Characters on the Couch: Kyra and Jared from A Million Shadows

Meet Kyra Ellison and Jared Steel, the heroine and hero of A Million Shadows, my contribution to A Wicked Halloween.

Hello, lovelies! Thank you SO MUCH to those of y’all who have bought the box set and participated in the party and giveaways. This week it’s my turn to bring my characters Kyra Ellison and Jared Steel to the couch.


Former model and heartbreaker Kyra Ellison is accustomed to making trouble, not being on the receiving end. When she’s kicked out of her family’s Ozarks cabin where she’s been taking refuge – okay, hiding – after a wicked ancient syndrome wrecked her old life, she’s forced to go to Salem, Massachusetts. Yes, that Salem, where a murder, witches with secrets, and handsome billionaire make danger irresistible. Kyra finds she’s not the only one with secrets and skeletons in her family closet, but some are more deadly than others. A confrontation with ancient danger and a new foe forces her to choose between the old life she’s been craving and the new love that might make everything worth it in the end.

1. If your character were to go to a psychologist – willingly or unwillingly – what would bring them in? Yes, a court order is a valid answer.

Kyra – “Oh, I’ve seen plenty of shrinks in my time.”

Jared (looking skeptical) – “Oh, really?”

Kyra – “Yes, although I never lasted long with any of them. They ask so many inconvenient questions. And I could never tell them what was really wrong”

Jared (pulling her close) – “That you lost everything after that contaminated flu shot gave you Chronic Lycanthropy Syndrome?” (shakes his head)

Kyra (into his shirt) – “Yes, and my family hates me.”

2. Is the presenting problem one of the main internal or external conflicts in your book? If so, how does it present itself?

(From therapist’s office notes): The patient struggles with her sense of identity, claiming to feel she has two selves. Suspect she suffers from overly high expectations. Seems to have good social support from partner, which is good since her family moves her around properties as convenient without making any effort to connect in a meaningful way with her.*

3. It’s always interesting to see how people act when they first enter my office. Do they immediately go for my chair, hesitate before sitting anywhere, flop on the couch, etc.? What would your character do?

Kyra walked in, surveyed the office, and then picked the spot that would allow her to pose most alluringly and have room for Jared next to her. He grinned and joined her, but maintained a professional posture.

4. Does your character talk to the therapist? How open/revealing will your character be? What will he or she say first?

(From therapist’s office notes): Affect was normal, if reserved, for both parties. Neither seemed willing to open up, but both spoke freely and non-tangentially once they grew comfortable.*

5. Your character walks into the bar down the street after his/her first therapy session. What does he/she order? What happens next?

Jared orders a craft beer and Kyra a glass of white wine, but something unusual, not your typical Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. They toast to each other and the strange stuff they’ve experienced. Then they scoot closer together in their booth.

6. When you’re building characters, do you have any tricks you use to really get into their psyches, like a character interview or personality system (e.g., Myers-Briggs types)?

Sometimes I’ll take an online MBTI as my characters, but I typically start with their primary motivation. In A Million Shadows, Kyra, devastated by losing her company and lifestyle to her Chronic Lycanthropy Syndrome, wants to return to a place of normalcy. Jared wants to figure out what the hell is wrong with him.

Don’t forget, A Wicked Halloween is still on sale for 99 cents for a limited time!







*My session notes don’t actually read like this.


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