”, his nights have been plagued with vivid nightmares and he doesn’t sleep well.

Who else is in their life? He also never had children, so taking care of Bethany has been a taxing endeavor for him.  He loves the girl as if she were his own, but he can’t get through her own wall. He knows that she is struggling to deal with her grief and trauma.

What is your character’s goal or motivation? He has been working for years on a historical novel about the Civil War and the struggles of the families caught in the middle of it. His visions have given him some insight which he is portraying as fiction when it was actually someone’s true life.  The book has been on hiatus since the Incident and he’s struggling to pick it back up. The current goal is to find a way to get past the mine horror and to provide a good life for Bethany.

Their Status: Nightmares, horrible visions and specters that haunt his days and nights. Tries to keep his fears and problems from Bethany, but she has commented she has heard him scream at night.

What is the worst thing to happen to him in his life?  The Mine Incident – seeing several people torn to pieces and several visions of what became their fate.

What is his greatest fear? He doesn’t know what the creature was that came after them in the mine and doesn’t understand what Mr. Boots wanted. He worries that he’ll come again someday for Bethany.


LAWSON TORV “The Nurse Catcher”

vinnie-jones

(Vinnie Jones)

Character Profile Questions:

What is their name? Lawson Daniel Torv

How old? 44

What does your character look like? Broad-shouldered, short black hair, white with blue eyes. Devilish grin.

Where does he live? Since he’s a serial killer, he moves around a lot as a drifter to reduce the chances of suspicion. Latest residence in San Diego, CA.

Where is the character from? New South Wales, Australia.

What kind of childhood? Lived in a very abusive family. After his mother abandoned them, his father eventually killed his little brother and nearly killed him one night. As he grew up in foster care, his anger became directed at his mother who was a nurse. He cannot forgive her for leaving them and punishes his mother with every kill.

What does the character do for a living? Mainly survives by breaking into isolated houses, kills the owners and keeps their money, valuables, etc.

How does your character deal with conflict? He doesn’t handle it well, usually going into a fit of rage or laughter.

Who else is in their life? The only people in his life are his victims which he will keep primarily a week if possible and the detectives constantly after him.

What is your character’s goal or motivation? He has no current pressing goal other than escaping or eluding police. He likes his life and thrives on punishing his mother.  He left Australia after killing four nurses near Sydney. Before he could be tracked down and identified, he left the country and came to America. After San Diego, he had plans to fly to Germany but was caught in the airport.

Their Status: The press has dubbed him The Nurse Catcher due to the pattern of nurses among his known kills across the country. He has slain 12 nurses (plus 4 in Australia) and 7 homeowners. No remains have ever been found. After his capture in San Diego, he has been held in California at High Desert Maximum Security Prison. He’s awaiting extradition by plane back to the start of his killing spree in Pennsylvania.

What is the worst thing to happen to him in his life? Losing his brother and being beaten by his father.

What is his greatest fear? Forever locked up and not being able to kill. He would do anything at this point to be free once again. ANYTHING!


***If you are interested in learning just what was this “Mine Incident”, please feel free to purchase IN FOUR DAYS ($6.99 paperback, $1.99 ebook or $4.87 audiobook) on sale at Amazon, Kindle and Audible.com!!***

Sentinels of the Shield (Character Backgrounds – Rough Drafts) — Derek Barton – 2019

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So, as you know, I am working diligently on the development of the third and final book for my Wyvernshield fantasy series.  Right now the working title is tentatively called Swimming in the Ashes.   

To be completely honest with you, I have been stuck in my outlining process and overwhelmed by the complexity of the story I want to tell you.  In an effort to work out the kinks, I have done a deep dive into the resource and reference material I will need to tell the tale.

I thought you might like a sneak peek and look behind the curtain at how I world-build.  Here is an excerpt of my work, delving into some minor characters that will be introduced in the book.  These ten people will all be in the lands of Tayneva (some old regions and some yet explored).  In The Bleeding Crown, I got to explore quite a bit of Aberrisc.  Now in this book, I want to explore much more of the globe of Tayneva, giving you all a glimpse of the lands, forests, seas, and mountains where my characters live and breathe.

To better understand these little bios, I need to provide you a snapshot of the politics of Tayneva at present.  Currently, there are thirteen unique countries or areas on the two land masses of Tayneva.  The larger continent is home to two political affinities:  the Keliada Alliance and Rovmantysa Front.  Their political and military agendas have set them apart for generations.  The balance for global power had been tilted mainly toward King Jehah II’s Keliada Alliance when they gained the new allegiance of the war-tribes of the Kraat Mountains. However, Wyvernshield, a former ally to the Keliada Alliance has cut off all connections and remains in question.

In these short background stories, you may note the (A), (N), and (E) designations.  These letters stand for that specific land’s political stance.  (A) for an ally to the Keliada Alliance. (N) for a nation that has neutral political connections — Risa, Corrta Vasts and the city-state of Wyvernshield hold this designation. (E) is a known enemy and allied with the Rovmantysa Front.

Sentinels of the Shield:

Areth Ryeton – Profession: Blacksmith – Lives in the small city of Y’bora, Nyemante (A). An athletic, young man of 24 years, black hair and blue eyes. Due to being orphaned at the age of three, he has a strong passion for justice and protection. His parents were killed on a family trip by road bandits. He works hard at making weapons “to protect the innocent”. His skills have earned him a small shop with an apprentice. He doesn’t have any children, but his girlfriend is one of the city guard. He has average intelligence, but a very good sense of humor.

Shondra Basque – Profession: Mending Nurse – Lives in the farming village of Korael, Risa (N).  An attractive slender woman of 28 years, honey brown hair with vibrant green eyes. A very giving woman who has worked her whole life at developing her Mending skills. She has dreams of one day going to a larger Mending School perhaps in Keliada or Trudora. Works in a local hospelle. Her husband and son are forest scouts/hunters.

Shei Goldendaar – Governor’s daughter – Lives in a small town called Rouse Gardens, Rovmantysa (E). Short for her seventeen years but has long brown hair and blue eyes. In spite of her family’s wealth, she is very down to earth in spirit and attitude. Often has a sarcastic wit. She always gives of herself and volunteers her days helping the local townsfolk. She studies history and politics in hopes that she can make a difference in the world. She has ambitions of being a leader as her father and maybe even more. Her mother died shortly after her birth, so her father is very over-protective and sometimes controlling.

Komay Naha – Profession: student teacher of the blind – Ramanon, Risa (N). Only eight years old with reddish brown hair and green eyes. Exceptionally bright and cheerful, but a bit insecure due to a large smattering of freckles all over her face and arms. She has been working with her mother at a school for the blind for less than a year. Her father died defending Wyvernshield in the Viestrahl Horde Battle. They fled Wyvernshield and moved to Risa.

Broud Vaesko – Profession: Candlemaker – Lives in Falldew, Trudora (A). Seventy-two, he is a wisened ex-soldier living in semi-retirement as a candlemaker. He has white hair and brown eyes. He is outgoing and has a dry wit sense of humor. His shop does alright, but he mainly works for the interaction with people as he has no family. Has an old, female collie dog, Kayray, which he worries about should something ever happen to him.

 

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New Character Sketch #2… — Derek Barton – 2017

Here is another sneak peek at an upcoming character for The Bleeding Crown, sequel to Consequences Within Chaos.

 

Scars

 

Character Profile Questions:

What is their name? Only known as Scars. He lost his birth name in battle and will never use the real one again.

How old? 48 years old (He is one of the species called Flohki which live on average to 110 years old.   Their upper torso features are mainly bird, the rest humanoid.)

What does your character look like? White feathered head, broken beak, scars running down left cheek and multiple scars along the top and back of his head. He has the muscular body of a weightlifter and the head features of a seagull and icy blue eyes.

Where does he live? During an ambush along the Flohki borders, he was captured and enslaved by a roving Thette Giant Clan. He is the personal slave of Korba-Tarn and bodyguard of the giant’s mate, Frest-Alae.

Where is the character from? Scars grew up in a fishing community called Maxnen Vale. The Flohki continent called Cammiana consists endless grasslands surrounding lush swamps. The Flohki are divided in a civil war with the Pesha-aar due to territory and nesting land disputes. This disorganization has made them very vulnerable to the Quietus Army and the Ebon Throne.

What kind of childhood? Through his first decade of life he was happy and worked hard alongside his older brothers on the docks and the fishing boats. When times got tough and his family had misfortunes (a typhoon destroyed their small fleet of boats and home), the parents were forced to turn there children over to the Elder Leaders of the Ledatd Nest. Conscripted as “Bre-ox-da” which means “battleborn”, he and his brothers learned and trained in military combat. The Bre-ox-da are navy warriors that protect the coast lines. They were expected to serve for life as an “honor”.  The Flohki don’t believe in allowing anyone to be homeless, however they do require some form of restitution. The parents would not be able to feed the boys and themselves so the Leaders took the boys and the parents were given shelter and food for their remaining lives.

What does the character do for a living? Scars was rising in  the ranks as a military bodyguard and escort for officers of the Ledat Nest. He was also reknown for his horse combat skills and martial arts. Between assignments he trained many of the new Bre-ox-da in hand-to-hand fighting and military strategy.

How does your character deal with conflict? He has a knack for observation, studying enemy patterns and movements and uses patience to gather information for when he does strike or make a decision. Methodical and full of purpose. Being reduced to a slave and being dishonored, he is broken and submissive to the Thettes.

Who else is in their life? He has no contact with his race or family. A pair of Duradramyn survive enslaved in the slave pens with him.

What is your character’s goal or motivation? He knows that he should escape, but he also feels so lost and without direction, he has not yet discovered any reason to leave.

Their Status: Surrendering in battle means you lose your title and name forever. On a mission to escort his assigned officer, they were ambushed by the Thettes. As the unit leader, Scars surrendered as a sacrifice to allow his unit and brothers time to escape capture or death. Scars cannot ever regain his status and knows he will be ostracized by his race.  Part of him feels that being a slave  is almost proper punishment for not dying in battle.

New Character Sketch #1… — Derek Barton – 2017

Behind-the-scenes look at a new character coming up in my new novel, The Bleeding Crown.

This is a rough draft of her background story and her status before the events unfold in the book.  (Keep in mind that I may include all or selections of this character sketch.  It falls under the option “Author’s Choice”! ha)

Ama’yen of the Yuul

(Actress – Nadine Njeim)

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Character Profile Questions:

How old? 22 years old

What does the character look like? Ama’yen has smooth, raven hair, tan skin, large feline-type silver eyes. Her race known as the Yuul all have the feline eye features and some have small cat-like ears.  She is in prime health and young.  However, the Yuul do not live as long as other races and usually have only a lifespan of forty to fifty years.

Where is the character from? The Yuul live on the Island Nation of Fhey Ras, a chain of thick, lush jungles and mountain range islands. Their capital city, Braama thrives in the crater of a dead volcano. Giant Tarro Black Eagles live along the tops of these mountains and have been domesticated by the Yuul.

How does your character deal with conflict? Ama’yen has become a survivalist and pragmatic. She will do whatever is necessary to keep her brothers alive and to complete her missions. Rare to show emotion and rarer to anger. Strong-minded, very rational and focused.

Where does she live? After the execution of her father, the Yuul surrendered to the Quietus Armies.  She was forced to become a formidable enforcer for the Ebon Throne. Now as a powerful sorceress, she performs detailed and intricate shadow missions — espionage and capturing enemies or persons of interest.  Ama’yen’s younger twin brothers are held as captives which keeps her loyal and devout.

Does the character have any unique or special abilities?  Ama’yen can call upon red, lightning elemental spells, but her greatest gift she is born with is the ability to magically clone herself for a temporary period. This allows herself to do multiple tasks all at once — cast several spells or fight hand to hand.  She can clone up to four forms of herself that will last up to fifteen minutes or until the clone suffers too much damage. This can only happen two times a day and she suffers crippling fatigue from this endeavor.

Who else is in their life?  She leads a small coven of other female Yuul sorcerers called the Rohax. She does have a lover, a female Yuul Beast-Master, Keseli.  She trains the Tarro and Ama’yen’s hunting beasts, the Panzurs (pitbull-panthers hybreds). Ama’yen has no intention of any true, long-term romance with Keseli. They flirt and use each other for their needs, but she has no future plans for herself or with anyone.

The character’s status?  As a Quietus enforcer, she has done well for herself and is favored with rewards often for her excellent service. Due to her obsessive determination, she rarely makes mistakes or unfulfills her missions. This has earned her many enemies as well as an almost legendary fearsome reputation. She will not be overtly evil or cruel, just business-like and unmoved by any pleas or begging.  No one’s life is above her brothers’ lives.  Her worry over her brothers keeps her locked in a private mental cell.

What is your character’s goal or motivation? She hopes to one day earn her twin brother’s freedom. She will not allow herself to think past this goal or have hope for a future for herself until then. In her mind, she will always be enslaved to The Bleeding Crown and the tyranny of the Quietus.

 

 

Finding the Character Within… — Derek Barton

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Those words literally scream with a story, a background of tormented history.  This person’s agony and pain are their whole world.  It motivates their actions, taints their decisions and monopolizes their every thought.  It makes you ask why?  What happened?  And when you are working up your story or novel, you have to have that level of intimacy and deep understanding of what drives him or her.  You want to know the why behind it all.  As the writer, you need to know the truth and the source.

This all of course ties into what I was talking about in my last blog, Where Your Path May Lead… As with world-building, knowing each facet of your characters is crucial to making the story come alive in the reader’s mind.  Overall, every novelist or writer wants to carry their readers away and keep them immersed in their land or story.  It’s the whole reason we live to write!

An unforgivable mistake and the fastest way to breaking a reader’s immersion is having your hero and/or villain act out of character.   When they do something that is abnormal or perhaps even far-fetched, questions immediately jump at the reader and they are going to want to know why.  When the reader is stepping out of the story to ask themselves questions or to wonder about the hero’s actions, how can they continue in your world?  How are they focused any longer on your story?

They are many great ways to build and to delve into your characters on the internet.  I have found a couple that I use and I have added my own questions that help me explore the character’s fears, goals, dreams or even hatreds.

You start off with the basics:  name, age, height & weight, hair & eye color, race.  Then you go into the background:  What do they do for a living?  Where do they live?  Who is close to them in their life?   Now go deeper:  What is their current goals or motivation?  How do they deal with conflict?  What was their childhood like?  Do they have anything in their past they are proud or ashamed of?

Another great resource I found, came from the writer Michael A. Stackpole who has written several Battle Tech novels and eight Star Wars novels himself — he crafted and presented in a writer’s workshop, Twenty-One Days to a Novel.  It is a fantastic series of exercises to learn and develop your characters. Here are the first four “days” to show you what he is talking about:

Day One:  Write a single sentence about a character in five areas of his life.  Subjects ranging from Romance, Jobs, Financial Situation, Education, Religion, Health or even Hobbies.

Day Two:   Write two more sentences on each of the above areas to create a paragraph.  These sentences should explain and support what has gone before.

Day Three:  Write a single sentence concerning each of the above areas that is in opposition to the previous paragraph, exposing the dark side of things, or the silver lining.

Day Four:  Add two more sentences the above single line expanding and explaining in a paragraph.

As you can see they are simple and focused directives, but they have a lot of potential in helping you learn about your protagonist or villain.  He adds examples and further details on how this will give you material to work with and give you the necessary motives for your characters.  Highly recommend his work and recommend you get it on his official website:  Stormwolf.com

You won’t have to do this with every character in your novel, of course, but the main ones or the ones with critical elements in your story, you will want to spend the extra time and effort with.  Learn not only their private history, but their troubled future.

Take a magnifying glass to the character and learn who they are — it will make your characters more believable, their actions seem authentic and ultimately your work that much more richer!

If you  have other resources you use to build up your character backgrounds I would love to hear about it.  What other questions do you ask or use?