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Character Interview: Sherdan

Here’s the second interview. This one’s with Sherdan.

Why are you in charge?

This whole facility was my idea, I’m the one who knows what the exact goal of this place is. Who else would be in charge?

What are you going to do with Anya?

Nothing harmful. She posses no threat currently and offers the little bits of information she knows fairly freely to me. While she remains where she is willingly, without fuss, I see no reason to do anything with her at all.

So, Anya is safe here?

While she continues to cooperate Anya is more safe in this facility, with me, than she will be out there over the weeks and months to come.

What is the Prophecy?

If you are refering to the rumour being spread that I’m following some kind of prophecy about the end of the world then that’s not something I can really talk about.

There is a Prophecy then?

Rumours can get very convoluted when they are being circulated. It’s best not to believe everything you hear but as with all myths and legends there is often a little something based in fact. I really cannot say anything else on the subject.

Do you feel like your life has led you to this point?

I think life is what we make of it. If I have been leading to this point then it is simply because I have strived to be the greatest I can be in whatever I do. I do appear to have the talents and skills needed for the job I find myself in, that could be a sort of fate. There is really no way to tell for sure.

What are you trying to achieve?

The future, a better future. The advancement of the human race to something more sustainable and fair, less easily corrupted than the current political situations we have now.

 

For peeps that want the backstory of Sherdan and Anya and what this interview is all about check out the first idea spark here, the next moment between Anya and Sherdan here and then Anya’s interview here. Up next in the saga will be the background details like location and settings for the book plus maybe a few more minor characters. Let me know your opinions on any of this so far. The whole concept is very fluid at the moment.

Character Interview: Anya

As promised here’s the interview with Anya, thank you everyone that provided questions.

Why have your Church sent you here?

The group Sherdan has set up here has begun to worry them, especially with rumours that he’s following some kind of prophecy about the end of the world. I was sent to find out what was true and what wasn’t. If this is the end times then we’re involved one way or another.

Why did you say yes?

I just felt like it was right. I was talking to someone in my church above me about considering coming to find out and they told me several people in church were all suggesting that it might be good to send someone. I was the only person that thought they might be that someone. So I came. It felt right and I wasn’t the only one that thought so.

Are you scared?

Yes, a little. I was more scared when I first arrived but the longer I am here and still alive the less scared I am and I’ve never been so scared that I’ve not trusted God knows what He is doing. There were points when I had to tell myself ‘just keep going, God know’s what He is doing, just keep going’ etc but I always got through those times.

Do you feel prepared for this?

Yes and no, I know I’ve managed to do everything I need to so far. I still don’t know what the prophecy is but I’m still alive and so far I’ve got through. I’ve always believed we are never put through more than we can handle.

Do you like Sherdan?

So far. He’s more understanding than the others here but he runs this place and I don’t agree with everything they’ve done. He’s a very closed person and won’t talk to me about much. It’s too early to tell yet. I don’t dislike him.

Do you think you’ll survive this?

I don’t know. I try not to think about it. I’m just trying to do what I feel called to. I may well not survive but as I said I try not to think about it.

 

How to: Characterisation for With Proud Humility

My starting place for each fresh idea is always with the main character. To me it is the most important part of having a good book or film. If people don’t connect with the character and cannot relate to them, no matter how good the plot is, chances are the reader/viewer won’t enjoy the product. I’m not saying plot isn’t important though, it’s very important, but I’ve found time and time again the plot actually comes out of getting my head around my new characters. Knowing how they think and react moves the plot along in a believable way.

Recently I posted a blog of the character biography of the new books main character. Today I want to run through how I came up with Marie Woodell from my first book, With Proud Humility.

The first place I always start is how they look. I write this so that I am consistent when I talk about my character from the start of the book to the finish. So how tall is she, length and colour of hair, clothes she likes to wear/has to wear, age etc. In Marie’s case that was fairly simple. I already knew I wanted her to be a member of gentry, that makes most of this pretty easy. She needs to be single, so age has to be between 16-22 to be socially acceptable. Clothes would be whatever her status dictates, likewise with hair length. I arbitrarily assigned her height to be 5’7”.

Next I tried to decide her background. What had happened to her before the book starts. I decided I wanted her mother to be dead and to have been killed by the pirate who’s ship she starts on. This then lead to needing a reason why her mother was killed. Does Marie know why? What is her father like? Did he try too hard to protect his daughter after her mother died? Who is her father and what’s his status? Does this all fit nicely into some era in history? (as well as all the boring details of where she lives etc too)

Once her background is fully decided upon as well as the other influential people in her life I can start moulding her actual personality. Often certain big events in a person’s past have an influence on their character. For example I needed to know how Marie felt about her mother’s death. Did she want revenge, or did it scar her so badly she doesn’t now trust anyone, or possibly even both? How does she react to being raised just by her father?

At this point I also tend to decide the full name of the person. Often this can take several hours as I trawl through baby name databases trying to find names I like the sound of, as well as names that have meanings that I think work with everything else I’ve decided on so far. I confess in Marie’s case it was much simpler. My mother intended to call me Ann-Marie before I was born so my new character was being called Marie. In the case of Marie it was also her personality that led to the book’s title, With Proud Humility.

If I struggle to form the character as I did with Kaihaitu, I’ve found the best way to get through that and shape them is to essentially introduce someone else to them. Chrysalis kindly sat up late one night on Skype with me till I think about 2am in the morning, asking me question after question about Kaihaitu, similar to the questions above and I answered them, allowing her character to form in my attempt at explaining her to someone else.

Finally when I’m happy with all my questions and their answers I put it all together and move on to any characters I’ve discovered are likely to be a major role in the book, based on their relationships to my main character. Usually by the time I’ve done this my plot’s fairly well worked out too. Add in some conflict, some pain, some tears and voila most of the book prep is done.

For those that wish to know what I decided to the above questions though I urge you to check out the book (no spoilers here). There is now a 40% free sample on Smashwords and it’s on sale on Amazon at just over £2 per copy, that’s less than the price of a hot chocolate.

Character Bio: Kaihaitu

In preparing for a novel the first thing I do is write short biographies for the main characters in the book. As I’ve blogged quite a bit about book 2 and how fast I am writing it I thought I would share the bio that started the whole idea off. Allow me to introduce the heroine, Kaihaitu:

Age: 22

Height: 5 foot 5 inches

Hair: Dark brown, shoulder length

Eyes: Brown

Skin: Creamy, mid brown

Clothes: Hides, loose but reasonably covering. Bare feet.

Background: Kai grew up in her father’s village. Her Father was the village leader and she has grown up knowing that she will one day lead the village herself. Her mother was a housewife who looked after Kai and her younger brother.

From a very early age Kai was trained by her father to be both a good hunter and a good leader. As such Kai doesn’t really have any friends. She is usually too busy working to socialise. Her main companions are the two monkeys, Hehu and Matiu, that her father traded for and gave to her as a coming of age present when she was fifteen years old.

When Kai was very young a redcoat ship turned up and not long after that they built a fort near the village. At first the relationship between Kai’s village and the redcoats was amicable and many trades were struck. Kai was even encouraged to learn English by her father.

Over time the redcoats slowly encroached on the village’s land and the relationship deteriorated. When Kai was approximately twenty she, along with several of the other young villagers, raided the red coat fort. The following day the village is celebrating their ‘victory’ over the red coats when they retaliate and storm the village in far greater numbers than the villagers have ever seen of them.

As an example to the rest of the village, the red coats take back their food stocks and more and destroy things important to everyday village life. Her father then dies from an illness and lack of food and Kai is left to lead the village and to try and get them through the winter coming with very little food.

Kai blames herself for her fathers death and the subsequent villagers deaths the following winter, but does not tell anyone it was her idea to raid the fort. Instead Kai uses her guilt to fuel her leadership of the village and she dedicates herself to getting the village back on level ground and an unstable truce is formed with the redcoats again.

Her mother and most of the villagers wish for Kai to marry a guy called Henare and although he is a very eligible bachelor and encouraging towards Kai, she is just very uninterested in marriage, let alone Henare.

Personality: Kai is a very quiet, reserved person. She feels the weight of her responsibilities and has from a very early age. Kai doesn’t have many friends and does not find it easy to socialise with other people. Although she is very adept at dealing with the villages social problems any other form of communication with people is very difficult for Kai.

With the higher responsibilities Kai has faced she is much more mature than other people her own age and very calm and considered in her approach to solving problems. She always appears very relaxed even when on the inside she is not.

The only time Kai lets herself be more vulnerable is when she is alone with her two monkeys. She will occasionally play with them and be light hearted, but only when she is sure no one else is around. This has been rare the last year or so for two reasons, firstly the death of her father and the constant danger to her village, has made her more serious and secondly Henare often pops up randomly to talk to her, and the only warning she gets is Hehu and Matiu running off.

Hehu and Matiu running from Henare fuels her choice to push him away from her, though she knows she is being mean in doing so. Kai trusts their judgement and for this reason alone would never marry Henare even if she thought he was a good match for her.

Though Kai is not unhappy with her life in the village she can’t really be said to be happy either. She is very much a realist and knows that she has a tough time ahead of her to get the village through. The villages safety is more important to her than her own happiness.

Kai is also a well trained hunter and fighter though she has a good respect for life and would only kill in self defence or necessity for food etc. She is rarely seen without her bow and arrow and always has a couple of hunting knives about her person somewhere.