Jennifer Leeper Website for author Jennifer Leeper

Birth

The birth of a new character in the mind of an author can begin with something as seemingly insignificant as the smell of freshly mowed grass or a stranger’s perfume, igniting memories or the imagination, or both.

I don’t remember if it was a sensory cue or something more intentional that sparked the character of Russell Capshaw, the consummate Manhattan ‘ad man’ , a.k.a., Father John of Padre: The Narrowing Path, the internally struggling priest, first of Ireland, then of the Sierra Tarahumara.

I must have tripped a deep emotional breaker, however, because this character has been with me in one form or another for many years, only coming to fruition on the printed page about three years ago.

At the time, I was living in Korea, and the book, in its original published form was entitled simply, Padre. Since then, new characters, a second volume, and a proposed third volume have naturally generated from whatever it was that initially breathed life into Father John, a.k.a. Russell Capshaw, the middle life crisis-prone protagonist.

The growth and development of a character or characters in a book is not unlike the maturity of a real human person, who begins like a writer’s raw concept of character, starting out with a great potential for complexity of mind and heart, but unlike a real human person, a book character is matured to literary adulthood through a much narrower filter of experience in the environment of the author’s mind, for better or worse.

-J

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