Who Are You? [Part I]

Who Are You?



When you’ve got a new story to write, it’s not just about the what, it’s always about the ‘who’. Stories don’t just happen – they happen to someone.

Who are the characters, and why should the reader care?

What is so special about them that anyone would want to read about their adventures?

Who are they, what is their journey like, and who do they become?

These are the questions that dog an author when constructing their story. Even with something like CSI and its many spin-offs, it’s not about the forensic procedures. If it was, you’d be watching a documentary with a lot of science. That’s not what CSI is really about. CSI is popular and has spawned so many regional derivatives because of the characters. Characters are the plot. Without them, there would be no story to construct. Their world shapes them, and they leave their mark upon their world – or, they are consumed by it, or subsumed by it, or defeated by it, or triumphant over it. They are overcomers, they are failures, they are masters, servants, slaves, conquerors, conquered, lovers, abusers and abused. They are the ones we love, the ones we hate, the ones we love to hate, the ones we hate to love, the ones we lose sleep over, and the ones we just can’t figure out.
Who’s side are they on, really?
What is it makes them tick?
… I’m going to be giving you guys some bios of my own characters in the future posts, so please comment on which ones you’d like to hear more about! I’m also interviewing other writers and getting them to give their insights, showcase their process and intriduce their favourite ‘children’. First up is John Murray MacKay, who volunteered to be interviewed about his main character Samantha ahead of his publication date this coming December [2013].

J. M. McKay’s N Chronicles

Hitting e-stores in December is John Murray McKay’s debut novel, the first book of the N Chronicles.
The protagonist, Sam, is an English farm girl with a wild-child past. Breaking free of her family responsibilities in college but finding the party scene overwhelming, Sam overcame the demons of alcoholism to get her life back on track. Abandoned by her college friends, Sam’s life was uneventful, stable, but lonely… until that fateful day.
N Day.
Without giving away too much of the plot, the premise of the N Chronicles is based on the question, what would happen if the Hadron Collider experiment went wrong? Mixing folklore and demonology with parallel dimensions, MacKay created the world Sam inhabits, a world torn apart by science and destroyed by what was once thought to be fictional.
The N chronicles (Season 1) (Finished)
In a world gone terribly wrong, where the monsters of our deepest nightmares have come alive, one girl is on a journey to find Sanctuary in America. These are the N chronicles. Welcome to the story of Samantha Worthington Day. On the run from a demon horde that tore through the dreamscape and destroyed everything she ever loved, she is looking for Sanctuary in America, a place of safety and hope where humanity can start rebuilding their shattered world. 
Follow her journey across the United states with real life GPS coordinates and experience true life locations with her. She has a long way to go and her amazing destiny is yet to be revealed. Called of Lightning, Called of Darkness, Called of Light.
[Clicking the cover image will take you to a free draft a taster/preview of the soon-to-be-published novel.]


Who is Sam?

I asked McKay about Sam, and how she developed. It turns out we share the same taste in film directors and inspirations – I too am a Tarantino fan, for much the same reasons McKay is. But I digress.

J. M. McKay on Samantha:

Where did I get the idea for Samantha? I was always a great admirer of strong females throughout history like Joan of Arc or Boudicca. But I wanted to create a character with depth and emotion; somebody who kept her shield up against the world, who held her pain inside, but also one who would eventually learn to trust and depend on others. The human dynamics of Samantha are always evolving as she grows as a human being. Her interactions always fascinated me – with friend and foe alike.


The idea of a lone woman fighting for what she believed in always appealed to me (with Tarantino being a great influence on my work). In Book 2 of the N Chronicles we meet Samantha’s complete opposite, but I can’t give away too much about that character yet…! I can say that she sees the world and deals with adversity in a different way to Sam, and this contrast will hopefully provide the reader with great entertainment along the way.


There should never be one thing that drives a character to become the way they are – there is usually one major event or catalyst, but the character must draw on aspects of their personality that are already there, and must be shaped from this pre-existing foundation. That’s why a well-developed backstory is so important.


Sam had to be strong after her father was called up for military duty but never returned. She had to take care of her baby sister Christina and deal with the mysterious death of her other sibling, Diana. Her own private demons from her party-girl past also provide her with a foundation of strength, while her sense of abandonment – from her college friends as well as her absent father – mean that she is edging into the “tough loner” type. However, throughout her journey in the novels (both physically and emotionally) Sam does not drift into a stereotype.
She learns to trust people again, and is capable of mercy – but being forced to fight for survival also backs her into tight corners. Sam is forced to make some tough decisions, and when she makes a terrible mistake, her world comes crashing down.
… If you would like to read more about Sam’s journey of self-discovery, survival and redemption, then follow McKay on facebooktwitter, google+, and wattpad for publishing news and updates.


1 thought on “Who Are You? [Part I]”

  1. I needed this info! Back story is part of the snag for me. I have two main characters. Let's see what develops with this new perspective on how a story comes to be. Thanks so much!


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