Rami, Sam, and Character Hopping


Writers are famous for falling in love with their characters so when Maria Ann Green posted about the character blog hop, I thought it sounded like fun. Thanks for tagging me, Maria!

I’m going to talk about one of the main characters in my adult thriller, The Drought of Sam Dakota(strictly a working title at this point). This novel was my creative thesis in grad school and this character barged onto the scene and stole the show.

What is the name of your character? Is he or she a fictional or historic person?

Rami Amato is a Native Samoan who played football at KU and went on to settle in Kansas City, Mo.

When and where is the story set? What should we know about him?

The book opens in 2006 in Kansas City, Mo. with the kidnapping of Sam Dakota’s son. It pops ahead to a year later when the local D.A. and a friend of Sam’s, coerces Rami, a local P.I. doing strictly corporate work, into helping Sam find his son. Rami has sworn off kidnapping cases since one went bad on him years before but the D.A. saved his butt when he got in a spot of legal trouble and the D.A. isn’t above collecting that marker.

Rami works on a barter system more than cash. He has issues with paying taxes (Native Samoans don’t pay all taxes but are subject to payroll taxes) given that the government never spends the money where it should to Rami’s way of thinking. His slightly less than ethical approach concerns Sam Dakota, a law-abiding attorney; but Sam’s more concerned with finding his son.

What is the main conflict? What messes up his life?

Sam’s wife suffered from addiction and died before the story takes place. Being a single parent complicates Sam’s life, but Danny is the most important thing. Someone kidnaps Danny from his bus stop in September of 2006;  and in the beginning, Sam lets authorities do their job. By the end of the first year, leads dwindle and the case chills, so Sam looks for other options.

Rami had a kidnapping case go south and blames himself, some would say accurately. He refuses ALL domestic cases now. However, when the D.A. calls in his marker, Rami feels compelled to take the job. The result is his life becomes a disaster zone, and for Rami, it’s no longer about finding Sam’s son. Now, it’s about stopping a force that seems determined to stop Rami.

rami-amato-piWhat is Rami’s goal?

Okay, so this is Vin Diesel but he’s also Samoan and comes as close as I can to showing Rami. His goal was to get the job done because he’s concerned about another case, one that is far more personal. Except it appears people are out to hurt Rami and anyone close to him, and he’s no longer sure which case has him drawing fire. Now, his goal is tracking down whoever has placed the target on his back. He hopes along the way he can save his friend and find Sam’s son.

What is Rami’s personal goal?

For nearly three years, Rami has carried a load of guilt. He rarely sleeps an entire night and he spends all his quiet time wondering what he could have done differently, anything that would have provided a different, a better outcome.

Is there a title or working title? Where can we read more?

It’s been called The Drought of Sam Dakota since it’s inception, but I’m playing with other titles as an agent who loved the opening, did not like that title. Until I find one that I think is better, this is what I use. 🙂 Here’s the query:

Sam Dakota’s son is his world after his wife dies, and his work as a child advocate means he knows how fragile life can be for kids. In spite of what he knows, he never believed it would happen to him. Then, the first note arrives and the words keep him up at night.

“I have your son.”

When Danny vanishes, the chances of finding who took him dwindle with every dead-end. Faced with changing theories and dwindling police interest, Sam hires Rami Amato, a talented P.I. with an aversion to “kid cases.” Rami’s last kidnapping case ended badly; he refuses to let another end like that. Amato uncovers more than abduction. He uncovers a web of lies stretching back further than Danny’s disappearance.

Another note arrives. “I always wanted a boy.” Then another, and another, each note depicting horrors being exacted on Sam’s son. The ongoing nightmare consumes his life as the kidnapper starts a clock, counting down to Danny’s death. For Rami, it’s clear Sam won’t survive the final letter. Time is running out.

When can we expect the book to be published?

I’m currently revising before querying, and we all know even a near perfect book can never find a home while some bad books sell. I try to focus on telling Sam and Rami’s story. If it sells, I’ll be happy but for now, I just enjoy hanging out with the guys.

I’m tagging Natasha Hanova and Leatrice McKinney.

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5 Comments

Filed under Writing

5 responses to “Rami, Sam, and Character Hopping

  1. The concept sounds pretty frightening for a parent. But it sounds like a good mystery to get lost in. Matt @ JC’s Book Haven.

    • I think it is most parent’s worst nightmare. It’s been a fun book to write in spite of the scary aspects of it. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Southpaw

    It was nice to hear about your characters. -I thought agents were suppose help when they didn’t like the titles?

    • They offer suggestions but when it goes to publish the editors will probably change it anyway so I try not to get too attached to a title. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Vin Diesel has inspired a lot of my characters. 😉 I enjoyed reading about your characters, Dawn.

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