Brief physical description
J.D. Wickman – I seldom give detailed physical descriptions to my characters so they will be more relatable to the reader. Everyone can see them as they want to see them unless some distinction is important; such as a limp or a birthmark or a hair color.
Even as I write, I see no particular face on them. If pressed I’d say J.D. is average in every way. He looks and dresses like small town America; a perfect mixture of a father/son/husband.
Karlie Wickman – All the above goes for Karlie, also. She’s small and pretty; stable, loyal and caring… These are more important to her character than her looks.
Just as Lucy and Ricky personified ‘the couple’ of the 1950s and Rob and Laura Petrie were the perfect example in the 60s, I’ll have to say Eric and Tami Taylor of “Friday Night Lights” (Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton) capture that title for the present decade. They would be ideal for J.D. and Karlie.
Strengths and Weaknesses
J.D. is a good man; a loving father; a caring son; a loyal husband; a trusting friend. He loves all the women around him in his family and does well at providing for them in every way. He works hard and makes a good living. He is not good at disciplining his daughter. He’s always left that to Karlie. He doesn’t like confrontations and avoids arguments whenever possible. He would rather ignore the things that bother him instead of facing them head on.
Karlie is the quiet, strong wife. She wants her husband to be the leader. She enjoys the background and would much rather give her support to him than take the lead. Even as a mother, she finds herself in the middle and strives to do what’s best for her daughter and her husband. She has little time for herself but never seems to resent that fact. She’s in love with her life and doesn’t want anything to shake or change it.
Never sure of the line between a quirk and a characteristic, I’d say one of J.D.’s quirks was what got him into trouble less than 30 pages into the book. He loves to ride in the country with the top down on his sports car. He feels it “blows away the dust” and cobwebs in his head.
Another quirk would be his dislike of the nursing home his mother is in. The smells alone incline him not to visit as often as he would like.
Karlie, on the other hand, is quirk-free. She’s solid and reasonable at every turn.
Inspiration for the character
I just wanted an average guy with everyday problems. A typical couple that is happy one minute and stressed the next. The characters were actually inspired from the story. I needed them as conduits to get the message across.
Background to the story
One of my little quirks has always been the joy of riding in the country with the top down until I get myself lost. It’s freeing and peaceful. I was doing just that when I came upon an enormous, old-fashioned one lane bridge in the middle of nowhere just as J.D. does in the story. A beautiful little stream ran under it and an old farm house was perched off in the distance. I parked there for a long time and soaked it all in. When I finally pulled away, I had the whole story in my mind. I sped back to town to write it all down.
I go back there often, just to ride by.
Thanks Don for sharing about this couple and your story
On Thursday, the spotlight shines on Annalisa Daughety’s Ainsley, Jake & Dustin from Love is Grand
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