Why not come back to the blog with this? It’s fun! Important note before we start – I am doing Camp NaNoWriMo with not one but two projects! Yes, I’m going to finish up Lady of Arrows, follow up with a King Arthur zombie tale, and write Sleight of Hand (Mystery of the Dark: Book 2). The how will be explained in a post coming up on the 1st of July, so, until then, here’s a thing.
1.Tell us about your favorite writing project / universe that you’ve worked with and why: Ok, I have two answers for this – written and non-written. The written goes, hands down, to Mystery of the Dark. I love Kate in her full blown snark and her friendship with Mark and others. I love the idea of vampires and other things existing and just being in the world. It’s a fun little place to play in and I like it so much that I’d go move there if I could. For non-written, it’s going to be Watchers. Children of the Gods linked to the Gods to get their powers. It’s so much fun to play in, especially as a RPG with my friends, but I really got to put pen to paper on them.
2. How many characters do you have? Do you prefer males or females?: I do like my female MCs. You know that ‘write you know’ thing? I follow that when I’m writing my main characters. I’m a woman, why shouldn’t I have women main characters, but that doesn’t mean I don’t try to write main characters who are also male. It just doesn’t work out all that well sometimes. However, as major characters? Male. It’s so easy to write the fun male major character – hello Mark, Kate’s best friend – but yeah, I’ve got a lot. Just more FMC than MMC.
3. How do you come up with names for characters (and for places if you’re writing about fictional places)?: Behind the Name for character names. There’s a behind the surnames site too that I’ll use in order to figure out names. As for places… I sometimes go and find a generator or I’ll take something and scramble it.
4. Tell us about one of your first stories/characters: Ok, first character, who is also my first ever RP character – Pyre – who is from the Watcher ‘verse. She is a blind character who’s forehead caved in and, due to supernatural reasons, she’s still alive, in a way. But she’s a quirky blind hacker / information hunter (depends on if I’m using tech or not) who just has this amazing luck to not die when things are supposed to kill her. Or she stumbles into political situations that should kill her. And so on. However, she cannot fight worth a damn. That’s why she’s got Alex and his band of merry men. Although one of them just glared at me in my head about being called merry and another about men. I’m not going to get out of this alive, guys. They’re inside the house.
5. By age, who is your youngest character? Oldest? How about “youngest” and “oldest” in terms of when you created them?: Oh dear. Youngest… That goes to Alan Dale (Alan-a-Dale) in Lady of Arrows. I’ve made him so he’s only 13 – super talented bard – but, you know, young. Oldest… that’s going to depend. If we’re going with a purely supernatural being? That’s Rinn from Lady of Arrows. Human turned into supernatural being is a tie between Justinian’s father and Darius.
Now, in terms of creation? Daniel, from Lady of Arrows, the Lord Sheriff and Marian’s brother. I was fooling around with creating Marian and Will being family and then I went right into “older brother, also the Sheriff” in my notes about Daniel. So, boom, created. Oldest created… actually written, Kate (aka Jenna) from Mystery of the Dark. Unwritten goes to Pyre from Watchers.
6. Where are you the most comfortable writing? At what time of day? Computer or good ol’ pen and paper?: You can pry my computer from my cold dead hands. Ok, maybe a bit too much. I’m most comfortable writing out on the breezeway during the summer and the couch during the winter with a dog on my lap. Cookie’s the best little assistant until she’s demanding pets. Then the world just kind of stops until she’s done. As for time of day…. I’m becoming a morning writer? Like get up right in the morning and write and do it early in the day too. That’s new. Kind of shocking, but new and I like it.
7. Do you listen to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your characters?: I have a Pandora Lady Gaga station that’s mixed in with all these different artists that I like. I will jam to that while writing and get a lot done. As for songs… Kate and Justinian’s song is Set Fire to the Rain by Adele. That was back when Justinian was a lot darker and less of the good guy he is now. However… it’s stuck. I feel bad but at least it’s not Love the Way You Lie? Which, while awesome, is not the best subject matter in the end and you need to listen to Part 2 of that song. Yes, there’s a part 2 and it’s awesome! So, um, yeah. Music!
(I’m not even on 8 and I’m trying to jump ahead to ten. Ok, back to questions.)
8. What’s your favorite genre to write? To read?: Fantasy, for both, and are you really shocked? No? Good. However, it’s not adult fantasy that I’m reading. I have been loving reading YA fantasy and then applying some of it to adult. Or even just writing YA fantasy. It’s a lot of fun. However, I will never ever during down a mystery novel, especially Swedish mystery novel. So good.
9. Where do you get your ideas for characters? Describe the process of creating them.: …I don’t know? They just spring up from my head a la Athena. Now, I do flesh them out after I get this new voice going “Hello!” and figure out what story they go into. With that, I do a lot of character questions or just listen to the voice in my head.
Yes, voices. No, I’m not crazy. Little bit. Crazy not stupid section (tell me what that’s from without Googling and I will give you a cookie).
10. What are some really weird situations your character have been in? Everything from serious canon scenes to some questions counts!: Um… I don’t think I really have any yet? All I can come up with feels completely normal for those characters. I’m not sure why.
11. Who is your favorite character to write? Least favorite?: Kate. It is so easy to write her and be snarky and witty. I feel most comfortable when writing her. I am not liking writing Daniel from Lady of Arrows at the moment but that’s due to him being an ass.
12. In what story did you feel you did the best at world building? Any side notes on it you’d like to share?: This is a tie between work in mind Watchers and Mystery of the Dark. It wasn’t hard to world build the second one because I’m building off of the world we already have. Yet there was also the questions of “how did they hide for so long? Why did they come out” and so on and so forth. I have it that there really was going to be something completely wrong with Y2K that the vampires were able to smooth over but they had to come out of the shadows for it. Along with the rest of the supernaturals but they weren’t considered truly part of society before they stepped up and fixed the world. A side note that I have and that I haven’t touched is “what about 9/11?”. I…I don’t want to touch that. It feels cheap to touch it. So, when I get asked the question, I will simply say that I cannot bring myself to say if it truly happened or not. It’s up to the reader if they stopped it or not. I can’t make that call.
13. What’s your favorite culture to write, fictional or not?: The Fae culture of Mystery of the Dark. They’re so behind the scenes of human culture and hands off – they’re Switzerland, really – and yet they play such a big role in the end. It’s so much fun.
14. How do you map out locations, if needed? Do you have any to show us?: Google Maps. It’s also how I map out the road trip from Asheville to Portland Oregon too. And then go “ok… werewolf territory, vampire city, more werewolf territory…. I think the Fae have Las Vegas…”. I’m weird, I know.
15. Midway question: Tell us about a writer you admire, whether professional or not!: Hands down Neil Gaiman. I’m not just saying this because of Good Omens being out, but because one of my favorite books is American Gods. It is a blend of Norse mythology and the modern world / Gods of our times that just works so well. I also like that he’s just a good and stand up guy. His twitter is nice and positive. I heard him speak when he came to Chicago about Neverwhere and he is just the writer that I would love to be.
16. Do you write romantic relationships? How do you do with those, and how “far” are you willing to go in your writing?: Oh yes, I do. I’m not sure what is being asked with the second part of “how do you do with those” because… I do okay? There’s real romance there and sometimes it’s a small burn when I’ve got 7 books vs a fast burn when it’s a duology. So maybe that’s what it means? I don’t know. As for how far… I black curtain it out when it comes to sex.
17. Favorite protagonist and why!: I mean… I love me some Kate with all of her issues but Marian is coming up fast as one of my other favorites. Kate is brilliant and witty and things I want to be. Marian is the social warrior that I want to be. So that’s why they are two of my favorites and you can’t make me choose. Nope!
18. Favorite antagonist and why!: Oh my gosh… tie between Darius and Rinn. Darius because he is such the protagonist that gets this character transformation and you think he’s going to forgive. But he doesn’t. At all. I am here for it when I get to book 5 of Mystery of the Dark. As for Rinn… there’s just the fun of being the Demon King while in the body of Prince John and trying to take over the known world.
19. Favorite minor that decided to shove himself into the spotlight and why!: Dante. He was supposed to just be this behind the scenes mentor who made sure that Kate and Mark stayed on the straight and narrow. He’s shoved himself forward to be all “I am more than this!” and I’m so glad that he did. He makes the story richer by knocking common sense into those two when they are idiots (which is sometimes often).
20. What are your favorite character interactions to write?: Kate and Mark, Kate/Justinian, Gabriel with any of the other characters because he’s got all this baggage of his own that could be a novella, and, for one non Mystery of the Dark one, Marian and Will. The two siblings play off of each other so well and I love it.
21. Do any of your characters have children? How well do you write them?: Not yet and I plead the fifth on which two (or more!) those are. Spoilers.
22. Tell us about one scene between your characters that you’ve never written or told anyone about before! Serious or not.: Queen of the Dawn, which is the second book of the duology Lady of Arrows, has a scene where Marian grows wings while trapped in the demon realm.
23. How long does it usually take you to complete an entire story—from planning to writing to posting (if you post your work)?: I want to say it takes about two to three months but that’s not factoring in editing. If we factor in editing, then it takes five to six months to be completely done.
24. How willing are you to kill your characters if the plot so demands it? What’s the most interesting way you’ve killed someone?: I’m extremely willing if the plot demands it, but that’s only if I cannot rework the plot to make it so i don’t have to kill them. Sometimes the plot needs to be reworked if the character is important enough. I don’t think I have a most interesting way but best threatening was Kate saying she’d skin someone alive, basically.
25. Do any of your characters have pets? Tell us about them.: Kate adopted a stray, named Maximilian, and he is very much a normal cat. He’s got personality and he loves his half humans as well as the Arcane who insisted on bursting into the half humans’ lives. He likes going around in backpacks, but the best time was traveling in the back of Mark’s van.
26. Let’s talk art! Do you draw your characters? Do others draw them? Pick one of your OCs and post your favorite picture of him!: Nope.
27. Along similar lines, do appearances play a big role in your stories? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters.: I mean…. yes and no? I like giving them so people can have an image in their mind. So I like giving the hair and eye color and so on so people can know who they’re looking at.
28. Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities? Describe them, and if there’s nothing major to speak of, tell us a few smaller ones.: Marian has a physical disability – she’s legally blind in the same way that I am – but she can use magic to have perfect sight. The downside is that it hurts and she can’t fully see after she uses it for long periods of time. It is extremely hard writing it because I’m trying to make sure that people understand what’s happening, but I’m still on my first draft. We’ll see how it goes when I hit second draft.
29. How often do you think about writing? Ever come across something IRL that reminds you of your story/characters?: I’m always thinking about my writing. The really fun times is when I’m walking down the street and something pops into my mind that would just work perfectly. And it feeds into the second half of the question with something that happened this week. I was walking to Starbucks and Backstreet Boys came on Pandora. It gave me the way that I wanted to start Sleight of Hand, since I’ve been having issues with my opening, and it spiraled into a better outline for another go at the story.
30. Final question! Tag someone! And tell us what you like about that person as a writer and/or about one of his characters!: TAMMY! If you can read this, then you’ve been tagged! Sorry not sorry. This person is someone who I met not too long ago and her writing is amazing. She’s taken a genre that is not my favorite and made it into one when she’s the one behind the story. Her characters feel like people I want to go meet in real life (okay, really, gimme Preston to clean my house) and I wish someone would pick her up to get her stories published.