I stole this meme from K.V. Taylor, who found it on Mercedes M. Yardley’s blog. Like her, I totally love reading about these things – so please go ahead and steal this thing! I’d looove to read your answers.
Also, it’s really handy if you’re currently exhausted from a long holiday and can’t really come up with other blog topics. I’m just saying.
1. Tell us about your favorite writing project/universe that you’ve worked with and why.
It’s a toss-up between the worlds from Always Read the Fae Print and Heirs. I love the former because there’s limitless freedom when it comes to including different species and ideas. Because the books don’t take themselves too seriously, I don’t have to worry as much about my ideas being ridiculous. They’re supposed to be! Not to mention all the potential to lovingly mock the genre and turn fantasy tropes upside-down.
As far as Heirs goes, I like it for the complete opposite reason. There are lots of rules and limits, and there’s a very important history to the world. The entire thing just clicks in my mind. The limitations make it easier to keep track of – while at the same time, they make it more of a challenge. Unlike Fae Print, this world needs to make sense.
(Don’t get me wrong, Fae Print is hardly a free-for-all – I spent a lot of time world-building. It’s just different!)
2. How many characters do you have? Do you prefer males or females?
What would this include? Main characters? Secondary characters? Any character with a name? Any character who shows up on-screen?
Basically, I couldn’t count. *g*
Anyway, as far as main characters go, I think I prefer women. I feel less self-conscious writing them. With men, I worry about stereotyping. I catch myself thinking, “Men wouldn’t notice this many details about someone’s clothing”, “he’s being too touchy-feely”, even while knowing that, yeah, that’s nonsense. There’s only this particular guy and what he would think or do.
Plus, there’s these gender problems that arise: I feel pretty uncomfortable writing male characters being violent against women, even when said women are ~*evil*~ and at the moment it’s the necessary course of action. (And, er, obviously that’d be the only situation in which it’d come up. But still!)
So taking all that into account, women are easier for me. But – maybe because they require more conscious thought – I often enjoy writing men more. It’s a challenge!
3. How do you come up with names, for characters (and for places if you’re writing about fictional places)?
I keep lists of names I like and scour through them when I have a new character, waiting for something to click. Sometimes, though, the name will come to me immediately. Sometimes against my will. (Lookin’ at you, Cally!)
The two most common sources for names: Wikipedia (I look through the “list of celebrities/musicians/etc” pages) and my job. Since I enter customer data into the system, it’s a great way to come across names.
4. Tell us about one of your first stories/characters!
Very, very first? I remember two short stories: one was about a boy who cut himself on a plant in the park and ended up turning into some kind of weird plant thing, and one was about a ghost ship. The latter was in the school paper. I was eight at the time, and so, so very proud. The main character was Kelly van Daluren. I was very focused on not making her anything like me: she liked food that I didn’t, had brown hair as opposed to my blonde, and had a brother instead of a sister. It was a great accomplishment.
Also, ‘daluren’ means ‘off-peak hours’. As in calling. Yeah.
And, at one point the narrative is yelling at you in underlined, bold, italicized letters. In a bigger font. Spectacular!
5. By age, who is your youngest character? Oldest? How about “youngest” and “oldest” in terms of when you created them?
Just going by my novels, I think the youngest named character is Nikki, age six. She’s Arjan’s (he’d be Lillian’s love interest) niece in Fae Print. The oldest significant character is probably Lillian’s mother Carol, who’s… either in her late fifties or early sixties. It keeps changing between drafts!
In terms of creation, the youngest is probably Lynne from Wielders, and the oldest – not counting books I haven’t written yet – would be Felicia from Heirs. She popped up in one scene, then wormed her way into the ending, then took over another major character’s part.
And man, these questions made me so anxious to finish Heirs already.