The heroine of my book series, "Witch of Appalachia" is Cathleen O'Brien. Shes attractive, but not distractingly so; she very bright, but not a true nerd who thinks plaid is a color; she's very rich, but not a Paris Hilton wanna be. I'd call her well-rounded and very likable...for a Wizard!
When I wrote Book I, "Wolf Master of Iron Mountain" I knew that my protagonist was this wonderful young woman and I knew she was a very skilled Celtic Wizard. What I didn't know was just how her Magic would look on the page.
I think I can safely say, I'm probably the first person in my family to have a Druid Dictionary on the desk along with favorite family photos. It's all part of the research needed to give Cathleen the spells she'll need to face the occasional Skin Walker and his werewolves, or the beautiful Chinese Vampire (Book III will introduce her!).
I rely on my active imagination to sketch out the story in my head and then turn to research when needed to color it in and bring it to life.
Writing feels like a rather magical process, especially when I examine how the ebb and flow of ideas roll in on one another like a heavy surf at the beach. The sounds of powerful waves, crushing against the unyielding shore, is something like what happens to me, when I'm in writer mode. I have to allow some ideas to wash over me, while I am selective about the ones I'll ride out.
I think our close proximity in time to summer days is inspiring the ocean metaphor, but you get the idea.
Magic, with slight of hand, can be done sitting at the computer tapping out the spells. Hope you'll check out my books and find a little Magic in your hands!