Monday is here…again. I can hear the moans and groans as many of us return to another fun filled work week. Rub the sleep from your eyes and prepare to be dazzled by another guest writer as we step in character with them. This week we have the always adorable YA author Jae Dansie. You guys are in for a treat. Sit back, relax, and sip your favorite beverage because we’re about to get started.
A lot of my inspiration comes from dreams. It’s usually just one little scene, like a small spark that starts quite a fire. In one particular dream, I saw all the details of what my protagonist looked like and during the dream his house was raided by thieves. It grew from there into this idea involving demons, half-demons and angels. But as fate would have it, that original spark of a scene is no longer in my current WIP. I guess that’s the way stories evolve sometimes.
For me, memorable characters are flawed. I forget too easily the perfect characters, I like to see them struggle through something. I especially like those characters who are able to overcome some of their flaws. Quirks, too, I think help. With protagonists, I like to see them falter sometimes—that they’re not always cool and perfect. With antagonists or villains, my favorite villains are the ones who aren’t all bad. The ones who can almost convince you they’ve got good reasons for what they’re doing, and like messing with the hero’s mind. But on both, whether protagonist or antagonist, I want to see passion in obtaining their goals. If they don’t care, why should I?
He’s a part-demon teenager who’s lived such a restricted life his understanding of emotion is severely stinted, so he sees the world in a more stark, or honest way. Sometimes that’s beneficial to him, like it’s harder to intentionally make him mad, but other times he feels totally clueless and at a disadvantage because of it. I like that he has to figure out how to live in a loud, colorful, crazy human world in order to be free or go back to his rigid, cold life where it was predictable and safe. He also has a cool demon dog that can teleport, fly, and change its size.
It’s probably a combination of a hundred things. I pull inspiration from everywhere, including my own life. I guess I felt awkward as a teen dealing with my emotions, something I think a lot of teens can relate to. With my character, I’ve just kicked it up to maximum awkward.
How important are physical traits, or quirks, in the creation process?
Very important. Sometimes the quirks come before the physical traits. To explain it a little better, I see some of my character’s personalities and try to imagine what kind of person they would have to look like in order to best embody those traits. Other times their appearance just comes to me from the beginning. It’s definitely one of the more intriguing parts of the creation process.
How much of yourself, if any, is in your main character?
There’s probably more of my teenage self in him than my current self. I think I’m hoping to bring him into a happier adult life once he gets things figured out. That’s one thing I love about writing Young Adult. I remember so vividly how frustrating, difficult, and trying the teenage years were. But at the same time, there’s something strong in teenagers you don’t see as often in adults. They dream of ideals some see as impossible, and yet many of those teens grow up to change the world (like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, etc.) Most of the ideas that come to me end up being YA ideas.
How does your main character change by the end of their journey?
What I want to see happen for my character is him coming into his own identity and realizing he doesn’t have to be what anyone expects of him—he can choose his own destiny. It’s still a WIP, but he gradually becomes warmer and more accepting of the human world, realizing everything his parents wanted for him isn’t the path he wants for himself.
What can we expect from your main character in the future? Will we see more of them or is their story finished?
You’ll definitely see more of him. He’ll learn that in the real world there’s no black and white when it comes to people. Those whom he should be able to count on as good can turn bad, and those he thought bad can turn good. He’s got a lot worse things coming too, the poor kid. But his abilities will only continue to grow in awesomeness.
Name a character who most closely resembles your main character and tell us why?
It’s hard to just point to one. He’s a little bit like Katsa from Graceling, but colder—at least in the beginning. A bit more reliant on the intellectual, like Klaus from A Series of Unfortunate Events, maybe a hint of Snape from Harry Potter if I’m being honest. But he evolves quite a bit in the first book, so I’d say closest to Katsa.
How would your main character respond if they knew this post had been written about them (a response in the voice of your main character)?
I’d rather you didn’t write whatever this “blog post” is, but if I can’t stop you then leave me anonymous. I have enough enemies hunting for me and I don’t need you giving away my location. I envy the time you have for these sorts of things. Lately I feel like I haven’t got five seconds to catch my breath. You shouldn’t write this post. If my mother catches wind of it, she’ll be here in an instant, torturing you for everything you know. Honestly, it’s better if you forgot you ever met me.
This was a tough question. I couldn’t think of anything for awhile, then two popped into my head. One is the theme song from Alphas (sung by Trey Lockerbie). But since it’s only 30 sec, the other that popped into my head is “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi.
A big thank you to Jae for talking characters with us this week. I can’t even describe how awesome it is to be a doodle! Anytime you want to come back, for any reason at all, you will be most welcome. I’ll be sure to keep everyone up to date on the status of Shade as more details become available. Stay tuned and make sure to come back next week when another writer steps in character. This is where we would cue the theme music, if we had any.
Author Bio: Jae Dansie is a graphic designer, doodler, and writer. Jae wrote her first novel when she was 14 and has probably written a dozen or so in between which she calls “practice.” She’s in a love/hate relationship with her current novel SHADE but knows it’ll all be worth it in the end. When Jae isn’t doodling (she calls it scribbling) and obsessing over her WIP, she likes to karaoke, travel, and tantalize her tastebuds with tasty new treats. You can find Jae on her blog at litandscribbles, or out patrolling the streets for truth, justice and the American way.