Where has October gone? Only one more Monday left and then November will be on us like a hungry relative on the last turkey leg. At least there’ll be pumpkin pie. Mmm…pumpkin pie. Anyways, I’m glad you’re here. Today we go in character with another wonderful writer, the mysterious and always elusive, Daphne Shadows. Let’s get right to the questions, shall we?
Why don’t we start with a little bit about your WIP and how it came about?
Human or Hidden is a fantasy novel, sub-genres paranormal and horror. I could yammer on about all that technical stuff or just tell you what it boils down to. Or who to be precise – the crazy chick. Blair is a soul eater with amnesia, anger issues, bloody clothing, and chains; or at least that’s how she wakes up in the forest, just outside the Cursed town she’ll now call home. Upon arrival, she both frees the townspeople from an ancient evil and releases the savage sickness and insanity on them that follows the ancient creature’s death in one fell swoop. Not the best way to make allies, especially when they’re not all human, but of the Hidden.
As to how “Human or Hidden” came about, well… that’s actually kind of messy. First, two things happened at the same time. ONE – I decided/already knew I wanted a wicked female protagonist that had amnesia that discovers she’s a soul eater by accident. And TWO – I had a dream about a mysterious, creepy, and intriguing creature and its entire backstory. Ironically, I won’t be able to write about this particular creature until a few novels down the road. It’ll be quite the revelation at that point though. Cue evil, maniacal laugh. THIRD – After those two things hit me, came Blair’s entire backstory, tied in with a huge subject I’ve always been interested in. It wasn’t until after these three things that I even considered what Novel #1 would be about in deep detail. I wrote draft one and instantly scrapped 80% of the plot. And finally – finally – I found Blair’s real story. And here we are.
What, in your opinion, makes a memorable character?
I suppose there are only three reasons I remember a character well after reading about them. ONE – I fell absolutely in love with the character. TWO – I couldn’t stand the character to the point that I couldn’t think of enough ways to jump in the book and kill them. And THREE – I was intrigued by the character, for one reason or another.
For me, it all boils down to emotion. That spark. Is this character real? Did they make me feel something raw and genuine? Were they consistently this person that radiates from that spark inside? Or were they just a tool used to get the author’s story put onto paper the way they wanted it? If the latter, said character won’t be memorable to me. They have to burn with the passion that consumes them. Or they shouldn’t have a story written about them. Duh.
What makes your main character unique?
Blair is a crazy angry, brain damaged soul eater who has no idea what’s going on, who she is, or why everyone’s pissed off at her. What more can I say?
On a more serious note, Blair is Blair. She’s got this cesspool of anger and this feeling that injustice upon injustice was done to her and is trying to reclaim her, but she doesn’t let that stop her or make her into the monster she knows she was meant to become. Blair is stubborn and refuses to be held accountable for what’s not her fault. She outright goes against whatever she doesn’t like and doesn’t take any grief in the process. She has such strength yet is so vulnerable and it all mixes together to form a very strange young woman who really doesn’t know anything about herself but is fighting tooth and nail to remedy that without getting too many people involved.
As far as what she is goes, she’s a creature not used very often and I’ve loved the ability to exploit that. There’s very little in the way of soul eater mythology and very few opinions on the matter. Which is really going to piss Blair off.
Who, or what, served as the inspiration behind your main character?
Oh Jeeze. Probably my own issues and twisted imagination combining to create a woman who wouldn’t shut up once she appeared. What pushed the envelope and shoved her into my current vision of what to write was the combination of a creature I really wanted to write about, a scenario I couldn’t resist, and my wonderings on what I should do with all my anger over injustices.
I wanted to give a wounded animal strength and see what happened. I got Blair.
How important are physical traits, or quirks, in the creation process?
As equally important as personality and backstory. What my character embodies should show up in their physical appearance. I get each character’s appearance and who they are at the same time. I have to have a mental picture of them or it’s hard for me to hold onto who that person is as I move forward with their story.
How much of yourself, if any, is in your main character?
My best guess would be Blair’s anger and identity issues. Neither to the extreme Blair suffers. Thank heaven! We also share our dislike of telling others about ourselves. Our personal lives are our own and most people only try to use it against you later. We both figured that out at a young age. But at the same time, there are a lot of differences between Blair and myself. She feels like a separate entity and our differences make our similarities pale in comparison. Oh – and we’re both dodgy. We don’t always give straight answers to questions asked of us.
How does your main character change by the end of their journey?
Nowhere near the end of her journey – but by the end of this first novel, Blair has found a release, a way of translating what could be lethal into something positive. It’s really cool, what she does. I envy her for that. She’s still crazy and she’s still got issues but she’s okay with that by the end of Human or Hidden. She’s ready for whatever comes next. Or at least, that’s what she’s thinking. *evil grin*
She’s also acquired something she needed more than she knew, yet something she never imagined she’d be able to call hers. This is going to give her a different kind of stability from within. But I don’t even know how that’s going to play out yet. Blair hasn’t let me in on anything about Book 2 yet. And yes, that was a very vague answer but hey! I’m not going to give away the exact ending.
What can we expect from your main character in the future? Will we see more of them or is their story finished?
Definitely not finished. Blair’s past has only found her by the end of Book 1. She has much more to show us now that she’ll have her bearings. Blair has morphed into this huge chunk of my brain. It’s labeled on MRI scans, I swear!
Name a character who most closely resembles your main character and tell us why?
Dory (Dorina Basarab) of the “Midnight’s Daughter Series” by Karen Chance. Dory is the only character in my bookshelf that reminds me of Blair. I think the base reason for this is because Dory has major issues yet she isn’t psycho depressing or gloomy all the time – something I came into writing Blair dead set on not doing either. Both Dory and Blair are dark, but that’s not all they are. Another thing they hold in common is an intense anger that lurks inside them; one they have to fight to keep from taking over their lives. They’re both a bit crazy and they end up fighting to save people who hate their guts half the time but they do it anyway. Also, they both have short hair (I just realized this).
How would your main character respond if they knew this post had been written about them?
“All. Of. This. And you’re not going to tell me what’s coming now?”
Yeah… when she get’s quiet you’re screwed. Also, I hope no one liked that computer desk much.
Everyone knows how much I love music. Can you share a song which you feel best represents Blair, or a song you listened to as you wrote about Blair?
The Wolf by Fever Ray
I’d like to give Daphne a huge thank-you for dipping her toe in the slush with us today, maybe even a hug and some of that Choxie chocolate she loves so much. Blair too, even though she smashed my computer desk. Isn’t it fun to see how different writers approach their characters? I can’t wait to see where Human or Hidden takes readers. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to let all of you know the juicy details as soon as they become available. If we’re lucky Daphne will come back and tell us the good news herself! The door is always open for you, my friend. Please stop by and check out her blog or any of the other places she lurks.
Author Bio: Daphne Shadows wrote a semi-psychotic book in the second grade and was instantly a writing obsessed crazy person (though that first book went missing under suspicious circumstances long ago). She grew up surrounded by everything fantasy – from TV shows to books to strange music to crazy relatives – and that’s what she loves to write to this day. Vampires and werewolves were her first guides through the paranormal, horror infested corridors of her mind. Things only got stranger from there. You can find Daphne on her blog (daphneshadows.wordpress.com), on Twitter @DaphneShadows, or over at WANAtribe. She plays favorites with her blog.