I asked each author in our Dog Days of Summer BlogTour what they think their strengths are as writers. Here's what Elaine said:
Characterization. I strive to not just give my characters compelling back stories or interesting motivations, but to make them as real as possible. They’re conflicted; they make mistakes (and their mistakes have real consequences); they don’t always get along with one another. I want the reader so deep in their heads that even when the characters screw up, the reader understands why. And when the characters stand up at the end and do the right thing, again the reader should feel that this is the only choice that character could make, that it isn’t just some artificial requirement of the plot thrust on the hero from the outside.
I asked Elaine about the things that make her characters different (aspiring authors, consider these points).
"I’ve always been fascinated with the Slavic fae such as the rusalka, bannik, domovoi, and others... I have a tendency to take characters, who anyone else would probably use as the colorful secondary characters, and promote them to the status of main character."
(So consider using less common mythologies and traditions--they are still amazingly rich but have the advantage of still feeling beautifully foreign; and realize that characters support each other better in different ways and perhaps in different positions.)
For those aspiring authors and readers wondering about how much research goes into a book like Elaine's, Elaine pointed out:
"I do enormous amounts of research for every book I write. In the case of Daughter of Snow, I had to hit the library and read up on everything I could find, not only about Slavic faery lore, but about things like Russian bathhouses and insane asylums in the 1800s. Fortunately I live near a university, so I spend a lot of time in the library there during the planning phase of any book."
So, Elaine's advice?
- explore different mythologies and all options
- research all aspects of you book
- let characters find their proper spot/voice in your story
- work on achieving logical characterization
Don't forget Elaine's links:
Daughter of Snow (and the previous novels in the series: Winter’s Orphans, Prince of Ash, and The Sundered Stone) will be available in hardcover, trade paperback, and ebook from any of the major online bookstores, or direct from the publisher at http://www.mundania.com.