Category Archives: Characters

An Evening With The Twins

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Hello dear friends! Stephanie over at Moonrise Book Review was incredibly generous and invited me to write this character interview for her collection! The interview has gone live as of tonight (here), and I’d love to share it with you (below)!!

In a few seconds, you’ll be meeting several characters. Do not be deceived. While this might seem like an interview about Eiry Callas (our tragic Hero), it’s not. This is a character interview of Gavin and Galen Callas (The Twins). Who are they? They are post-modern Greek deities, underworld twin-gods who’ve seamlessly incorporated themselves into the human world. What motivates them? Chaos. While they could sit down and answer all your questions patiently, they’d rather not. You can discover so much more about a person in an hour of play than you can in a year of conversation… or so some guy named Plato once said.

My approach to these interviews is to always let the characters speak for themselves, so you’ll be reading an interview scene that exists somewhere outside the timeline of the novel. The scene takes place in Eira, the royal city of Tartarus, inside Eiry’s apartments.

An Evening With The Twins:

Close-Up of Anise Swallowtail's WingThe knock at the door came just as Elena was sitting down to a hot cup of tea in her favorite reading chair. It was half past ten and she was alone in Eiry’s apartments. It was the first quiet moment she’d enjoyed all day, and had just pulled the throw over her legs when the sound broke the silence.

Elena held her breath and stayed absolutely still. From the corner of her eye, she watched the door and waited. Hopefully, she’d imagined it. There was a reason she preferred Eiry’s study to the front room with its open archways and antique cases full of artifacts and old manuscripts—the study was small and private.

“We know you’re in there,” came a familiar velvety voice from behind the door, dashing Elena’s hopes of staying under the radar.

Of all the possibilities, the twins knocking at her door meant there was no chance of escape.

Elena was considering her options—and the rare fact that they hadn’t just barged in uninvited—when the doorknob rattled violently. It was followed by the sound of a scuffle behind the door, then a flurry of cursing and fervent whispers. Elena would have laughed, if she didn’t know better. Galen had obviously lost his temper and Gavin had put him in check. 

“Galen’s sorry. Will you let us in?”

Elena jumped in her seat, startled by Gavin’s voice. It hadn’t come from behind the door, but from next to her on the chair. “Jesus, Gavin, you scared the daylights out of me!” Elena turned and glared at him, swatting at his arm. “You already let yourself in, so what’s the point of asking now?” 

“You told me to ask, so I did.” Gavin smiled triumphantly, leaning over the chair’s armrest to place a kiss on Elena’s cheek. He was so pleased with himself, he was bouncing where he stood and humming cheerfully to himself. His chin-length curls bounced along with him and his golden-green eyes glowed softly in the darkness, creating an illusion of innocence that was very far from the truth. “So, you forgive him, right? We need your help and we’re on a super tight schedule.”

Several weeks ago, Elena had a ‘talk’ with the twins about boundaries and the need for knocking. She should have known then that half of it would be lost in translation. “Knock, wait, then walk in after the okay. The order is important, Gav.” Elena shook her head, half amused. He offered his cheek and she returned his kiss, before sitting back in the chair and taking a sip of her tea. “And I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to help you. I had a really long day today and have an early morning tomorrow. Plus, Eiry won’t be happy if he comes home to find y’all here—you know he doesn’t like you guys coming in and out of his rooms whenever you like.” 

“An unhappy Snowflake. How very tragic.” Galen hissed the words into Elena’s ear from behind the chair, his velvet tone sheared at the edges. Elena started, surprised, and he clamped his hand over her mouth before she could yell. When she tried to fight him off, he caught her arm with his other hand and forced her still. “Now now, no need to get all feisty. Eiry’s running errands for our mother, so you and I both know he won’t be home for a while. What’s the harm?”

Elena took a deep breath and tried to stay calm. Being grabbed was bringing back unpleasant memories of the attack in Persephone’s courtyard and she was about to lose it with Galen, which was never a good thing. If she had been sensitive about her personal space before, the ordeal months earlier made her even more sensitive now. She had to remind herself that these were the twins, and she’d come to trust their brand of crazy.

“You should probably let go of her face now,” Gavin whispered to Galen, his eyes intent on Elena’s. She was as stiff as a board and kept looking down at the cup of tea in her hands like she was considering her options. “She looks like she might hit you with that cup. Plus, you’re going to leave marks on her face, and then Snowflake is seriously going to be pissed.”

“Does it look like I care about Eiry’s feelings?” Galen smiled a devilish smile at his brother and then leaned forward, his long black hair spilling over Elena’s shoulder as he ran the tip of his nose along the shell of her ear and up to her temple. He took a deep, shuddering breath and then slowly stepped away, releasing his hold.  

The moment he let go, Elena turned in her chair and smacked Galen across the chest, forgetting all about her resolve to stay calm. The tea went flying, and so did Elena’s cursing. “How many times do I have to tell you to stop sniffing me! And stop being so handsy! You and the rest of your family—”

“Me and the rest of my family, what exactly?” Galen put his hands up and stepped back, a savage smile spreading across his face. It reached his eyes, making them a sharper blue than usual. 

“You’re impossible, the lot of you!” Like a world-class idiot, Elena had played right into their hands. It was always like this with the twins—not a moment of peace. “You owe me a hot cup of tea, Galen, and then the two of you can go back the way you came.” Elena grabbed her now empty cup of tea and stood up from her chair. She shook off the throw, set her cup down on the coffee table and then sat back down, trying her best to resume a calm demeanor. “Like I said, I have an early day tomorrow.” 

“You have an early day every day, and you have another thing coming if you think I’m making you tea.” Galen stared at Elena, defiant as he took a seat in the empty reading chair beside hers. He crossed his right knee over his left, careful not to wrinkle his designer suit, and began to braid his hair. 

“What he means is,” Gavin quickly interjected, dropping to the floor in front of his brother without a care in the world, “we need your help to answer a few questions.”

“Questions? About what?” Elena focused on Gavin and tried to ignore Galen’s blatant staring.

“About Eiry.”

Gavin’s voice was sweet as honey, and his golden gaze pleading. Red flags immediately went up in Elena’s mind. “Seriously you two, I love you and you know I would do almost anything for you, but no. You can ask Eiry himself.”

“I told you, Gav. We should have just tied her up and forced her to talk,” Galen said matter-of-fact, as he tied off the end of his braid. “We would have been done and out by now.”

“We don’t need to use Plan A when we have Plan B,” Gavin reminded him, all business. “Bribes always work.”

“You two realize violence should be Plan B, right, not A.” Elena knew they weren’t listening, but someone had to be the voice of conscience in this group—reason was completely out of the question. “Not that I’m saying violence should ever be part of the plan. And I promise you, I’m above bribes.”

“No one’s above bribes,” the two assured Elena simultaneously, their gazes rising to meet hers at exactly the same time.

Elena hated when they did that. It reminded her of the Siamese cats in Lady and the Tramp.

“Ele, please,” Gavin cut in before she had a chance to say no again. “The interview is due tomorrow. This is our last chance. We’ve tried to persuade Eiry to do the interview all week but he refuses, so we’ve decided to do it for him. We’re just lost on a few of the questions. We’re prepared to give you something of great value. Plus, Eva won’t mind.” 

“Eva? What does Eva have to do with anything? I already did an interview of Eiry for Eva.”

“She wanted another one,” Galen answered with a shrug.

“Something of great value,” added Gavin, doing his best to dangle his carrot.

“Since when do you two do what Eva asks?”

“Since she made us an offer we can’t refuse.” Gavin grinned, bouncing in his seat. “Something of greeeeat value.” 

“Yes, yes. We’re all being offered things of great value. Go ahead and say it, Gavin. Say what you’re offering for my cooperation, because you won’t stop unless I ask, right?”

Gavin stared up at her with a wounded expression, his bottom lip jutting out as if he was about to cry, but he couldn’t keep it for long. He tried his best to hide a grin, as he reached into the back pocket of his jeans and took out what looked like some kind of card or paper. “Voila! A thing of great value.”

“A piece of paper…” Elena remarked, unimpressed.

“Everyone has a price, Elena, even good little girls like you.” Galen flipped over the card in his brother’s hand and smiled. “A baby picture of Eiry. Trust me when I tell you that it is authentic, and only one exists in the world. It just so happens that the one time he fell in battle, cameras had already been invented.”

Elena was speechless. Two seconds ago, she would have bet her life that she couldn’t be bought. Now, she couldn’t imagine a scenario where she turned down that picture. What were a few questions weighed against that? Plus, she’d really be helping Eiry. If she let the twins do this alone, gods only knew what they would say. “You willing to swear by the Styx that the picture is authentic?”

“Cross my heart and hope to die.” Galen grinned, then leaned forward and offered her his hand. “But don’t take my word for it. You’re the best lie detector out there. See for yourself.”

Elena watched him, wary. He’d caught her off guard with his gesture. He’d sworn by the Styx, which was not taken lightly in his family, and also offered his hand, which no one was really chancing these days. “I’ll accept the picture and help you answer the questions. Verification will not be necessary.”

There was a quiet exchange of furtive glances between the twins, before Gavin handed Elena her picture and produced his list of questions.

“Okay, question number one.”

Gavin cleared his throat, his gaze darting back and forth across the page in his hand. It was obviously an email from Eva. Elena couldn’t begin to imagine what the woman had to offer the twins to ensure their cooperation.

What is your most notable characteristic? Eiry’s, I mean…” Gavin looked up at Elena with a beaming smile. “I say his skills with his scythe.”

“I’m better with a blade than he is, so the scythe is out,” Galen scoffed. “I say all that pallor and stoicism. It’s smexy.” 

Elena shook her head, wondering if this was precisely what Eva had in mind when she asked the twins for help. “His perseverance.” The answer was simple for Elena. Eiry had persevered against all odds, even in the face of so much loss. “Next question, Gavin.”

Gavin blinked, confused. Perseverance did not compute. In the end, he shrugged, wrote it down and then continued down his list. “Question number two. What personal achievement is Eiry most proud of? Normally I would go with something battle related, but I really think he’d say his chess skills. The man can beat the two of us at chess even though we’re unstoppable at fidchell. It defies all logic.”

Elena nodded, pretty sure that wasn’t the right answer, and turned to Galen. “What say you?”

“Probably when he won the gold metal in solo synchronized swimming at the last Games. I didn’t think he had any real talent until then.”

Elena stared at Galen, stupefied. “We’re going to go with saving me when I was a baby. Next question.” Photo or no photo, Eiry should thank his lucky little stars that she was helping.

“You’ll like this one, Ele.” Gavin’s index finger stopped halfway down the paper. “What is Eiry’s most meaningful possession?” He let the question linger and then looked up from his paper to stare at her, pointedly.

“Ummm, No.” Elena shook her head and turned to Galen with a sigh. “Spit it out.”

“A stuffed elephant Lucian gave him, after he fell in battle.”

Galen’s response was deadpan, leaving Elena to wonder—but she knew that way lay madness. Even if such an elephant existed, which it most certainly did not, Elena doubted Eiry would want the whole world to know about it. That meant that Elena needed to come up with a better answer than Gavin’s. She tried to think back on the past few months, but no one possession stood out. In the front room there were piles of artifacts and curios Eiry loved, but Elena couldn’t say any of them were his most meaningful possession. 

The twins were staring at her impatiently and she was about to give up, when it hit her. “The coins,” Elena whispered, more to herself than the twins. “The ones he chooses for an heir when they die.”

The moment Elena said it, there was a heavy silence. When she looked over at the twins, neither one of them would look at her. Galen was playing with his braid again and Gavin was preoccupying himself with his piece of paper.

Elena cleared her throat and pressed on. “Next question, boys.”

Gavin reacted slower than usual. He seemed to read the question to himself several times, before finally looking up to meet Elena’s eyes. “What brings Eiry the greatest joy in life?

“Elena,” Galen answered with unusual haste, turning to face her in his chair. He watched her quietly, then smiled—a smug, arrogant smile. “He’s a miserable shit, but even I can see you make him happy.” 

Elena quickly looked away, then down at her hands on her lap. She could feel the heat rise to her cheeks and hated how embarrassed she felt. Galen’s sudden candor, self-serving as it was, certainly didn’t help. “That one’s not going in there. Keep that one out of the interview. Okay, Gavin?”

Gavin nodded quietly and then continued with his next question, neither agreeing or disagreeing with Galen’s statement. “What is Eiry’s greatest fear?

Elena spoke up before any of them could answer. “Failing to protect the Heir. Next question.”

What is Eiry’s biggest regret?

“Gavin, are you serious? Is this really what Eva sent?” Elena was suddenly furious.

Gavin nodded and pressed his lips into a thin line. He looked uncomfortable, something Elena had never seen.

“I’m not making these up,” Gavin replied, proffering the page in his hand. “You can see for yourself.”

Elena shook her head and gently waved away Gavin’s hand. She was frustrated by the question and had taken it out on Gavin, when he was obviously just the messenger. “I’m sorry, Gav. I didn’t mean to get upset with you. It’s a touchy subject and Eva knows that. Anyone who’s read the book knows Eiry’s biggest regret—not being able to save 38 heirs. That number includes me. Make sure she prints that. Next question.”

How would Eiry define a perfect love?” Gavin asked, his voice high-pitched by the time he got to the last word.

Galen snorted out loud and barely tried to hide it. 

“We’re done,” Elena snapped. “You can tell Eva that she can work with the answers she has. She’s an author. I’m sure she can be creative and make do.”

Gavin pushed himself up on his knees and crawled toward Elena. Once he was kneeling in front of her, he pressed his palms together as if he were praying. “Just one more, Ele. I’ll skip that last one, okay? I promise. We just have to get six answers or we won’t meet our end of the bargain.”

“You shouldn’t beg, Gavin. It’s unseemly,” Galen chided his brother.

“You always make me beg. What’s the difference?” Gavin glared at Galen, made a vulgar gesture with his hand, and then turned to face Elena with a smile. “Tell us a secret about Eiry that no one else knows.

“He watches Project Runway when he thinks no one’s looking.”

 

 

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An Afternoon Lunch With Elena and Eiry

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“Poppies” by Katsushika Hokusai.

Hello, and thanks again for tuning in! As I’d mentioned in my last post, I’ve been invited to participate in the Meet My Character Blog Tour. For this particular tour, authors interview a main character from a recently published or soon to be published work, and then tag other authors to keep up the chain of interviews the following week. It’s the perfect opportunity for readers to learn about these characters outside of the constraints of their stories, and for authors to promote not only their work but the characters that made their work possible.

Before we begin, I’d like to thank the authors who invited me to participate in this tour:

Lily Author writes mysteries and thrillers, and is the author of Eden Fell, a dark and modern fairytale that chronicles Eden’s life as she falls from grace. She is also a moderator of the Goodreads group Fringe Fiction. You can read Lily’s contribution to the Meet My Character Blog Tour here.

Sarah Roberts is the author of Rokula, a Contemporary Fantasy novel about monsters, magic, arena fighting, conspiracies, jealousy, betrayal, love, destiny, and madness. Rokula is the first installment of The Rokula Saga. For more information, check out The Rokula Saga website here. Like Rokula on Facebook. You can read Sarah’s contribution to the Meet My Character Blog Tour here.

Ryan Gladney is the author of Nine Lives of Adam Blake, a contemporary novel set in Minnesota that combines elements of speculative fiction, urban fantasy, philosophical fiction, coming-of-age, and literary fiction. You can read Ryan’s contribution to the Meet My Character Blog Tour here.

In a few seconds, you’ll be meeting the lead characters of my debut novel, The Butterfly Crest. When I was considering how to set this up, I decided it would be best to let the characters speak for themselves.  As a result, you’ll be reading an interview scene that exists somewhere outside the timeline of the novel.

And with that, onto our scene…

Meet My Characters – Interview Scene

Relief washed over Elena as she stepped out of the blistering summer heat and into the cool, air-conditioned atrium of a restaurant. Looking down at her watch, she was thrilled to see she was only five minutes late.

The moment the door closed behind her, the sounds of the street outside fell away and were quickly replaced by the clamor of patrons enjoying their lunch. There was always something frantic about the energy inside a New Orleans restaurant; a joie de vivre, as Cataline would say. It was impossible not to be swept up by it, and Elena couldn’t help but stop and take a moment to enjoy it.

Her moment, however, was cut short by the sound of an unfriendly, yet familiar voice.

“Ah, Ms. Vicens, you’re finally here. He’s been waiting,” the host called out to Elena in a brisk tone, raising his hand to wave her over from the entrance. “Come along,” he added, looking her over disapprovingly, before turning on his heel to lead the way.

Elena stared at the man’s back for a few seconds and then fell into step behind him, following along the familiar corridor to the private dining room reserved for the Callas family. Thankfully, the short walk was a quiet one this time, and the host didn’t linger once he showed Elena into the room; his attempt to walk her to their table had been met by a violent stare from the room’s only occupant.

Tall and slender, with pale blonde hair and ice-blue eyes, the man was dressed in an impeccably tailored suit, his hair worn short and perfectly groomed. He appeared to be in his late twenties but was much older than that, and his fair skin was so pale it reminded Elena of snow. Since the day they’d met, this was exactly how he always looked, except for the few times Elena had seen him lose his composure—and those moments were few and far between.

“Tell me you didn’t walk here,” he said to Elena as he met her in the center of the room and led her back to their table. After helping her into her chair, he took his seat across from her and waited patiently for her response, the hint of a smirk ghosting his lips.

“I did. It’s a beautiful day out.” Elena set down the piece of paper she’d been holding and reached for the glass of water on her side of the table; the walk had left her parched.

“You should have used the little trick I showed you,” he teased and followed her movements with quiet interest, his attention finally settling on the piece of paper she’d put down. “What’s that?”

“The reason I asked you to meet me,” Elena replied with a smile, “and you know I don’t like using that little trick of yours when I don’t have to—makes me super dizzy.”

“Give it time, Ele. You’ll get used to it,” he assured her, and with his eyes fixed on hers reached toward the piece of paper on the table and tapped his finger over what looked like the signature line of an email. “So what’s going on with our favorite little author? Here I was, hoping you were trying to wine and dine me.”

“Oh, I am. Just not for the reasons you want me to.”

Elena would have said more, but they were interrupted by a waiter who came to take their drink order. He seemed overly nervous, his hands shaking as he took their order and then quickly made his way out of the room once finished.

“Do you always have that effect on people?” Elena asked, watching as her companion read over the email which he’d snatched up from the table while the waiter had been doing his job.

“Depends, and don’t pretend not to know why. You should add that question to Eva’s interview. I bet she’d love that.”

“You realize this is probably why she’s asked me do the interview, right?” Elena said with a shrug, ecstatic when the nervous waiter returned with their drinks; a little alcohol would go a long way right about now, assuming the waiter didn’t drop his tray on account of his nerves.

“I have to say I’m a little offended she didn’t interview me herself.”

“Oh hush, you brought that onto yourself. You’re too demanding with her. Now hand me that email so we can get this over with.”

“I’m not demanding, Elena. I just happen to know she works best under pressure.” With a satisfied smile, he handed the paper off and reached for his glass of bourbon before settling back into his chair. “Where exactly is she posting this anyway?”

“I have no idea. Now, enough sidetracking. I’m never going to get back to the office at this rate, and your mother is going to kill me.”

“Did you sneak out?” he asked, amusement coloring his eyes. He leaned forward and watched her intently, resting his chin on his hand.

Elena fought the urge to throw a piece of bread at him. Ignoring his remark, she decided to jump right into the first question of the interview. “What’s your name? Are you a fictional or a historic person?”

“That’s a loaded question, isn’t it? I go by several names, and my nature would depend on your definition of fictional or historic.” Reaching for the glass of bourbon, he brought it to his lips and took a deep drink before continuing. “My name is Eiry Callas. To keep this simple, let’s just say I’m a fictional character.”

“Ok, that works. Now onto the next question,” Elena continued. “When and where is your story set?”

“Remind me again when we met.”

“Are you serious?”

“Ele, the years blend, so cut me some slack.”

“I figured you’d have a photographic memory or something.”

“That wouldn’t really help unless I’d seen the year, right?” Eiry offered Elena a warm smile—his version of a peace offering—and then stood from his chair. He reached into his pants pocket and retrieved a vintage cigarette case. Placing it on the table, he resumed his seat and began to search for the lighter in his blazer.

Elena watched him quietly, enjoying the way he went about things. His pace was never hurried, and his manner was always graceful and controlled. When he found his lighter, Eiry removed a cigarette from its case and then settled back into his chair.

“The story told in the book takes place in the spring of 2010, if memory serves me right,” he said, answering the last question. “It starts off here, in New Orleans, and then takes the reader to Kyoto, the underworld and beyond. Would you like one?”

For a minute Elena didn’t know what he was talking about, then saw him push the cigarette case toward her on the table. She shook her head and reached for her glass of wine instead. Looking over the email, she moved on to the next question. “What should we know about you?”

“I like pocket squares. I don’t like nicknames.”

“I think you’re leaving a few things out.”

Eiry lit his cigarette before answering. “A man should be entitled to a few secrets.”

“Fair enough. What’s the main conflict in the story? What messes up your life?”

“How long is this article going to be?” He lifted his gaze and watched her quietly, weighing his words. It felt like an eternity passed in perfect silence. The nervous waiter came in to refill their drinks and ask if they were ready to place their order. Eiry waved him off. He took another deep drink, and when he finally spoke his voice was thick and heavier than before. “The story is about a prophesied heir, a human descendant of the House of Thebes who will turn the tide in an ancient war between gods. For thousands of years, these heirs have been killed and the house was thought to be extinct, until we found you.”

Elena couldn’t keep his gaze. She ran a hand through her hair and looked down at the table. The second her eyes fell on the cigarette case, she reconsidered his offer. She downed what was left of her wine and reached for the case. It would be better to move on with the next question. “What’s your personal… goal?” Shit. She should have read the question first, before asking. It was like pouring salt on the wound. “Never mind, no need to answer that one.”

Eiry stilled and his features smoothed. “That’s probably for the best. I’m beginning to think Eva made all this up to torture me.”

“I doubt it,” Elena assured him. “There’s an email chain here with the questions. She added a few of her own, though.”

Eiry narrowed his eyes. “What’s a few?”

“Five or six. Nothing major.”

“Fine,” he said grudgingly. “Let’s get this over with so that I can start plotting my revenge.”

“Where were you born?”

“In the deep south, in a small city that borders a river.”

“When’s your birthday?”

“December 21st.”

“What’s your favorite food?”

“Beignets.”

“What’s your favorite book?”

“It’s a play. ‘Antigone’ by Sophocles.”

“What’s your favorite movie?”

“Finding Nemo.”

“Really?”

“Next question.”

“What’s your favorite T.V. show?”

“I don’t watch T.V.”

“That’s a lie and you know it.”

“I’m not lying, Elena. You watch T.V. and I have no choice but to watch it with you.”

“Come on, let me tell them.”

“No, now move it along.”

“Fine. Have you answered the last six questions truthfully?”

“The world may never know.”

And there you have it, folks—an afternoon lunch with Elena and Eiry. The scene turned out a little longer than I anticipated, but I hope you enjoyed it. Without further ado, here are the four authors I’m tagging for next week. Meet their characters next Monday, July 21st!

Lisa Jones is the author of The Prophecy, a fantasy novel and retelling of the Arthurian legends. It is the first book in a trilogy. Lisa’s second book, entitled Redemption, will be available later this year.

Ben Starling is an Oxford grad who is passionate about marine conservation and boxing, both of which are central themes in his upcoming novel. He is currently Writer in Residence for Mirthquake Ltd., a production company that advocates for ocean health and welfare.

Patrick Wong writes Young Adult fiction with a paranormal twist. His debut novel, Balancer is about a teenager who has the power to balance LifeYou can find Balancer on Amazon here.

Selah Tay-Song is the author of Dream of a Vast Blue Cavern, an epic fantasy novel that tells the story of Princess Stasia of Iskalon, who, in the aftermath of war, must keep the remnants of her kingdom intact, and her only hope is a prophetic Dream that may lead her to a new home for her people.


This week’s image is “Poppies” by Katsushika Hokusai, a Japanese ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period, who is best known as author of The Great Wave off Kanagawa.

On the reality of fictional characters

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Beauties Under an Umbrella by Utamaro Kitagawa.

Sometime last week, somewhere in the middle of My Adventures Post-Publishing, I read a blog post by Tracy Cembor that’s stuck with me ever since. In her post, Geek Week: How Real Is Fiction?, Tracy asks: Do fictional characters really exist?

In Tracy’s own words: “If readers know who characters are, what attributes and desires they have, and feel the emotions from their experiences, then how can we say in the way that our mind perceives things, that they aren’t just a little bit ‘real’?”

Tracy’s post stuck with me for two reasons: (1) my past experiences with literary characters (those created by other authors, as well as my own), and (2) it reminded me of something my Philosophy 101 professor said 16 years ago that would ultimately be the catalyst for my own creations.

Now, I’m going to paraphrase here, but my professor’s sentiment was something like this:

The question ‘Does God really exist?’ is misguided. The fact that people believe in something, live their lives in accordance with it, makes that *something* real. 

That sentiment stuck with me. It hovered in the back of my mind as I finished college and went on through my professional education. It gave birth to a premise that would ultimately become the foundation of my fictional writing. In Elena’s world, human belief alters the divine; what begins as abstract can have very physical manifestations.

I think the same can be said about characters. They may not be corporeal, may not exist in the physical sense, but their influence can be substantial. All I have to do is point to Atticus Finch to demonstrate just how powerful an influence a literary character can have. He is literally the epitome of a good lawyer. He is the standard to hold yourself to, and yet he does not physically exist. His influence is so strong that when I took the bar exam in 2004, you were not allowed to use his name as your chosen exam name (I’m presuming the reason was because that many people would choose it).

Tracy is spot on when she says: “The characters in our favorite stories are not two-dimensional paper cutouts; they are fully formed personas with hopes and dreams, wants and desires, strengths and weaknesses… When circumstances (and authors) conspire against them and the you-know-what hits the fan, readers worry for their safety. And when they experience the loss of friends and family, we are grieving right there beside them.”

I was working as a prosecutor when Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince was released. Several of my co-workers and I were reading it at the same time. One morning, everyone arrived at work with red swollen eyes and dressed in black. Without a word, we knew; we had all finished the book and were grieving for Harry’s loss. I have no problem admitting I was also grieving for my own loss.

So, do fictional characters really exist?

To me, 100%. I hold many of them in close esteem. Atticus Finch influenced my choice in career. Jane Eyre my view of passion and independence. Elizabeth Bennet my appreciation for integrity and wit. Simon from Lord of The Flies the importance of being comfortable in your own skin. Those characters might not exist in the physical sense, but their influence can be quantified and seen. They teach us lessons we might not otherwise learn, and inspire us the way historical figures might.

As for my own characters, the more I write about them the clearer they become. I know them as well as I know myself; can verbalize, in Tracy’s words, their “hopes and dreams, wants and desires, strengths and weaknesses”. A thought popped into my head last night while I was going to sleep. I saw the book sitting on my nightstand (Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations), and wondered what books, if any, my characters would have on their own nightstands. The answers came so fast that all I could do was laugh about it:

One glance at any of my Pinterest boards and you’ll be able to get a clear image of their personalities; their likes and dislikes in ways I can’t expound on in my books. The more I explore those personalities, the more excited I get about sharing their stories with you.

I’ll be exploring those personalities further on July 14th, when I participate in a Meet My Character Blog Tour and answer questions as one of my characters. On June 30th, I’ll also be participating in a Blog Hop, which are chained posts where authors answer questions; this particular one is about our writing process. So please stay tuned!

Last but not least, this week’s image is “Beauties Under an Umbrella by Utamaro Kitagawa. Utamaro was an Edo period ukiyo-e artist, famous for his portraits of female beauties known as bijin-ga. I love the richness in color and detail of this particular piece.

On the joys of Pinning

After a little trial and error, I am proud to announce, and share with you all, my exploration into a Pinterest account for the series. I won’t lie, the experience was a little tricky at first (certainly not as smooth sailing as my personal account was), but I think I’ve finally found my rhythm. I’m having almost as much fun Pinning about my characters as I do writing about them. Hopefully, the boards will give you a little glimpse into the characters and settings in the series; I’ve certainly learned a little more about them through the experience. I plan to keep Pinning and experiencing as much as possible, so please don’t be shy and “follow” to your heart’s content. Just remember that the Pins are chosen for the feelings they evoke, not particular faces or people. Browse/click the links below, and enjoy!

A look at my character boards:

Elena

Cataline

Mr. Muse

Bryce

Livia Callas

Evius