Welcome to the station! Well, the work pile is heating up and the blog tours keep rolling in while I duck back behind the keyboard. The Calling is now finished and is being prepped for being subbed out. I have a few shorts I want to knock out this week, but then I dive back into the White Creek novel sitting at around 16k words right now. In the meantime, I would like to welcome Ela Lourenco to Our Darkest Fears. Sit back, relax, and enjoy as we ponder the issue of character believability…
Having been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, and having studied literature in five different languages, I can honestly say I have read many books where I have fallen in love with the characters. Almost to the point of believing that they were real – suffering with them, excited about their stories as though it were my own life I was reading about. I have related to them, understood them, and sometimes disliked them intensely…
But isn’t that what creates a credible character after all? I could not feel such passion for the protagonists in the many novels I have read if they had not been real to me, at least in some way.
So what makes certain characters read realistically, but not others? When you figure it out can you let me know? Joking aside though, I have written hundreds of essays in my academic life on this topic. I have debated the question both with myself and other readers—no one can agree on an answer. There is no magic formula to teach us how a protagonist becomes life-like…
And then there’s the issue of genre. Well, it is harder in some ways to create credible characters in certain genres—fantasy, paranormal, science fiction to name a few—because the stories are not based in reality to begin with.
Take Katra in Essence for example – she is a Celestis, has silver eyes and happens to be a supernatural hunter – so not your typical girl next door! Essence is full of mages, dragons, prophecies… none of which exist anywhere but in my head, and yet what makes the characters believable is their interactions with each other and their emotions. Whilst they might have magical powers and weave spells, they are very much like you or I – full of the same desires, fears, vulnerabilities… It is this in the end that draws us in and allows us to relate to them – their imperfections reflect ours – that is a reality we can accept.
And for your summer reading fun, here is an excerpt from Essence…
Maya worried about Katra when she was hunting, despite knowing how tough she was. Katra was part elemental, part fae and already a powerful witch. It wasn’t a lack of faith in her abilities but the unanswered questions that niggled at her. Elementals and fae both matured magically at eighteen, but Katra was almost twenty-one and her powers were still growing, and at a speed Maya had never seen before. That, together with Katra’s inability to remember anything before the day they met, was a constant source of worry. Something had obviously happened to her, but what? And who was involved? Despite her trust in the council Maya had never registered Katra as an official hunter, she didn’t want anyone to find out about her yet. There would be too many questions, especially if they saw her violet eyes and silver hair. Not greying hair, pure liquid silver… Maya had never seen anything like it, and neither Katra’s fae nor her elemental heritage could justify the colour. She had taught Katra how to glamour the day after she arrived and as far as the world knew Katra was just another brown-eyed brunette. A gorgeous one, no glamour could change that, but at least she stood out less.
“Ouch,” Katra rubbed her sore hand as the backlash from the spell hit her fingers. She smiled at Maya, “I’m ok I just wasn’t prepared for the kickback.”
“Your powers are growing too fast,” Maya spoke, as if talking to herself, “they should have stopping growing by now.”
Katra released another fireball spell. This time the ball of fire grew as big as a basketball when she lobbed it at the dummy in the training room. With her other hand she drew an ice spell which covered the fireball and neutralized it before she set something on fire, again.
“Well done!” Maya clapped, “At least your control is growing too… but I still think we need to figure out what’s happening here. I don’t know what any of this means…”
“It’s not a problem Maya,” Katra shrugged. “The more power I have the better I can do my job. You should be less worried not more.” She grabbed a towel and wiped off the beads of sweat on her face. “I should grab a shower before I head out, and I have to get my stuff ready,” she called over her shoulder as she went back up the stairs. Maya went into the back of the shop. They didn’t keep regular shop hours as most supernaturals were nocturnal. Not because they couldn’t go out in daylight or anything as Hollywood as that. They just simply preferred coming out at night, and they didn’t need as much sleep as humans so the day could feel quite long. In fact, vampires didn’t need sleep at all if they fed regularly.
Once she was sure that Katra was in the shower, she pulled out a box from the back of the bottom shelf. Inside was a large grey pearl. She closed her eyes and placed her fingers on it.
“Maya?” a deep voice whispered in her head.
“It’s me Antonio,” she thought back at him as the pearl linked their minds together.
“Is something wrong?” he sounded worried, “We were not due to talk until next week.”
“I don’t know… I have a bad feeling, there is a darkness coming. I’m worried about Katra. She has been having those nightmares again. She tries to laugh it off but I can see the shadows in her eyes.”
“When did she start having them again?” Antonio asked.
“She has been having them for a month, they are getting more vivid and her powers are growing so fast I can’t keep up. I think it’s all connected… Antonio, I have to tell her the truth.”
“You cannot!” he burst out in her head, “It is not safe! You don’t know what it will do to her!”
“She has lived with me for over two years! I know her; she is strong, and she will handle it! I know the dangers, but isn’t it worse if she remembers by herself?”
“What about Jessie?” he asked. “Don’t you think she will look for her once she knows?”
Maya shook her head. “Antonio, Katra is a smart, independent young woman… of course she will want to find her, but Jessie is almost eighteen. She is almost fully matured, once she is, it will be safe.”
“What about Katra? You keep telling me that she is still growing in power even though she’s older.”
Maya sighed. “I don’t know Antonio… there is much we don’t know, but we owe them what we can tell them. I’m tired of lying.”
“Maya, she will be twenty-one in a week, and Jessie will be eighteen. Please wait until then at least. I hate lying to them too…” Antonio sighed. “I’ll speak to you next week.”
Maya took her fingers off the pearl and dropped it back into the box.
Katra is a Fae Hunter in a world once ravaged by a terrible war. Having lost all memory of her childhood and rightful identity, her duty is now to protect the tentative peace brokered by the varying races of the supernatural world. When an evil darkness begins to spread, draining young witches of their power, Katra must find a way back to her true past in order to save the future.
Enduring many trials as ever-increasing powers awaken within her, Katra must also struggle with the mixed emotions her new partner, Blade – a Black Dragon – is rousing within her. Together they must battle the shadows that plan to devour the world they know and prevent its decent into another thousand-year war.
Can Katra hold onto her strength as the truth of her very being begins to unravel? Can she bear the weight that ancient prophecy has placed on her young shoulders? Or is her destiny to regain her true self, only to lose the world she is sworn to protect?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Ela Lourenco lives in sunny Scotland with her two daughters and husband. She has a passion for reading and all things supernatural, particularly where there is a whodunit involved! Ela can often be found in the kitchen baking yet another cake as she ponders her next story.
Sirens Call Publications will be giving away digital copies of Essence by Ela Lourenco to 5 (five) lucky winners! Follow the link to enter for your chance to win!