~~~~~ The giveaway for Sacrifice is over. ~~~~~
The winner of the signed copy of Sacrifice is alicia0605. Alicia, please let me know your mailing address by sending me an email through the contact page of my website, http://dakota-banks.com. Congratulations!
Thanks to everyone who responded!
It was wonderful to see your comments.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~What happens when a paranormal series character you've grown to love gets the ax, sometimes literally? Do you:
A) Cry but trust the author that it was for the best in the series?
B) Vow never to buy another of the author's books?
C) Resign yourself to a joyless life without the Loved Character (LC)?
D) Leave a nasty note on the author's website as a spoiler?
E) Thrive on tragedy and get a burst of energy from it?
Authors have different approaches to this question, ranging from "They're my characters and I'll do whatever I want with them," to "I couldn't kill off LC, he's wonderful/sexy/supportive/funny/on the cover. I'll rework the series arc (the story that spans several books of a series) to keep him alive."
That was before I started writing my first paranormal series, the Mortal Path.
Something about writing in this genre pushed me to become much more emotionally invested in my characters. It could be the challenges that they face are more terrifying, more demanding of everything they've got. In one of my suspense books, the protagonist was chased around by a seriously bad serial killer with a knife. Okay, that's chilling.
In a paranormal book (though not specifically in mine), the protagonist can be chased around by a pack of werewolves with inhuman ferocity and strength. That's off-the-scale horrifying. So paranormal books have a different scope, where emotions are elevated beyond the usual human experience. Fear, love, loyalty, triumph, and failure--everything can be on a heightened plane, while still being acceptable, natural, even, if the world-building is skillful. To write about those experiences, I think the author can't just sit on the sidelines and manipulate characters like chess pieces. The author has to be in the fray, living everything in his or her imagination.
That means when I write passages that are supposed to inflict horror, I have to dig down into the dark, secret place we all have where our worst fears live. I have to dredge up something from that nightmarish world and haul it into the sunlight to make the horror match the heightened demands of paranormal books. Any plain old normal horror won't do. I have to have a demon-sized horror.
It's the same with the other emotions. Is it any wonder that my emotional investment and involvement in my characters is cranked to the max? Suddenly it becomes reasonable to say, "I can't get Maliha to do what's best all the time," or "Why is she putting up with that? Why doesn't she just kick his butt?" Previously, if I thought a character shouldn't put up with something, then she didn't. Now I deal in nuanced characters who know that there are a lot of factors to be taken into account, natural and supernatural. I'm a member of Maliha's close circle of friends now, though you won't see me on the page. I could sit and chat comfortably with any of them, and sometimes in the dead of night when I'm writing, I do that. As a writing exercise, I mean. Nothing bonkers. Really. You believe me, don't you?
Would I kill off a character I loved? It's a tough question. There would have to be an ironclad reason based on the story arc. And I would cry. When I was first thinking about the story arc (no spoiler), I thought it would be good to have Maliha come full circle. She started off her life as a demon's assassin alone--wouldn't it seem right if she ended the series alone, after all the happy and tragic experiences in between? That was before I wrote down word one on page one. Since then I have grown to love her and her close circle so much that I just couldn't do that. However things turn out for her, at least I know that story arc is toast.
I’ll be giving away a signed copy of Sacrifice (newly released August 31st) to a random draw among people who make a comment. To enter to win, please post a comment below. You can earn points by:
+1 Posting in the comments section
+1 Linking to this post on Twitter
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+3 Following my personal blog.
Just post the total number of points that you’ve earned in your comment. Winner to be announced at the top of this post on Tuesday, August 31st. Contest ends Monday, August 30, at midnight! Please note that if I don’t hear from the winner within 3 days after the contest closes, I will select another winner.