Interviewing Your Characters
Seriously, there are times I wish the voices in my head (or muses) would shut up, especially when they all decide to talk at once or clamor for top position of my hectic time-line. Sometimes it’s like have a house full of children, ages 2-6, tugging on my skirt tail. There never seems to be enough time or words to satisfy everyone. This one wants that, the other wants this… and such is the life of a very active author.
Like most writers, I love the muses who infiltrate my mind with a story I can’t refuse to write, but then there are times when it gets to be a bit over whelming. Today is one of those days; Michael wants me to work on his story as does Poseidon as does Susan… while all I want to do is go back to bed. So this is their punishment, I’m not writing a thing for them until I get this article out of my head.
I may complain and beg for a little peace of mind but I often wonder where I would be if they all packed their bags and disappeared. I’m pretty sure I would go through a major empty nest syndrome like any mother whose children have all left home. As much as I complain, I’m also very happy to have them around. They do keep me on my toes and life as I once new it, is never a dull moment.
I recently had an author friend complain to me her muse was unusually quiet. Was she developing writer’s block, she asked? I don’t believe in writer’s block, but I do understand when a Muse chooses to remain quiet. It usually means they have something going on within them. Just like us, they can have quiet moments when they are trying to figure out a problem. In reality, they are like us; afraid to open up and share what is really on their mind until they know exactly how the situation will play out. What do I do in situations like this? I interview them.
Interviewing them will help you understand what they are going through and who knows, you just might end up with an entirely new book. It worked for me and it should work for you.
When Gabriel, the leader of Sekhmet’s Guardians (and my first muse) planned out the series, I was under the impression each book would evolve around each one of the heroes. I never expected to write a book entirely based on one of the villains. Last year, I found myself hammering out a story about Bagsu, the leader of the Set’s Legions, my Guardian’s immortal enemy… and it all started with an interview I did with him towards the end of book three, Eternal Blades. I was curious as to why he, a blood sucking villain, would turn loose of a beautiful woman before draining her dry, and then of all things, return her to his immortal enemy… even if that immortal enemy was his identical twin brother.
It took a little while to get him started, but after the second interview, he took me back in time, back to a time when he and Gabriel were youngsters. He showed me their triumphs and their downfall. How could I not write everything down and share what he so freely shared with me? And so, my little interview turned into an entire 300 plus page book. I pushed Eternal Life back to position number five in the series and inserted Eternal Tuat in its place.
What follows is the first interview I did with Bagsu, Set’s Prime.
V: What is it you really have planned for the Earth’s population?
Total domination, that’s all. Humans are by far, weak, lesser beings than Tuaties and should be treated as such. Of course many of my brethren believe you are nothing more than a food source for our unquenchable thirst.
(I swallow hard and readjust my position when Bagsu smiles, baring a razor sharp fang at me which glistens in the sunlight. Is he toying with me?)
V: Is this some kind of joke? You can’t be a vampire… its daylight.
Honey, don’t believe what you read in fairy tales. I’m as real as can be and I do require human blood to sustain life here on Earth. It is one of those little things that binds us to your world… Without it we would cease to exist.
V: Okay if you’re a vampire will you answer another question for me?
Sure, hit me with your best shot.
V: Are you repulsed by garlic and crosses? Can a stake through the heart kill you?
No, no and no. There is only one way to kill this Tuatie and that is by taking my head and I do not foresee you having the skill to do such a thing.
V: Never entered my mind… Would you like some coffee? Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot Vamps don’t eat and drink.
So little do you know about us… We can eat, drink and do everything else you humans do, including mate and have offspring, although the Legion has strict rules about such things.
V: What about the Guardians; are they like you? Aren’t you related to one?
Yes, the Guardians are from Tuat and they are like us in many ways, although those damn do-gooders think and act like humans. They would just as soon remain on Earth protecting your kind. Gabriel, their leader is my twin. Lance the youngest of the bunch is supposed to be my younger brother, although I must say he looks nothing like me or Gabe. I’ve always questioned his legitimacy, so who truly knows.
What follows now is the interview I did with him which triggered the Eternal Tuat, Bagsu’s story.
V: Ok Bagsu, I have a question for you. Why on Earth would you let Jennifer go. You had her right where you wanted her, on your couch, naked, for heaven’s sake.
My dear V, I may be a son-of-a-bitch, but I am not that cold. There was a time when Gabe helped me when no one else could. I will not take from him that which someone took from me. Just can’t do it is all. Now let it be, will ya?
I wasn’t sure what he meant by take from him that which someone took from me… Did he once have a lover, a wife? I knew I had to know more, and so I pushed.
I pushed and asked more questions until Eternal Tuat was born.
SNIPPET from Eternal Tuat:
“When I am gone, when my soul leaves this body, I want you to take what remains of me to our cave. Place my body in Khnemitti’s sarcophagus and ask him if he would say the proper prayers for me.”
“Nefer, please, let us not speak of such things. You are going to be fine… You and our child are going to be fine.”
“Bagsu, you are my love, my beloved husband, please, you must promise me.”
I fight back the tears which are streaming down my face and nod. “When that time comes, I will do as thee request.”
She smiles, reaches to touch my cheek and I see the light in her eyes one final time.
“I will always love thee, my husband.” Her hand drops, her eyes close and I know she is gone. My sweet, sweet, Nefer, along with my reason for living, is gone.
About author V.S. Nelson
V has been a story-teller all her life, always creating stories about people discovering the courage to make a difference. This drove her into writing her paranormal series centering on strong relationships and led her to coin the term: Ancient Legends, New Worlds.
A member of three RWA chapters she sits on several committees and judges writing contests across the states.
She invites you to join her in cyberspace on her Website: http://www.authorvsnelson.com
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/V.S.-Nelson/e/B00AXYLHF0/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1