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Character Development, Guest Post by Young Adult Author, Lucy Winton

Thank you so much for featuring me on your blog, Kai!

Creating characters is one of my favourite things to do while writing a story or a book. Sometimes they just appear in my head, other times they’re a bit reluctant to tell me what they’re really like.

The four characters you’re about to meet weren’t in the least bit reluctant. Two of them are from my book Wild Rose and two are from Dark Rose, the sequel.

Milly Costello

Milly is the protagonist of Wild Rose. From the moment I started writing the story, I knew Milly looked like a quintessential “English rose” - blonde, blue eyes and delicate features – which is ironic, because the country she lives in was actually inspired by Scotland.

When Wild Rose begins, the best word to describe Milly would be ‘girly’. Her favourite colours are pale blue and pink. She knows the colours of all the roses in her former hometown. She’s good at cooking and baking, and she’s even hand-sewn a dress for herself.

In other words, she looks like she wouldn’t last long if she was sent off to live with the wolves.

However, she is also a free spirit.

Milly deeply values her friends and the bond they share. She has a gutsy side (although she would be surprised to know it) and maybe she’s a little ambitious as well. She doesn’t want to spend the rest of her life doing what she’s doing – and she doesn’t want to spend it behind city walls.

At heart, Milly is unafraid and unashamed to be who she is. Above all, she wants to be free.

One day, the Wolf-Lords arrive at her city. Wolf-Lords are people who have a strange affinity for wolves; it’s considered an honour to be chosen by a wolf cub. They’re respected and feared throughout Fearainn – but at the moment, they’re more feared than they are respected.

Milly finds her wish granted in a way she doesn’t expect or want. She is afraid but determined to get through the six months she’ll be spending with the Wolf-Lords. It’s only when she’s in the Wolf-Lords’ village that she realises she’s free.

But it may not last. Milly and her friends have a secret and although Milly doesn’t know it, it’s about to catch up with her.

Frankie Jamison

You know the kind of kid who might as well have mischief for a middle name?

If you’re familiar with Fireman Sam, you probably know the name Norman Price. He causes trouble whether he intends to or not.

Often, troublemaker characters have an adult nemesis. Horrid Henry has Miss Battleaxe. Dennis the Menace had…well, pretty much every adult he ever met.

And then you’ve got the kid you suspect is always up to no good, but you can’t actually prove anything.

Frankie Jamison is one of Milly’s friends. She grew up on the Gull Islands and was a bit of a wild child. Like all ‘troublemakers’, she had a nemesis growing up. At least, she considered him a nemesis. When he appears in Redcross, she still sees him the way she did when she was younger, and she would rather see as little of him as possible. Unfortunately for her and the others, that isn’t going to happen.

One of the things I wanted to explore with Wild Rose was the relationship between the ‘troublemaker’ and the ‘nemesis’. What happens when the child grows up? Is there still tension between them?

Were they even enemies at all?

Isabel Monray

A character’s clothes can speak volumes about who they are. For instance, if someone appears in a book or television programme wearing dark clothing (particularly black leather), chances are that they’re going to be trouble.

The protagonist of Dark Rose is Isabel Monray. She is one of the last blood members of an old noble family, and she lives in the region of Silverdon in Anvador. She is also a parlante – someone with the ability to communicate telepathically with other parlantes, but only those she trusts. But the bond won’t work if the trust isn’t mutual.

When Dark Rose begins, she learns that she is going to inherit the Monray title. By right, the title belonged to her older brother but since he has willingly chosen to give it up, it now falls to Isabel. And she’s the only person who can take it up. With great power comes great responsibility, but Isabel was never supposed to have the power or the responsibility.

This means all the freedom she would have enjoyed as the family ‘spare’ is gone. But she decides to be the best Lady she can be, because it’s what Silverdon deserves.

Things get more complicated for her when she meets a group of people from a neighbouring region. Their homes were destroyed by a wild storm, and they’re in Silverdon to receive shelter while new houses are built for them back in Merrowdon. Isabel officially welcomes the Merrows to Silverdon and is surprised to discover their representative isn’t much older than she is. She is even more disconcerted when she can’t seem to maintain her icy persona around them – and one in particular seems to be able to see right through her.

I had Isabel in my head for ages before deciding on a story for her. I was intrigued by this arrogant-looking young woman with long black hair, who was thrust into a situation she should never have had to deal with but was determined to deal with it regardless. Of course, she was wearing black.

And she was waiting to emerge from her cocoon.

Sky Linton

Sky belongs to a lesser branch of the Linton family. She normally has a calm demeanour, but it conceals a strong will. She is fully aware that some people only see her as a member of her family and not an individual in her own right.

And she hates that. She hates that there doesn’t seem to be more to her life than her relatives, and she wants to believe that there’s more for her future than just staying in the shadows.

Then the Merrows come on the scene – and she can’t stay away from them. Apart from her friends Isabel and Marcela, they are the only people to see her for the person she is, and she gets to know them in turn.

One of the Merrows is Jules Hickathrift. Jules is one of my favourite characters in Dark Rose. He is friendly, caring and has no formality at all. His loyalty to his family and friends knows no bounds, and he isn’t afraid to follow his heart no matter where it leads.

The trouble with following your heart is that sometimes it comes with a price. And Sky’s family aren’t going to take kindly to her deliberately associating with a boy who isn’t noble.

It’s fun to create characters, but writing their growth and development is even more rewarding. Milly, Frankie, Isabel and Sky all change in their own way over the course of the books, and I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting them.

Wild Rose:

There are three rules in the walled city of Redcross: work if you want to eat, go home as soon as you hear the warning drums and do not leave your house after curfew begins. Milly Costello has lived in Redcross for two years and wants nothing more than to leave. But when the mysterious Wolf-Lords arrive, she finds her wish granted in a way she neither expects nor wants. Meanwhile, her friends must deal with a secret - one that threatens disastrous consequences for Milly and themselves.

You can find it at or

Dark Rose:

Isabel Monray is a parlante - someone with the ability to mentally communicate with other parlantes that she trusts. But the trust has to be mutual for the bond to succeed. She has spent the past year preparing to inherit the title her brother abandoned - as well as the responsibilities that come with it. But her world changes again when newcomers arrive in her home region, sent to receive shelter after their homes are destroyed by a storm. Against her will, Isabel finds herself enchanted by the newcomers. But as they leave their mark on the region, she is torn between the person she truly is and the person she thinks she has to become.

You can find it at or

The books are also available as a box set: or


Lucy lives in a seaside town. When she was five, someone gave her a story notepad and she has never stopped writing since. She has loved books ever since she can remember. One day, she decided to get serious and actually start writing a book.

You can find her at:

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