Thursday, November 11, 2010

Giveaway & Guest post: Sloan Parker Talks about Breathe

I’m very pleased to have author Sloan Parker as a guest here at my blog today! I loved her m/m/m debut novel More. Next Tuesday her new m/m ebook Breathe will be released at Loose Id and today she’s here to share some insider’s information about that book!
Sloan’s also giving away one copy of Breathe to a lucky commenter.

A huge thank you to Janna for asking me to post on her blog today. She suggested I tell you about my latest book, BREATHE, and the main characters, Jay and Lincoln. I thought I’d also share a bit about my process for how I create my characters.

Before I started writing BREATHE, I developed character sketches, basically answering a series of questions per character. These sheets are very detailed, but I don’t answer every question for every character. There are some questions I force myself to answer, and others I pick and choose from based on what I feel I need to know about that person and his/her particular backstory.

For example, here are a few questions from my character sheets:

Sample Must Answer Questions
1) What is this character’s darkest secret?
2) What are his biggest mistakes or regrets?
3) What is the worst thing that could happen to him right now?
4) What does he fear most in the world? And why?
5) What does he have to gain from the outcome of the story (i.e. the outcome of the final conflict)?

Sample Optional Questions
1) A sad movie is on. How would this character react if he were alone? How would he react if he were with others?
2) If he had a bad day, how would he relax? What would he do?
3) Does he sleep nude? In pajamas? His underwear?
4) Does he eat quickly or slowly? Why?
5) Does he drive fast or slowly? Why?

Then while I was writing the outline and the first draft, I filled out even more of the character sheet as I learned more about who I wanted these people to be and what I wanted to say about their story.

For BREATHE, I wanted to tell the story of two strangers living in a small town. They meet and discover an undeniable attraction only to learn a little too late they should never have met at all. Or so they think. One man’s wife was killed in a car accident a year before the story starts. The other man is the person who caused the accident that took her life. I wanted them to be two very likeable guys stuck in an impossible situation.

Without giving away too much from the book, here are a few facts about each man based on my character sheets:

Jay Miller
1) Personality traits: Bookish, caring, talkative, intelligent, trustworthy, broad-minded, captivating, conscientious, curious, inquisitive, lonely, sensual, sincere, depressed.
2) Drives fast or slowly: He’s a careful driver. But he shuts down during the process, not allowing himself to imagine what the last moments were like for his wife.
3) Mode of transportation: a beat up Jeep he’s had since high school.
4) Eats quickly or slowly: Quickly. Eats without really tasting the food. Mostly pizza and fast food. He never cooks anything for himself.
5) One word this character would use to describe himself: Broken.

Lincoln McCaw
1) Personality traits: Attentive, conscientious, devoted, honorable, serious, jealous, loyal, passionate, realistic, reliable, responsible, somber, relentless, systematic, trustworthy.
2) Greatest source of strength in this character's personality: his loyalty and devotion to those he loves.
3) What he does when he is angry: Yells a little. Scowls a lot. Does something to try to fix the situation or if he can’t he tries to fix something else.
4) The worst thing that could happen to him: He causes another accident.
5) One word this character would use to describe himself: Guilty.

Those are a few of the questions I answered for each of the main characters from BREATHE.

Thanks again to Janna for allowing me to share about my work and my latest book. As you can see I love talking about my characters and my writing process. Thanks for listening!

Sloan Parker


Thank you, Sloan! Personally I can’t wait to read Breathe! The premise of the story and the little peek in the writer’s mind you gave, are intriguing me immensely.


Sloan has generously offered an ebook copy of Breathe to give away to one of the commenters on this post.

Giveaway is open to everyone and runs until next Tuesday. I will announce the winner on November 16, the release date of Breathe.

To enter the giveaway all you have to do is comment on this post and leave a way for me to contact you, either in your profile or in the comment itself. It would be nice if you’d say something related to the content of this post. :)
The winner will be picked with

Good luck to you all!

Backblurb of Breathe:
Lincoln McCaw lost everything--his home, his job, his partner--after he caused a fatal accident. A year later, he's drowning the guilt and despair in whiskey, but he needs to move on. His sister and her kids are counting on him. Then he meets a man who ignites a passion Lincoln thought he’d never find. Too bad one night is all they can have together. Now he needs to figure out how to turn away from the only person who makes him feel alive...before whoever is sending him threats decides Lincoln needs to suffer more than he already has.

Jay Miller is surrounded by grief and misery until he finally gives in to all those years of sexual fantasies about being with another guy. Realizing he’s ended up in the arms of the man who caused his wife’s accident, he tries to pull away. But can he give up a friendship he needs more than anything--a friendship and a love that could save him? Or will someone else destroy it all?

Sloan Parker’s website | weblog | on Goodreads | on Twitter | on Facebook

Buy Breathe here
Read the first two chapters of Breathe here
Read another excerpt here



  1. Awesome post! :-) I loved reading it! I'd never heard of charactersheets before but not that I think of it, it's not such a bad idea!!

  2. Bonjour Janna and Sloan!

    I've always found character sheets fascinating. And it reveals a lot about the author's thought process. I've seen authors with very complicated character sheets (like Kim Harrison) and some simpler but telling more about the real character's personality (like yours!).
    I'm just saying but I would love to meet Jay and Lincoln! *g*

    I already have MORE waiting on my Ereader. *g*

    Have a nice day =)

  3. Oh I am in. They sound very interesting.

  4. That's really interesting Sloan. I'm afraid I'm far to fly by the seat of my pants to likely ever do such a thing. LOL It's neat how every author has their own unique way of working and creating those stories. Sounds like a great book. Looking forward to it.

  5. Hi Sloan--

    Love this. I don't use character sheets, but I answer the same sort of questions in a journal. Getting to know characters can take a bit of time.

    (And now I have 'getting to know you' stuck in my head...)

    Congrats on the upcoming release!



  6. I should try the character sheets idea some day Sloan, they sound like a great idea. I loved you know.... you should not pick my name for your giveaway cuz I'm already gonna order it! LOL If you are the lucky winner you will be so happy!

  7. Good Morning! I enjoyed reading about your process. Thanks for the chance to win one of your books.

    I've included your giveaway in Today's Crazy Contest Sentence!

    Congratulations and have a great day!

    mdwartistry at yahoo dot com

  8. Hi Sloan and Janna! Thank you for the great idea behind the post, I'm always intrigued to read more about the "behind the scenes" of the making of a novel, and it was fascinating seeing in how much detail and nuance you draw up your characters (but not surprising because I guess to read about 3d, real and complex characters the author has to give them history and personality).

    I will have to check out Breathe now :-D

    Thank you for the interesting post Sloan! (and of course for the great giveaway too!)

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

  9. Please count me in! This sounds like a really good read.

    I always like finding out how writers work - thanks for sharing, Sloan!

  10. Sounds great - passion & angst is just up my street! :)

  11. Liz: So glad you enjoyed reading the character details. Thanks for taking a look!

    pattepoilue: Bonjour! Glad Jay and Lincoln sound interesting. I have a friend who writes a letter to herself from her main character which I thought was a neat way to get to know them too. Thanks for picking up a copy of MORE. Hope you enjoy it.

    BeCullen: Thanks for your interest in Jay and Lincoln’s story! I adore these guys, but I guess that makes sense since I created them.

    Tam: I think it’s so neat too. I love reading about the process of other authors because each one is unique, even fly-by-the-seaters like you each do things a little differently. It’s so fascinating that we all have the same goal, yet have our own journeys to get there. I’ve enjoyed finding my own process that seems to work for me (at least what works today).

    LB: Hi! Thanks for the congrats. You must have a much better memory than me. I’m so amazed you can keep track of it all, but it probably just shows how well you know your characters. They are stuck in your head, same as your friends and family.

  12. Deanna: Thanks! I hope you enjoy this one as much as you did MORE.

    Sweet Vernal Zephyr: Good morning! Glad my process was interesting. I love talking about writing, if you can't tell. *g* Love that crazy contest sentence. Thanks for including BREATHE! Hope you have a good day too.

    Stella: Glad you liked reading about my process. I find the more info I know up front, the easier it is to write the story, especially all the character reactions. I know who they are and I know how they would respond when they are angry or happy or, I don’t know…turned on. *g*

    Chris: YW and thanks for checking it out. Glad you like the premise of the book. When I first told my editor what I was working on she was a bit nervous. I don’t think I pitched the concept well, but I love how it turned out. And thankfully, so did she.

    Anne: Glad you think it sounds good. I’m all about the passion and angst too.

    Good luck to all in the giveaway!

  13. Hi, Janna and Sloan, what an interesting post! Sloan, I've heard of those characters sheets but I've never tried it. Now I'm excited to try it sometime. I like how you had the character himself choose the one word that would define him (shows self-awareness), and also how you distinguish between how a character reacts to things alone and with others -- very revealing, especially if it's in two different ways!

  14. I'm excited to read this one. I loved More.

  15. @Lis: It's interesting, isn't it?

    @pattepoilue: hi, ma belle! Good to see you and I absolutely agree with you, this is fascinating stuff.

    @BeCullen: So you are! :)

    @Tam: LOL, at least you know yourself. ;) I look forward to reading Breathe too.

    @LBGregg: It's fascinating how every author has her/his own methods. :) Thanks for stopping by!

    @Deanna: Oh, I LOVED More too! And welcome at my place. :D

    @Sweets: Thanks for adding the contest to your crazy sentence. I love those sentences of yours! :)

    @Stella: The 'behind the scenes' intrigue me too. A lot. I like getting that little peek into the writer's mind! :)

    @Chris: You're counted in! :) Good thing for you that this book isn't a menage. ;)

    @Anne Brooke: That's my favorite combination in books too! :)

    @Sloan: *waves* I'm so happy to have you over today, Sloan! You're a wonderful guest. Thank you! :D

    @Val: I'm with you, I like those elements too. It reveals the origin of character depth, which shows in Sloan's work I think.

    @KC: You and me both! :)

  16. Not entering but cool post, different :)

  17. @Chris: ;D

    @Blodeuedd: Still not into m/m, hon? :)

  18. Very interesting post!

    Sloan, I really enjoyed reading More and look forward to reading Breathe. I really liked the info you shared and this line... "two very likeable guys stuck in an impossible situation." Sounds great!

  19. Great post Janna and Sloan. I love it when authors share their writing secrets. Especially when you get to see more into them like with the character sheets Sloan makes.

    I must confess, I haven't read More because it's a menage. I'm not real big on those. *blush* But I would love to read Breathe. I absolutely love when a story features a broken character. I think the healing the character goes through is fascinating when done right.

  20. Hi Sloan! Congrats on the new release! I've been excited to read Breathe since I finished More. Many happy sales!!


    ( piathewriter @ gmail . com )

  21. Congrats on the new release! It sounds amazingly good with a lot of angst to enhance the story and pull even harder on the heart strings. I would so love to win a copy since I could use a good cry.

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

  22. Val: Hi there! Glad you liked the sample questions. I love using them to help figure out who these people are. There are some great sources on-line where I gathered a lot of ideas and sample questions that I use. Let me know if you want the links and I’ll be happy to send them to you. sloan [at] (that goes for anyone who wants more info on creating character sketches).

    Smokinhotbooks: So glad to hear that. Thanks! I hope you enjoy Breathe if you get a chance to read it.

    Janna: *waves back* Very sweet of you to say.

    Blodeuedd: Thanks! Since no one has actually “met” these guys yet, I thought it would be fun to share. Glad it wasn’t a bore for everyone. *g*

    Lily: Thank you! So happy you enjoyed MORE and glad you think this premise sounds good. I wasn’t so sure how the blurb would go over. It’s nice to hear all the positive comments.

    ncjenks: I also love when authors share their secrets. I’ve learned so much by just reading articles and blogs by other writers whose work I admire. And don’t feel bad about not reading menages. I have certain themes/genres I don’t really care for and would probably skip even with my favorite authors. If you get a chance to read Breathe, I hope you enjoy it. It definitely involves the idea of healing and finding peace again.

    Pia: Thanks so much! If you check out Breathe I’d love to hear what you think.

    joder: Thank you for the congrats! I’m not sure if it’ll make others cry, but it sure did for me (even on the 10th read). I’ve been told that’s a good sign. I’m hoping so, and that it’s not just some sort of "crazy writer" phenomenon. *g* Hope you get in your needed cry soon. We all need those from time to time.

  23. Fascinating. Thanks for sharing one of your writing techniques with us, Sloan. :)

  24. Thank you Sloan - it was fascinating to see inside the writing process :) And the premise of Breathe sounds very interesting.

    All the best for the release!

  25. Hello Jay and Lincoln!! The conflict alone promises emotion-wrought scenes, which I love but reading those character sheets I instantly want to meet these two men. I already like them both :))

  26. Kris: You’re very welcome. I had such a great experience writing about these guys, so it was fun to share some of their info and how I created them.

    orannia: So happy to hear you think it sounds interesting and thank you for the best wishes on the release!

    Leontine: I am thrilled to hear that. Of course I’ve spent a lot of time over the past year with these guys, and I’ve grown quite attached. *g*

  27. I'm always fascinated by how author's create their characters - great post!

    smaccall @

  28. @Lily: I look forward to talking about Breathe with you, Lily. :)

    @ncjenks: I love the broken characters too! That is when the healing is done well indeed. :)

    @Pia Veleno: Thanks for stopping by, Pia. :D

    @joder: Sounds like you'll get your cry when you win the book... or for another reason when not. ;)

    @Kris: It's intriguing, isn't it?

    @orannia: I knew it would fascinate you, hon! :)

    @Leontine: Me too! Maybe we can seduce Jay and Lincoln to come to the Netherlands and have a double date with them? *grin*

    @Sarah: Same here! Especially when it's done the indepth way Sloan does it. :D

  29. Thanks for the "behind the scenes" peek, it's fun to learn some of what goes into creating the books I enjoy reading. I loved More and I'm really looking forward to Breathe!

  30. I have to try the character questionnaire. I've done it for RPG characters, so I have no idea why it never occurred to me for characters I am writing.

  31. I love m/m novels and look forward in reading this one.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  32. @Morgon: 'Behind the scene' is exciting, isn't it? :D

    @Seanna Lea: It's nice to see how this post ignites ideas. :)

    @booklover0226: Hah, another m/m loving reader! It's such an addictive genre! :D

  33. I have been waiting for Breathe since I found out about it. I loved More. It was interesting to get a glimpse of part of the writing process. After I get Breathe, I look forward to your next release!!

  34. Sarah: Thanks! Glad you liked the post. Thank you for checking it out.

    Morgon: You’re welcome. It was fun sharing about these guys. It’s so nice to hear you liked MORE, and I hope you enjoy BREATHE as well.

    Seanna: That’s really neat that you do character questionnaires with your RPGs. Good luck if you try it with your writing too! Let me know if you want some links to sample character sketch questions. (sloan [at]

    Tracey: Glad to hear that. My to-read list of m/m titles alone is huge. Just too many good books out lately. Appreciate you considering BREATHE for yours.

    LindaC: Thanks for the kind words about both books. Much appreciated! I hope you enjoy this story too.

  35. I'm looking forward to this one. I enjoyed More (having picked up the rec from Janna - thx! *waves*).

    Thx for sharing how you get to know your characters Sloan and good luck with your new release.

  36. Wow - what a story that will be. The blurb sounds incredible. Please count me in.

    On the process that Ms. Parker goes through - very thorough.

  37. @LindaC: LOL, you are an impatient fan, aren't you, already looking forward to the one after Breathe. :)
    I'm with you btw. ;)

    @Kaetrin: *waves back* I'm so glad you liked More! It's always a bit scary when people try a book based on my recommendation. :)

    @Tracy: You're in, Tracy! :) I agree with you on Sloan's thoroughness! Impressing isn't it?

  38. @Kaetrin: Yay! Glad Janna’s recommendation worked out for you. And I hope you enjoy BREATHE if you get a chance to check it out. Thank you for the best wishes!

    @Tracy: I’m thrilled you like the sound of it. I had hoped the story concept would appeal, but I know for some it might be a bit too intense sounding. Thanks for the kind words!

    @Janna: Thank you for your recommendation on MORE. A bit scary for the author too. I know everyone has different tastes, but I like hearing readers are happy with their investment -- of both time and money. There are too many good books out there to waste either.

    Not sure it's impressive since it takes a lot of time, but it's what works for me. At least so far. *g*


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