Character Interview from PORTRAITS OF THE LIVING: A GHOST TALE

Thanks to Ralfast, for suggesting a character interview challenge.

*Pours two cups of coffee.  One black, and one with lots of cream and sugar.  Authoress knows by now that this particular character has quite the sweet tooth*

*clears throat*

“Well hello, dear character.  you and I have known each other for a few years now.  But for those who have not met you, could you please introduce yourself?”

I would be happy to.  My name  is Anne Durrant. 

Do you have any nicknames?

My brothers used to call me a mouse when I was a kid.

What do you look like? Eye color, hair color, ethnicity, distinguishing marks or features, clothing, jewelry, and gear…

Oh, it is awkward talking about oneself!  Let’s see.  I’m very small, hence the above mentioned nickname.   I have carroty-colored hair, and was cursed with the freckles of a redhead at birth.  A parasol is, thus, of little help.  Also, I’d walk into a wall without my dreaded spectacles.   As for dresses, I prefer a pretty, but unfussy style.  I do have a fondness for lace and ribbons.

What are your hobbies?

Books!  Especially “shudder” stories.  I love to be thrilled.  And I love trying to solve mysteries.   Lately, due to discovering I have the “sight”, I have started studying the occult.

Who and where is your family?Where are you from?

We live in Boston on Beaon Hill.  It’s a very busy street with all the carriages and pedestrians coming back and forth.  I’m a city girl at heart, but am glad to be visiting my relatives in the backwoods for a change of scenery.

Do you have any secrets, and what are they? Why do you keep them?

Of course I have secrets!  Someone without any secrets must have led a rather dull life, don’t you think?  But it’s improper to pry in one’s private business, so please don’t ask again.

Sorry!  You are quite right about that.  Let us move on.  What do you believe in?

I am open-minded.  There are a lot of new ideas circling around Boston right now.  Transcendentalism.  Spiritualism.   It’s all very fascinating.  I’m not sure exactly what I believe in, but I am keen on learning different things!

What is the setting of your story?

I am staying with my relatives in the backwoods of New England.   They live in a tiny backwater village that isn’t on any map.   This is my first visit out here, and I am finding my cousins to be all rather… odd.  And there’s also a dead girl.

That is all I shall say for now.

Thank you, Anne for your time.

Thank you for having me.  It has been  a pleasure.

Before I leave, if I may mention a delightful interview I read at http://dianedooley.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/464/

Published in: on May 1, 2011 at 1:21 pm  Comments (24)  
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Thirty Days of Writing Meme: Day Two- Number of Characters

2.  How many char­ac­ters do you have?

Oh, an untold number of characters live in my head, awaiting their turn to be written about.  But I’ll stick to the ones in PORTRAITS  since they’ve been fully realized.

Just a quick glimpse at them:

1.  Anne- My fiery 19 year-old protagonist.  Lover of penny dreadfuls and Gothic Romances.   Upon discovering her ability in communicating with the dead, she sets her ambitions on becoming a prominent medium.

2.  Daphne- Anne’s cousin.    Chess player,  autodidact, polygot with an obsession with Tarot

3. Beth- Daphne’s taciturn younger sister.   Artist and poet.  Very strange objects can be found hidden in her room.

4.  Sheridan- Daphne’s charming, gambling husband

5.  Uncle Gerard- studier of the Occult.  Spends a lot of time alone in his study

6. Grace- the omniscient servant

7.   Mr. Raferat and Mrs. Brent- old friends of Uncle Gerard.   Learned in the Occult and practicing Spiritualists, they are more than happy to aid Anne in her pursuit of knowledge

8.  Mary- the very angry dead girl

Meme: Thirty Days of Writing: Day One- Favorite Writing Project

The preeminent Ralfast (waves hello) has tagged me for a meme in which I am to answer 30 questions related to writing.

If I suppose correctly, I am to answer a question a day.    Well, there goes my plan of blogging once a week.  But no worries, Ralfast.  I’ve never been one to stick to plans: others or my own.  Really.  Don’t feel bad.  😉

So, with a little Wicked playing in the background, here I go:

1. Tell us about your favorite writing project/universe that you’ve worked with and why.

This will no doubt change with time, but right now it is PORTRAITS OF THE LIVING: A GHOST TALE

Why?  It’s the first novel I wrote with the specific aim toward publication.  Wait.  No.  That’s sort of a lie.   But unlike the Little Women knock-offs I penned when I was ten, I think this at least has a slight chance in Hela.

The “universe” that the story takes place in is very tight. I  wanted the setting to be claustrophobic.  The majority of the novel takes place around one  desolate house.   Outside, it’s glorious summer, while inside, the house’s inhabitants are wilting.

I’d speak more in depth about the novel, but no doubt with 29 more questions to go, I have plenty of time for that.

Published in: on September 23, 2010 at 5:26 pm  Comments (14)  
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Art Inspired Writing

  Some of my fellow writers have mentioned being struck by a shiny new idea while listening to music.  As much as I enjoy listening to music, thus far, no tune has sent me dashing for a pen.  Rather, when it comes to The Arts, it is is paintings that will often  make me stop and go,  “hmm….”

A few paintings that inspired me while writing my last novel, PORTRAITS OF THE LIVING: A GHOST TALE,  were the following:

1.  Goya’s Don Manuel

This painting with the  child holding a bird captive, and two cats waiting to pounce upon it  hangs in The Hoffmans’ dining room.

Titania Sleeping by Richard Dadd hangs in their parlor:

The renowned English artist went mad during his travels through Europe and the Middle East.  After claiming possession by the Egyptian god, Osiris, he began exhibiting increasingly violent behavior.   Upon Richard’s return home, his father refused to instituionalize him.    Not long afterwards, on August 28, 1843, Richard Dadd stabbed his father to death.

Richard Dadd spent the rest of his life in a mental institution.

While my novel has nothing to do with Dadd or fairies,  the  painting and Dadd’s lifestory made me think of the ill character in my story, and the one who needs to wake up and see the truth…

Do paintings inspire ideas in you?

Writing Update: Faery Oracle: Luathas the Wild

This morning I closed my eyes, shuffled the Faeries Oracle deck, and withdrew Luathas the Wild.

“Luathas the Wild is filled with fire, and fire is associated with the creative life force.  This faery fires us up, gets us going, recharges our batteries and creative energies.  He likes to be around when things are exciting, when there is life force blazing high and he can jump in and encourage it to burn even higher.  Creation and passion are his bailiwick.”- from Brian Froud’s, The Faeries’ Oracle.

It is difficult to think of a more fitting card at this moment.  As I wait to hear back on my requests for Portraits of the Living: A Ghost Tale, my passion is soaring as I research for my next novel which takes place in the late 19th century.   During the last week, I have passionately (or obsessively- like any true Rising Scorpio) been studying up on issues which will be dealt with:  murder and how crime was investigated back then, 19th century asylums, the daily house life and fashions of the 1890s…

As I take notes, the creative side of my mind is twirling with ideas.

It is indeed a fun, wild time when it comes to my writing.

What is in the cards for you and your writing?

Portraits of the Living: A Ghost Tale- characters

music playing:  Stevie Nicks,  Nightbird

Things are very exciting right now.  I have a full out on POTL (whispers this as not to upset the Fates), and have started researching and taking notes on my next supernatural suspense novel.  Before blogging about the new novel,  I wanted to write a couple of posts regarding Portraits, which will then be put together in a separate page.

The first is the novel’s cast of characters:

1.  Anne Durrant:  fifteen-years-old, imaginative, clever,  intelligent, yet often foolish.   Definitely not as sensible as she believes.   Booksmart, but has a lot to learn about the dangers of real life. Her insatiable curiosity is both her greatest asset and her worst, for it might get her killed. . .

2. Daphne Hoffman Stowe: thirty two- years-old, married, highly intelligent, poised, and stoic.  Loves science, history, and linguistics.   Despite her scientific leanings,  she is addicted to having her fortune read.  Fears an ominous reading from a Gypsy. . .

3.  Beth Hoffman:  Daphne’s younger sister.   The reticent spinster loves art, poetry, tarot cards, and waxen dolls. . .

4.  Gerard Hoffman:  Anne’s uncle.  Father to Daphne and Beth.  Scholar of the Occult.  What does he do in his study?

5.  Sheridan Stowe:  Daphne’s husband.   Uses his charm to get away with his drinking and gambling.  What does he feel guilty about?

6.  Grace Cullwick: the utterly devoted house maid.  The only servant who remained after an exorcism went frighteningly wrong.   Tender to her “family”, she is cold to all outsiders.

7.  Mr. Raferat:   Family friend.  Retired anthropologist.  Studies the occult.  Larger-than-life world traveler who relishes good stories and obscure facts.

8.  Mrs. Brent:  Widow.  Not-so-discreet lover of Mr. Raferat.  Devoted Spiritualist.  Overbearing and a bit daft, but with a great heart.

9.  Mary- the young servant girl who haunts the Hoffmans’ house.

Who are the characters in your novel?