Creating new characters

I just created a new character, he will be a neighbour’s of Mary, the protagonist. He is a man in his sixties, an old school hippy, a good and decent man who doesn’t trust the Man (law enforcement, etc.) He and Mary get along and sometimes go foraging for wild mushrooms. He also taught Mary how to grow her own cannabis for medicinal purposes. Anyhow, Mary introduces him to her friend Teresa, an Officer in the S.Q. (Sureté du Québec). I find that having a mixed bag of friends can be a big plus, and with these murders, Mary will need all her friends if she’s to survive.
I’m learning to rely on my interests and even pulling from real life at times when creating characters. Sometimes I will do a whole backstory like I did for the protagonist and the killer, but I also make characters up as I go. I come up with characters depending on the needs of the story, what will move it forward, what will create tension or levity. At the moment, I’m working on creating friends for Mary Dubois, the main character in my thriller.
I always try and keep in mind that each new persona has to bring something that adds to the overall story, which creates tension and conflict. I also have a non-human character, her dog Sigma, a border collie.
Peopling a novel with main and secondary characters, giving some of them backstories, sending some to certain death, and others existing mainly as a support system for the protagonist. All in all, it’s a blast dreaming them up!

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