Smart Girls Read Romance

Smart Girls Read Romance -- so do the bestselling and award-winning Authors who write this blog.
Join them as they dish about Books, Romance, Love, and Life.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


We all have to work to pay the bills, to eat, and to put clothes on our backs. Oh yeah, and, I don't know about you, but I like a roof over my head and a car to get to work so I can pay the bills, eat, and cover up. Horrible little vicious cycle/circle we've created for ourselves to support the creature comforts we desire.

Millions of jobs exist in order to manufacture and maintain our chosen careers/lifestyles. In my family alone we have an import/export broker, a cable installer for satellite TV, a refueling tech at DFW, a buyer for area grocery stores, retail merchandiser, an Emergency Room RN, and a fireman/EMT. The characters we write about mimic our day-to-day.

Yesterday, I posed a question to readers and fellow authors on the Launch Event for the box set I'm participating in, 9 Ways To Fall In Love. We talked about jobs we've held through our work years. So I posed this question: How do you feel about characters jobs? Should their jobs reflect their character? Their place in the story? Do their occupations tell you a little about them and why they react the way they do? As a reader, what's your take on that? What do you prefer?"

I thought all of the responses were spot on and insightful to me as a writer so I can make my characters believable. Here are a few of the responses:

From Dennise Harral, "I think the job ads to their character/personality. A teacher shows that they have patience and compassion. Security or military shows that they are protectors, they have that sense of honor and duty. It helps solidify personality traits."

 Annetta Sweetko said, "Sometimes a not so great job like a waitress, store clerk ...the ones that are hard, pay stinks and aren't glamorous ... are perfect jobs for characters. They seem more real for us average joes ... "

 Stacey Greene added, "I think a job can go either can reflect the person and their attitude, ethics etc...or it shows what they're willing to do to get to their goal...working a crummy waitress job at night and dry cleaner job in the afternoon to pay their way through school or take care of the kids...either way I think it's good for them to do something..."

I also feel, in fiction as in life, our characters can use their jobs to not only gain monetary fulfillment, but they can use those occupations and past experiences to speak for them and their beliefs. This happens in my current WIP, work in progress, CODE OF CONSCIENCE, Book Two in the Texas Code Series.

Nicasio Miguel Antonio aka Mike Anthony has been undercover in Juarez, Mexico for over two years. He's worked hard to infiltrate the Camarone Cartel to stop the flow of drugs and illegals into the United States at El Paso, Texas. Six months ago his partner, Reina Torrez, was found murdered outside Juarez. Nic went dark, so deep undercover he cut off all communication to find her murderer.

Like his foster brother, Graeme McAlister, Nic was Special Forces and works for INTERCEPT. As a small child in Juarez, he learned street survival skills which he now employs as an undercover agent.

Luz Miranda Camarone is a well known TV anchor, Andi Cameron, in El Paso, Texas. She aspires to work in a larger market and feels she may be on her way when a story comes across her desk concerning the murder of an acquaintance, Reina Torrez.  Luz starts her own investigation into the murder in spite of the TV station's dissatisfaction and warnings from her brother-in-law, Enrique Santiago.

Luz uses her investigative skills as a reporter to help her country and ultimately save her family.

My debut book, CODE OF HONOR, The Texas Code Series, Book One, has hero, Graeme McAlister, using his Special Forces skills to save and restore his family's honor.

We don't see Maggie use her skills in depth as a nurse, but her training helps her to think quickly, assess situations, and react calmly in the extreme situations in which she finds herself.

In a future WIP, Book Three of The Texas Code Series, CODE OF JUSTICE, Assistant District Attorney, Elliott Benning and political analyst, Amanda Hartford will use their occupations in their chosen careers to join forces to fight for Truth, Justice, and the American Way. Oops! Sorry, I got carried away. <G>

But you see what I mean about how our characters occupations and chosen professions, from the low end of the scale to the high, can tell much about them and the story.

Well, this is what I have to say on this particular subject. I would love it if you left a comment as to whether you agree or disagree. I love a lively discussion!

Thanks for visiting,


CODE OF HONOR buy links Amazon for Kindle ebook and print:

and, Smashwords for nook, kobo and iTunes:
Find me on my website:
Facebook: http://facebook/carracopelin
Twitter: http://twitter/CarraCopelin





  1. Carra, that's an interesting article. I agree with those who said a character's occupation adds dimension and verisimilitude to the character. How a character spends her time is one of those decisions that can determine the path the story takes.

  2. Very interesting post, Carra. I was in on that discussion, can't say as I contributed much. Glad you came away with such good ideas. :)

    1. I saw you in the mix, Beth. I'm tweeking a short story and needed a full time job for my heroine, not just the one she had at Christmas. I thought Caroline posing the question on the launch site about what kind of jobs everyone had held was very opportunistic. Thanks for visiting with me today, and see you on the other site!

  3. I agree that the job a character has adds dimension to the character and gives the writer the opportunity to make the conflicts necessary to make the story interesting. I prefer characters with unusual jobs so I can learn about different occupations but I also like the usual ones that show a person's growth potential. I was in on the tale end of the FB conversation and didn't leave a comment.

  4. I agree with you, Paty, concerning unusual occupations. They may give us an opportunity to throw in a twist that a, so called, regular job might not. So far, my characters jobs have come about after I had the plot spark. It all adds to the fun (or agony) of writing. Good to see you here today. ;)

  5. Carra--I enjoyed this. Do you have first hand knowledge of the Mexican culture, including the drug cartels? Or do you research a lot? I think some of us living in Texas could pretty much write without doing much research. Interesting plot, and your characters sound really good! Very strong and sure.

    1. Celia, research is pretty much all I do. You know how the cartels fill our newspapers from time to time. Well, when I conceived the idea for Code of Conscience, I started saving the articles until my saving spot wouldn't hold another section and I visited relatives living in El Paso. We traveled across the border into Juarez to take pictures back when it was safe. But that's as close as I get to first hand knowledge. Thank you for your kind words and support.

  6. Great post, Carra. I loved your CODE OF HONOR and look forward to future books in the series.

  7. Hey Carra, very pertinent post for me, as I'm busy cooking up plots and character occupations for my new series. You and I have chatted about this at length, so you know what I'm dealing with. Likewise, I know how much thought you've put into your characters, their jobs, personalities and conflicts. It's a juggling act, isn't it?

    1. You're right about the juggling act, Lyn. I don't know why it's so easy sometimes and other times the decisions are as hard as pulling eye teeth! All part of the agony and ecstasy of writing. ;-) Thanks, girl!


Thank you for commenting on Smart Girls Read Romance. We love readers and love their comments. We apologize that due to a few unethical spammers we've had to institute comment moderation. Please be patient with us... we DO want your genuine comments!