Welcome Robert Gray!

Today we welcome Robert Gray, author of EVE HALLOWS and the BOOK of SHRIEKS!  We asked Robert to share with us about any special relationships that he forms with his characters.  He shared a little about his character relationship with Eve Hallows:

I guess you can say I have a special relationship with Eve Hallows, the main character in the series. I based her off of my daughter. Funny thing is, though, Eve and my daughter aren’t that much alike, at least not on the surface. My daughter isn’t being raised by monsters—okay, she might have a different opinion about that—and she has a pretty good idea what it’s like to live around other humans. And there’s the little fact that everything that happens in the series has never happened to my daughter.

But I suppose that’s the point of writing fiction—to take something you know and turn it into something new. And that’s what Eve is. I took someone I know and made her someone else, not necessarily better or worse, but new.

Part of the fun of writing Eve is sprinkling in those similarities only I can see. Sometimes I might reverse something my daughter says, or I might embellish her mood one day, or I might take something she told me and have Eve use it in the story in some way. As a writer, it’s great to have your source material available at any time. Even better when it’s someone you love, because your heart goes into the character, and that character becomes part of you.

So, yeah, Eve is special to me. And I hope you like her, too.

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Welcome Laura Kreitzer!

I feel so honored to have Laura Kreitzer stop by the blog today as she releases yet another great book for her fans and fans-to-be to enjoy!  Laura has written many fantastic books and I discovered Laura and her great talent when I was fortunate enough to review the first book in the SUMMER CHRONICLES, PHANTOM UNIVERSE. Now with the release of the second book in the series, FORSAKEN HARBOR, we all get the privilege to hear a little from Laura about how she develops the characters that are so dimensional and tangible.

So, Cici’s readers, I turn the page over to the wonderfully talented Laura Kreitzer.  Enjoy!  Thanks so much Laura Kreitzer for stopping by the blog today to discuss Character Identities

When characters are first formed, at least for me, I usually have a sense of who the character will be. From there I pick names. Sometimes picking the name becomes the most tedious task of all. Once you pick the name, you can’t go back after the book is published. As I gain a sense of a character, I begin to see the one-dimensional aspects of that character form. This is what the outside world sees, or what the character wants others to see. It’s how they are perceived. Their appearance, their response, even their dialogue is something that can be manipulated to only let the reader see this one-dimensional side of a character.

As the character is fleshed out, I form their two-dimensional aspects. What the character struggles with, their emotions and feelings, their background and situation. Who they are inside at this exact moment is where I start to bring my characters to life on the page. The question is: how do you take this information and turn it into someone realistic, someone the reader will have strong emotions for, be it hate or loveability. This is where the third dimension for a character is written into the novel.

As a character grows, reacts, and changes, the reader witnesses this third dimension. There are internal struggles and external influences that dictates how the character will turn from a name to a person the reader can perceive as realistic. Not all characters are this fleshed out. Sometimes only seeing the one-dimensional aspects of a character is all that is needed. It is the main characters that we witness growing and transforming as the story unfolds. It’s not always about liking the character, sometimes a villain can be shown sympathy by the reader depending on how the character reacts to their circumstances. This is what makes a character, in my opinion. Not their extensive background or situation but how the character responds to them.

With the Summer Chronicles, most of my characters have pages written about them for my reference. Each of their lives from childhood to the age the reader meets them at is fleshed out, though as a reader, you might only see certain aspects of what is on their long rap-sheet. As the series continues, each character will show many of their dimensions, especially Summer. Her transformation from Phantom Universe to Forsaken Harbor might seem slight in the overall scheme of things, but the reader sees all the dimensions of her character. There are still two books left in the series, in which we will see how Summer and her friends cope with their situation on and off the island that is called Forsaken Harbor.

Thank you, CiCi, for having me on your blog!

Laura Kreitzer

February 18th, 2012 Guest Posts 1 Comment

Real Life Issue…Guest post from Laura Kreitzer

Hello Literary-Folk!

My name is Laura Kreitzer, and I’m the author of the Timeless Series and the Summer Chronicles. This week I would like to alert everyone on a colossal crisis that’s gone unnoticed in the world: human trafficking. That’s why I’ve asked hundreds of blogs to be involved with spreading the word on this issue that’s become close to my heart.

As an author, and someone whose life is put in the spotlight, I keep most people at a distance. Only a handful of my friends know the whole me and the events from my past. But this week I’d like to share with you a part of myself that the outside world doesn’t see (and a part of me I don’t like to share). I was emotionally abused for five years by someone I thought loved me, my mind beaten into submission. Though the turmoil I went through doesn’t penetrate as deep as someone forced into slavery on the worldwide market for human trafficking, I can sadly relate in some ways: imprisoned, my life dictated down to what I wore, ate, where I went, whom I spoke to, where I worked, when I slept, bending to his every whim. He did not sway, even when I cried through some of the more traumatic things he had me do. I was a slave in my own home. In my desperation for freedom, I held out a gun and asked him to just end my suffering. I was desperate.

I can’t even imagine how many women (and men) in the world are in a similar situation. What’s even worse, I had it mild compared to the children that are sold for labor or sex. Surprisingly, the good ol’ U.S.A. is reported to be the host to two million slaves. Did you know this? Because I certainly did not; not until I was preparing to write my newest novel: Phantom Universe. The main character, Summer Waverly, was stolen as a child and sold as a slave to the captain of a modern-day pirate ship. From a loved child who only knew “time-out” as punishment, to being whipped into silence was something I knew nothing about. So I researched deeply into human trafficking and the psychological effects of torture of various types that one would endure in these circumstances. I felt shaken at my findings and knew I had to tell Summer’s story. (Read a sneak peek here.)

A storm began to brew in my mind; transforming, morphing, twisting, and expanding into this massive, black cloud. I had to bring this tragic atrocity to the forefront. My own emotional experiences, mixed with the research I did on human trafficking, made me feel an intense connection with Summer, and to all women who’ve been through this kind of brutality. The cloud ruptured and rained all over my computer one day. It took one month to write Phantom Universe, the first in the Summer Chronicles. I was so consumed by the story that I wrote nearly nonstop, only breaking for necessary tasks like eating, showering, and occasionally—very occasionally—sleeping.

Though the book I’ve written would be classified as Science Fiction, or as I’d like to call it, Dystopian, the emotions and psychological aspects are not Science Fiction—they’re real. Reviewers have said many amazing things about Summer, this character who is so real in my mind and who I cried along with as the words poured from my soul onto my screen.

“I admired Summer’s strength and ability to adapt,” says CiCi’s Theories. “I felt tied to her emotions,” Jennifer Murgia, author of Angel Star admits. And Tahlia Newland, author of Lethal Inheritance, remarks, “Summer is strong and smart in mind [. . .]”

Through her overwhelmingly horrendous past, Summer goes on more than just a physical journey in Phantom Universe, she goes on a psychological one as well; growing beyond her mute state to persevere and survive in a new world beyond the whip she’s so frightened of.

Now that the release date is here, I’m excited and terrified to share this story with everyone. I’m emotionally tied in every way to the words I’ve written, because they’re more than words. More than just a story on a page. Beyond the fictional aspects, there’s a real issue that needs to be addressed: human trafficking must be stopped. We shouldn’t sit idly by while this continues to plague us. Our world’s children—our nation’s children—are being affected. It’s time we take action!

Earlier this month Phantom Universe hit Barnes and Noble’s top 100 Best Selling list. I’ve decided to donate 10% of my sales from Phantom Universe, until the end of February, to the DNA Foundation.

“DNA hopes to help abolish modern day slavery, deter perpetrators, and free the many innocent and exploited victims. We are committed to forcing sex slavery out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

Freedom is a basic human right and slavery is one of the greatest threats to that freedom. No one has the right to enslave another person.”

—From DNA Foundation’s Website

I ask that you spread the word to everyone you know. Look around on the DNA Foundation website and find a way to get involved in ending human trafficking. Take action today. Everyone has a voice—you have a voice. Will you have the courage to use it?

February 15th, 2011 Books, Events, Guest Posts, It's Hot 5 Comments
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Colleen's bookshelf: to-read

Of Mice and MenAnimal FarmWhere the Sidewalk EndsThe Great GatsbyThe Catcher in the RyeTo Kill a Mockingbird

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