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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday Spotlight: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

In my college and young adult years I did a little theater, playing roles both large and small. I loved acting – it brought forth the chance to be someone else, to adopt mannerisms and habits to portray a character. As a writer, I rely on some of those acting skills to bring my characters and story to life.

I’ll confess that there may be times that my family may think I’m talking to myself because I’m trying out lines so that I can get beneath a character’s skin. I might go so far as to occasionally dress the part which tends to delight kids when they’re young and embarrass them as teenagers. Last year I wore a long gingham dress, apron, and sunbonnet to an area historic site, Fort Scott. A lot of the staff and visitors dressed in period clothing too but my teenage daughter swore she would hide her face if she saw anyone she knew. It’s lucky for both of us that she didn’t.

On stage I brought my characters to life through costume, through delving within to determine just what kind of person the character might be and how to show that. Since one of the writer’s mantras we hear so often is show, don’t tell – acting can show us who our characters really are!

I had to put myself in Caroline Cunningham’s shoes to write her character in Love Never Fails, with a little make believe and pretend. That’s what acting really is, short and simple.


Carolyn Rosewood said...

I think it's essential to get inside your characters' heads in order to write them well. Great post!

An Open Book said...

lol- LeeAnn- I talk to myself, my characters all the time-
Great interview
Dawne P