"My characters surprise me constantly. My characters are like my friends. I can give them advice, but they don't have to take it. If your characters are real, then they surprise you, just like real people." Laurel K. Hamilton

My characters amaze me and scare me and worry me and delight me. They are full of surprises, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Take Nicholas from Arianna's Honor and Arianna's Destiny. For most of the writing of Honor, I wanted to delete him or go old school Wile E. Coyote and drop an anvil on his head...and then Jake brought out the first of many of Prince Nicholas' redeeming qualities. So I didn't delete him...not that Arianna would have let me -- her integrity and loyalty surprised me constantly. She had sworn to the king that Nicholas would not be harmed -- evidently that also meant protecting him from me as well.

There is always that " are so cute" moment when I try to give my characters advice. They pat my head and then continue to do what they were planning to do all along...meanwhile I faithfully grab my pen and paper and just try to keep up with what's going on. I can't really complain...their decisions always end up better than anything I had planned.

I'm always amazed  at how real my characters are to me, and it is even more amazing when my readers tell me how real the characters seem to them as I must be doing something right.