It’s important that the protagonists appearing in your book are interesting. Not just in their visual appearance, but also their character. Particularly the main protagonists must really stand out from the average.
In my novel Promise Me Eternity, the main character is Dr. Simon Patterson, who is married to Helen. I deliberately placed Simon in the role of a modest and successful neurosurgeon, whose main interest is science, and his wife in the role of a snooty hairdresser, whose only concern is money. Below is an excerpt describing what happens when they are invited to the home of the mafia boss Carlo Vucci.
She finally decided and chose the right dress. She put it on quickly and hurried to the bathroom. She heard Simon banging about in the kitchen. “Are you ready, dear?”
“Ages ago. I’ll go to the lab while you’re getting ready.”
She answered in a husky voice, “Don’t, you’ll mess up your suit again. I’ll be down in a few minutes.” She used a cleanser and then put on some face cream, added a thin layer of powder, and emphasized her lips with a strong red lipstick. Finally, she did her eyes, coloring them with blue-green eye shadow. She had also bought some new, expensive mascara for the occasion. It’s worth it, she thought. For such an important visit, the cost doesn’t matter.
She took one last look in the mirror. She was happy with her hair, which she had had done in the salon before leaving work. But she was not too pleased with her dress. It was the best she had, but nothing like the kind she would really like.
Simon was sitting at the table reading a scientific journal. The article reported on people attempting to slow down the aging process. They spent hours every week at the gym and took various vitamin supplements to stay fit. What they’re doing isn’t bad, but it has little to do with aging. When my vaccine is on the market—.
“Come on! I thought you said you were ready.”
He jumped when he heard her voice. “I am. Shall we go?”
“We’re late already. You still don’t have your shoes on.” She scrutinized him up and down. “What about your tie? Where’s your tie?”
“I thought I’d go without—”
“No way. I told you already, it’s an extremely important visit. You can’t be without a tie. Go and put one on, please. And not that brown one you always wear. Take the blue one with the red pattern that I bought for your birthday. And put on the dark blue jacket. It’ll go well with your pants.”
Because he didn’t want to argue he went for his tie and jacket.
The drive was unusually silent. Once, Helen commented that it was time they got a new car. “This old piece of junk is already eight years old. How long are we going to keep driving it?”
“We’ll get a new one next year,” he replied. He thought she would keep on about the car but to his amazement she stayed quiet. Obviously, she was too busy thinking about how to behave at dinner.
When they finally arrived at the property, Helen was beside herself with excitement. “Look how much land they’ve got! He must be rolling in it!” Simon slowed the car on the long driveway. She exclaimed, “Will you look at that mansion!” She admired the carefully tended shrubbery on the left. When she saw the enormous two-story house up close, she gasped. On the second floor she counted six large windows. Together with the first floor, she counted fifteen. The façade was a brick-red color, which in combination with the white windows and magnificent entrance pillars created an impression of grandeur. She pointed to the right. “Look at that maze! I can’t believe it.”
Simon glanced at the maze made out of rosemary bushes, which was about twenty yards across. He said nothing.
“What a house! It could hold at least five big families.” She grabbed his shoulder and shook it. “Isn’t it heavenly?”
“Stop shaking me, we’ll crash.”
When they stopped on the drive in front of the house, a young man in a dark-blue suit was waiting for them. He opened the door on Helen’s side. Simon showed signs of getting out.
Helen hissed at him, “Wait, damn it! You’ll ruin everything.”
He instantly pulled his hand back and looked at her in surprise. “What did I do wrong?”
“Wait for the servant to open your door!”
He was relieved it was nothing worse.
When Helen had elegantly got out, the young man bowed and welcomed her. With her head up, she looked around and hardly replied. Then the young man went to Simon’s side and opened his door. “There you are, sir. Welcome to Mr. and Mrs. Vucci’s estate.”
Dr. Patterson smiled and wished him good day.
The servant pointed toward the entrance with both hands and bowed politely.