Creating a character - Piña Coladas for a vampire Caribbean queen?

Note to self: Stop trying to be "artistic", you just haven't got it in you. Everytime I have aimed at an "artsy" approach to my styling and photography, I haven't quite cut it nor have I succeeded. And yet, I keep going at it, wide eyed and expectant, thinking this will be the one time I'm gonna get it right! Well, this wasn't clearly that one time, but it's done and there's no accounting for it. If I were to tell you how I came by the idea for this particular set of photographs, you'd either think I'm a complete nutter or you'd laugh your heart out. It's quite ridiculous, actually.

See, this isn't a glass of milk, nor is this a dessert. This is a chilled Piña Colada. I'm quite particular to Piña Coladas, see, the rum! I do like my rum, and I do like the creaminess of the coconut with the tart pineapple coming through the sweetness. I wouldn't say it is my favourite rum cocktail, it is not refreshing enough, but this one's like a dessert for me. And I wanted to have it here on the blog. I only didn't know how to go about it, with the styling and shooting of the set. Ihad actually begun with a very different idea in mind, all tropical like and pirate-y. (Enter Zach McGowan and his sexy depiction of pirate Charles Vane, and my obsession with him.) But one morning, it all took an unexpected turn, as I was exercising. I began constructing a character for my novel, and this kind of ensued from there...

I would actually love to know how other writers construct their characters. My own personal way entails quite a lot of daydreamig and musing. I create their look, first. Dark hair? Blond, red? Eyes of blue, or brown or grey? Name's usually the first - this vampire novel I'm working in at the moment really came into being because of a name I've had stuck in my head for years! - and then the looks. But also the way they dress, the music they listen to, books they read, the car they drive! It all entangles in my mind, and sometimes most of this doesn't even go into the book. Or it does, but in very subte ways. Like right now, there's this one character who dresses in that minimalistic style I don't much favour. She's all black and whites with a touch of camel or grey. She dresses like that because to her things are mostly black and white, she's quite practical and assertive, but she's also vain and cares about her looks, though not very openly. She's confident, self assured. This set here, this is not inspired by her at all.

Then there's this other character who is a bit - a lot! - of a tease. He likes to call on attention towards himself, either from men or women. He's very sensual, and a bit of a rebel, so he wears a lot of leather pants, very low cut. He has a tattoo in a certain specific part of his body, and as he always goes around shirtless and without underwear, he draws eyes onto his crotch the whole time. The way he dresses is paramount to his sensuality, but hides someone who is romantic and loyal and loving. That is shown by his actions, I guess, but also by a particular likeness for a certain song. This set is also not about him, nor his love interest, who is all over the place, and whose dress style clearly shows that. Someone who doesn't quite know where she belongs, who she is, what she is, and so ends up emulating the dress code of the people she connects herself to: she'll dress a certain way when in the company of certain types of people, and a completely different way if she's thrown into a different group altogether. But because she's a bit of a maneater, she wears a lot of very tight clothes, leathers, black, lace. And she never looks quite comfortable in her skin, which shows how insecure she truly is. And this set does not pertain to her either.

The funny thing about this set is that the character who inspired it is not even all that important! She only shows up in the second half of the story, but since she's some sort of vampire queen bee, she needed a strong background - how else would she have risen up to such a position? - and a strong character. So she's a cold, cruel woman, who will not shirk at doing what needs to be done in order to maintain her status and her safety. SHe's a qaudroon born to a mulatto slave who was some sort of a voodoo priestess in the Caribbean and died for it. Daughter was turned into a vampire by her mistress, a prostitute in Santo Domingo. She clawed her way up the vampire hierarchy through centuries, and she stopped at nothing. I wanted her to be the cliché for vampire queens: she hardly ever comes out of her house during daytime, she has her curtains drawn and her fans on, though she can't feel the heat, she sits around all day in her boudoir ensembles, lots of garters and peignoirs and camisoles and bloomers, she takes a lot of time with her make up and her jewelry and she loves a good Piña Colada, which betrays her Caribbean origins. So this is how these photos came about.

I was ding crunches and thinking of how her house was decorated, and the colours she would favour, I was thinking about the things she'd have scattered around as she sat in front of her many mirrors doing her make up - my vampires have no trouble being reflected in mirrors, nor facing the sun, let alone Catholic symbols! - and drinking her Piña Coladas. I wanted the reader to somehow get a good idea of the kind of being she was just by reading the description of her rooms and her stance. I wanted it to convey her character, and her little quirks, without coming out and saying this person is like this and like that and she does this and does not do that. It's boring. I like getting a good sniff of a character's private rooms, the way they live when they are home, inside their sanctuaries. It's a quirck like any other, so I do tend to describe the way my characters dress, or do their hair - I do believe this shows so much of who one truly is, what one truly wants to show the world about one's self! ANd for me, constructing a character in my head goes a lot through this, even if it doesn't see the light of day on a page. It's there, in my head, the character nearly becomes a real person, with preferences and disliked and even a favourite drink. This one happens to enjoy a good Piña Colada!

So for your own take on being a quadroon vampire queen with a quirky accent, here's your poison:

  • 6 to 7 chinks of pineapple
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
  • 50 ml pineapple juice
  • 50 ml dark rum - use white rum if you like, it's a question of personal preferences
  • 50 ml coconut cream
Place all the ingredients on to a blender and blend untill smooth. Pour over a chilled glass and garnish with a slice of pineapple or a marraschino cherry, if you're into that sort of thing, my vampire clearly is not! Slurp away and have fun!!


  1. Vampire novel? wowww ahahah mt bom!! Tu és mais que artística, és única!! Adoro qd ficamos a conhecer as personagens pelas suas atitudes, descrições de roupa e gestos, muito Eça. O óbvio nunca me agradou muito. Já o rum, #anytime!!!!

    1. Rum!! Let's be pirates together. Oh, eu de artistica realmente n tenho um ai, mas lá única, isso eu sou de opinião que somos todos eheheh, uns para melhor, outros para pior - n, Trump, n estou a falar de ti...
      E eu que abominooooo Eça. Mas já é a minha segunda vampire novel, lol, e a terceira ou quarta tentativa de "pen down" esta história em particular.

  2. Wow Miranda!!
    Estou in love e mal posso esperar que termines essa tua novela vampiresca e a ponhas à venda, pois serei, certamente, uma das primeiras compradoras e leitoras.
    Pina Colada? Disseste Pina Colada?? Pois venham 3 já, de seguida, aqui para a minha mesa!!
    Um beijinho grande,

    1. Olha que nem de propósito, Lia, acabei agora mesmo de escrever The End no first draft - á falta de expressões em bom português, que o meu é péssimo!! Agora é fazer revisão do texto, edição, cortar, acrescentar, remendar e corrigir, mas como publico em modo de self publishing, vai ser novamente um ebook como a novela de mistério que já publiquei. Qui ça um dia saia em papel...

    2. Estamos a precisar de livros novos! Como a Lia e tu, adoro pina colada, deve ser a minha bebida favorita de verao, e white russians para o viking. Eu gostava de tirar melhores fotografias, quer dizer gostava que a máquina visse o que eu imagino! Ah tenho me esquecido de te dizer, os sapatos do viking dos quais gostaste sao doc martens, ha tb em preto :)

    3. pois. estás como eu! queria que a camera visse o que o meu cérebro vê...

  3. adorei a composição fotográfica, sem dúvida muito inspiradora e parabéns por teres terminado mais um grandioso desafio! deve estar/ ser o máximo, com a tua criatividade sempre ao rubro e o teu talento inegável!piña colada - bring it on!!!

  4. oh n sei se está assim tãoooooo bom, por enquanto marcha...


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