Down at the Depot with Children's Author
Karen Kulinski

FINDING A CHARACTER



Discovering your characters happens in many different ways for a writer. And often, these ways will end up surprising you.

On this page, you will meet two of the characters in my book, RESCUING IVY, and learn how they found me.

First there's Ivy. She's pictured above, a female Asian elephant. These types of elephants are favored by circuses because of their docile nature and the fact that female Asians do not grow tusks.

I first saw this elephant at one of the several circuses I attended while doing research for my book. What set her apart from the other elephants was her tattered ear and heavily speckled pink trunk.

I knew at once that she was "my" Ivy, and that her scalloped ear and those pink speckles belonged in my book.

I knew, too, that her photo belonged on my desk, where it has sat for more than five years, while I wrote the book, edited the book and collected rejections for the book.

Ivy's picture kept me going all those years. Every time I looked at it, she was staring back at me, calmly assuring me to take heart and keep the faith. She would, Ivy assured me, finally find the right home.

And now she has! RESCUING IVY will be published by High Hill Press sometime in 2015 and both she, and I, couldn't be happier.

I never planned on having a Bantam chicken in my novel. In fact, chickens had never entered my mind when I was writing the book.

Then I went to Hartford, Kentucky, to visit my friend, Regina Abney's hometown, and Fayree, pictured above, entered my life.

Regina's family welcomed my husband and me with what I can only think is the "southern hospitality" that the region is so famous for. They invited us into their homes, fed us wonderful home-cooked meals each day and took us sightseeing, as well.

Then, one night, as the family gathered with us after dinner, they gave me Fayree.

Regina's brother, Ronnie Bennett, is a great storyteller and loves to relate family tales of days gone by. One of these stories involved his grandfather, Lasley Fayree Bennett, and the chickens he trained to ride around on his shoulder.

I was immediately enchanted with the story, wanted it for my book, and named the chicken in my story, Fayree, after Mr. Bennett.

And so a character was born.