Christy Hayes on Choosing Real Careers for Your Fictional Characters - J. Kenner

Christy Hayes on Choosing Real Careers for Your Fictional Characters

Please welcome Christy Hayes to the blog!

Have you ever wondered how authors write with authority about so many occupations when they’re…writers? If you’ve ever read Nora Roberts (I’m a huge fan), you’re probably as amazed as I am that she knows so much about dog training, security systems, fire fighting, animal conservation, and hundreds of other professions.

Golden Rule Outfitters Series by Christy HayesMy Golden Rule Outfitters series features characters that are a fly fisherman, a rafting guide, and the owner of a ski shop. I’ve fished, rafted, and skied, but to say I know enough to write a book would be stretching the truth. When I sat down to start the series, I got online and ordered some books.

My research for Book 1, Mending the Line, started with The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fly Fishing by Michael D. Shook. Once I’d read the first few chapters, I hit the river for a one-on-one lesson with my fly fishing husband. I’ve never taken instruction well from the man I promised to love, honor, and cherish, so after I wrestled the rod from his hands, I realized success would require more than the hour I was willing to commit. Even though I didn’t catch a fish, I understood the skills and patience required for the job and that was enough to get my fingers moving on the keyboard.

For book 2, Guiding the Fall, I ordered The Complete Whitewater Rafter by Jeff Bennett. I’ll confess I only skimmed this book because my family and I had rafted enough times for me to fudge my way through the lingo. We even fell into the water on one trip, so I know first hand how the cold water can steal your breath! I’d also written a story a few years before about a rafting guide, so I felt qualified enough to write about rafting.Whitewater Rafting

Book 3, Taming the Moguls, takes place at the very beginning of Colorado’s ski season and my characters are too busy fighting a proposed commercial development and handling their romantic entanglements to worry about the ski shop. My husband and I have both torn our ACL’s while skiing, so we’re familiar with the process of fitting skies and the equipment that’s available for sale in a ski shop.

One thing I’ve learned about writing various professions is that I enjoy picking careers I want to understand. I’ve written about architects, green builders, ranchers, photographers, piano teachers, museum workers and lawyers—all professions that somewhat interest me. I don’t need to know how to perform the jobs I write about, but I need to know enough to make it sound like I do. Research is key and when researching a topic I’m interested in, research can be fun.

My next series features college students with diverse majors and I’ve had fun researching degrees, some of which I never knew existed. I love my job because I get to learn about and sometimes experience a variety of professions. If you were writing about a fictional character and could decide their career, what would you pick?

Author Christy HayesChristy Hayes is the author of ten romance and romantic women’s fiction titles. She lives outside Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two children and two dogs. You can connect with Christy at her website, on twitter, her Facebook page, and her blog, Women Unplugged.

A big thanks to Christy for guest blogging! So what careers would you pick for a fictional character? Let us know in the comments section!



Nancy Goldberg Levine

Interesting post and different careers for your characters. Mine are lawyers, doctors, nurses, reporters, and cab driver (I may have forgotten some).


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