Author Interviews

An Odd Job Situation by Nicole Dennis on 30-August-2016

Author's Interview

A character’s occupation can help generate the main idea of the book and plot. Within the entire Southern Charm series, I made sure to give every main character something to do. I believe their job helps guide a character’s life. Why did they chose this profession and not something else? Is it something they love or just deal with to pay the bills. For the most part, each character had one main job.

Things change with According to Design. Keegan Donaghue, one of the main characters, works two completely different jobs, but both connect together. Somehow. When you first meet Keegan in Following the Law, he’s a forensics investigator with the Crime Scene Unit under Sheriff Robin Burke. Here’s the snippet:

When they reached the forgotten room, Robin ordered the others to remain in the hallway. He stayed at the doorway, not wanting to disturb any possible evidence. After a quick visual exam, he clicked the radio attached to his shoulder.
“This is Base. Go ahead SB-A.”
“SB-A is at the Charm. Send in the CS tech to my position. There’s something funny going on around here.”
“CS Aaron remains in court. CS Keegan is in class.”
“Teaching or attending?”
“Teaching. Last period for him. I’ll send him to your location.”

Yes, you read part of that right. Keegan is also a teacher. This is the Sheriff’s reaction when Keegan arrives at Southern Charm:

Lifting his gaze from the phone, Robin watched the new crime scene technician and criminalist following Samuel. According to his résumé, CS Keegan Donaghue had taken a leave of absence from his previous position, but was ready for a new start. He also came highly recommended by a fellow officer who’d walked the streets with him. At the same time, Keegan had accepted a part-time position to become a high school chemistry teacher. Robin thought it was an odd match, but either way Keegan was damn smart, and talented as hell when it came to crime scenes. He could walk stone cold into a scene, pick out the pertinent pieces then put them together in the complicated puzzle. Robin wished Keegan had been available for the previous case here, but was grateful the tech was here now to help him out.

Why would I do this to Keegan? It’s a couple of reasons.

There are things in Keegan’s past, which drew him to this odd combination. I don’t want to give most of it away, but Keegan needs to keep busy.

The other reason is my fault. There’s something about forensics and putting together the puzzle of a crime scene that I find fascinating. Always have. From the first Law & Order show to the CSI: series and others, I’m hooked. Even while writing, I have the Investigation Discovery (ID) channel playing in the background. I wanted to bring my love of forensics into a character and Keegan was the perfect fit. Until the idiot decided he wanted to teach. High school. Originally, I wanted him to teach English, but then the thought of bringing in his forensic background to the classroom ended up changing the subject to Chemistry.

The background of a character brings in all kinds of information and problems to a story. Especially a love story. It flavors how a character reacts to everything in life. Including love.

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