Authors Share Their Favorite Character Traits

Feisty duchesses, determined detectives, evil exes, or grumpy chefs — characters are the heart of every story. Creating vivid characters that readers can relate to is job number one for authors, and the traits they give their characters have everything to do with the story’s action.

We asked Harlequin authors to tell us about their favorite traits of characters in their new releases. Here’s what they said.

The Vet’s Shelter Surprise by Elle Douglas

“Dr. Mel Carter’s best trait is her principled nature, which stems from a strong sense of justice and a deep well of empathy. She is steadfast and committed to the animals in her care, as well as her family, and they benefit from her careful and methodical handling of life’s most challenging situations. Mel is the guiding light you’d want in your corner during good times and bad.” – Elle Douglas

Tempted by the Bollywood Star by Sophia Singh Sasson

“These heroines are unstoppable: Mia is Bollywood’s dazzling star and Saira is the unyielding Hollywood producer. Past grudges need forgiving, but Mia and Saira’s careers are sacred ground. In this sizzling romance, they’re a dynamic duo of desire and determination, proving that sometimes, two heroines are better than one.” – Sophia Singh Sasson

His Assistant’s New York Awakening by Emmy Grayson

“Bravery. After losing her parents and being thrust into foster care, Evolet was brave enough to open her heart to the foster parent who became a second mother to her. She’s always performing, auditioning, courting rejection over and over again to pursue her dream of being a professional cellist. And when she realizes billionaire Damon Bradford wants her as much as she wants him, she risks all for one incredible night!” – Emmy Grayson

Secret Heir for Christmas by LaQuette

“Stephan Devereaux-Smith’s singular best trait is that he is a protector. He shows love by protecting the people who are most important to him. Unfortunately, because of his past experiences, he’s a little misguided in how to go about executing his protection.

Stephan bears the weight of deep-seated secrets in his family to shield those he loves from the pain the truth would bring. When he falls for Carter Jiménez, that protection is then extended to Carter and his daughter too. Stephan is still misguided on how to display that protection, but he’s as determined as ever to protect the man he’s fast falling in love with. That determination is going to make for one angsty holiday romance.” – LaQuette

Her Secret Protector by Bonnie Vanak

“Peyton’s best trait is her passion for her work. She is laser focused on treating injured sea turtles. As a sea turtle biologist, she knows they are critical to the ocean’s ecosystem. Peyton is as zealous about saving sea turtles as Gray, her bodyguard, is about saving her from the stalker who threatens to kill Peyton.” – Bonnie Vanak

The Forbidden Princess He Craves by Lorraine Hall

“In my new book the heroine is Princess Elsebet Thore and her best trait is her strong core of honor that she is determined to hold onto…even when sorely tempted by a handsome, injured stranger!”
– Lorraine Hall

Holiday at Mistletoe Cottage by Nancy Robards Thompson

“Avery Anderson’s best trait is that she is strong and resilient. Life has dealt her some difficult blows, and she’s always bounced back. The proverb, “Fall down seven times, stand up eight,” describes her to the T. However, sometimes she’s too strong for her own good. When she runs into Forest McFadden again, she learns that letting down her defenses doesn’t mean she’s weak. It means she’s finally emotionally available to fall in love.” – Nancy Robards Thompson

Bodyguard Most Wanted by Katherine Garbera

“Luna Urban has never had a family, but growing up in the foster system taught her to protect herself and others. Getting a job as a bodyguard for the elite Price Security team has given her purpose and a found family. She never compromises her clients’ safety, so when she starts getting feels for Nicholas DeVere, she tries to shut them down. Luna’s best trait is that she cares deeply about her clients and always keeps them safe no matter what the personal cost.” – Katherine Garbera

A Bet Between Friends by Jules Bennett

“Darcy’s best trait is that she is not only a fierce pilot, but she’s also loyal and loving to her best friend who returns home after a traumatic injury forces him back. She’s more than ready to help him integrate himself back into town and into her life – even if it is as her fake boyfriend on a bet.” – Jules Bennett

Working with Her Crush by Reese Ryan

“I love that Andraya Walker—the heroine in my book, Working with Her Crush—has such fiery determination. She’s the manager of a working horse ranch that’s struggling. Yet, she’s determined to hold on to the ranch that has meant so much to her for more than half her life. And she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen. That includes collaborating with her former best friend and unrequited crush, Kahlil Anderson.” Reese Ryan

Marry & Bright by Teri Wilson

“The heroine of my upcoming release is Addison England, deputy editor of Veil, a glamorous bridal magazine in Manhattan. Addison is very ambitious and hopes to take over the magazine someday as editor-in-chief. I like to call her a workaholic with a heart of gold, because her very best trait isn’t really her work ethic. It’s her unfettered devotion toward her family and friends. She’ll do anything for the people (and rescue dog!) she loves.” – Teri Wilson


Check out these resources from the Write for Harlequin archives:

Creating Characters: 5 Questions for Romance Writers

The Who 101: Creating Memorable Characters

Writing Challenge: Dig Deeper Into Characters