A Conversation With Hope Toler Dougherty
Hope holds a Master’s degree and taught at East Carolina University and York Technical College. Her novels include Irish Encounter and Mars…With Venus Rising. A member of ACFW, RWA, SinC, she writes for SeriousWriter.com. Residing in North Carolina, she and her husband enjoy visits with their daughters and twin sons.
How do you connect with your characters?
Hope: Several years ago, I took a class with Ramona Richards. She gave a character development chart with almost 200 questions relating to a character’s physical appearance, favorite things, background, occupation, attitude, and goals. The chart ends with several interview questions for the character. I try to complete those questions with as much detail as I can. I don’t use all the answers in a story, but the answers help me know my character. A kaleidoscope may not be mentioned in a scene, but I know one is resting on the character’s end table.
I also use free writing as a get-to-know-you exercise, but I pretend to be the character writing to me, the author. I used this technique with Brett Daniels in Rescued Hearts. His free writing entry began with something like, “I don’t really want to tell you anything. I don’t trust you with my secrets.” He was a tough nut to crack at the beginning of the writing process.
Where do you get the inspiration for your plots?
Hope: Plots come to me in different ways. Irish Encounter began as a daydream. For Rescued Hearts, the first scene began germinating during a bike ride. I live out in the country and ride on two-lane roads. One afternoon, I took a short cut down a dirt path. I know the area, but for just a few minutes I couldn’t see any roads or my house. It was a little creepy. I started thinking what if a bike rider on an old path saw an abandoned house. What if she noticed a little kitten tangled up in vines near the front porch? What if while the bike rider tried to free the kitten, a man dragged her into the house?
Those questions wouldn’t leave me alone, and I started writing the story.
What is one of your favorite ways to connect with readers?
Hope: I try to have a good presence on social media outlets. Facebook is fun, but my favorite way to connect with readers is through speaking engagements, author events and book clubs. Whether I’m the featured speaker or I’m chatting with one person at a book fair booth, I love to talk about the writing process, the inspiration behind my stories, God’s leading in my writing journey, or anything book related. I’m a former English teacher-turned author. I love sharing about books!
Current book: Rescued Hearts
An innocent bike ride leads to a hostage situation, jeopardizing an undercover mission and two stubborn hearts.