Monday, April 29, 2024

The Litter Audio Book by Kevin R. Doyle Virtual Book Tour


When it comes to controlling characters and having them behave as I desire, it’s been quite a learning process. This is clearly shown by one of the main characters in The Litter.

At the time I began writing this book, a little over ten years ago, I had written five other novels, with only one of them seeing publication. Thus, I was definitely still feeling my way into some sort of process for putting a book together. My system (if you want to call it that) at the time was to get a basic starting point in my head, begin writing a first draft, and from there go seat of the pants. 

While this method did allow me to eventually (after eighteen months of effort) finish the book, it led to an awful lot of false starts, rewrites, and revisions until arriving at a finished product. This same basic system applied itself not only to the plot but to the characters within said plot.

The most obvious example, in terms of characterization, where I was still learning was Karen Bannister. Her essential premise came fairly easily. Young, female, social worker, do-gooder mentality. For most of the first draft, that’s all she was. Almost all surface, hardly any depth. By the time I completed that draft, this led to some serious problems with her character.

The big thing I noticed was that she was being motivated by the plot. What I mean is that at certain points she was a strong, independent young woman, but in others she was more of an old-fashioned “Scream Queen.” In short, Karen filled the role of whatever the plot required at any given moment.

As I began work on the second draft, I took a long look at Karen, focusing primarily on the “do-gooder” aspect of her personality. The “do-gooder” aspect explained why she spent so much time working at the homeless shelter and on the streets, so much so that she seemed to have no personal life at all. But the question that occurred to me was, why is she so driven? What is there about her work, other than the charitable aspect, that makes her go beyond any normal sense of commitment? 

After thinking it over for a while, I came up with a backstory that filled in those questions. (I won’t mention it here so as not to spoil anything for potential readers or listeners.) As I incorporated that backstory into the main story, it became a lot clearer, and I hope a lot more believable, as to why she does the things she does, and takes the risks she takes, rather than go out and live a normal young woman’s life. 

Once I got this particular aspect of her character fleshed out, it not only gave me some control in terms of Karen but also allowed me to draw a connection between her and another, slightly less important, character that required little more than a name change to fully connect. (Again, being vague so I don’t spoil too much.)

The big takeway, that I’m guessing most fiction writers figure out sooner or later (hopefully sooner than I did), is that you have to have reasons why characters act as they do beyond the fact of the plot requiring it. Once you get those reasons and motivations figured out, it becomes a whole lot easier to manage the characters.

There will still be times, as almost every fiction writer can attest, when they will veer off into unexpected directions and actions, necessitating a course correction for the manuscript overall, but those corrections will more likely make sense in terms of the characters driving the plot, rather than the other way around.

They kept to the shadows so no one would know they existed, and preyed on the nameless who no one would miss. Where did they come from, and who was protecting them? In a city that had seen every kind of savagery, they were something new, something more than murderous. And one woman who had thought she had lost everything there was to lose in life would soon find that nothing could possibly prepare her for what would come when she entered their world.

Click here to hear the excerpt

A retired high-school teacher and former college instructor, Kevin R. Doyle is the author of four novels in the Sam Quinton mystery series, all published by Camel Press. He’s also written four crime thrillers, including And the Devil Walks Away and The Anchor, and one horror novel, The Litter, along with numerous short horror stories published in small magazines over the years. The first Quinton book, Squatter’s Rights, was nominated for the 2021 Shamus award for Best First PI Novel. A lifelong Midwesterner, Doyle currently resides in Missouri and has loosely based the city of Providence in the Quinton books on Columbia.

Kevin R. Doyle will award a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly dawn winner.


  1. Thank you for hosting today - it's appreciated.

  2. This looks very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Good morning. As always, thanks for taking part in my tour.

  4. Great excerpt and giveaway. :)

  5. I enjoyed the guest post. This story sounds really good.

    1. Marcy, glad you enjoyed it. Hope you enjoy the story as well.


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