Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Italian Interview, Part Two

(Continuing the conversation from last time)

Q: Who was you favorite character to write?

A: That’s hard to say; I enjoyed them all. I think which ever one I was writing at the time became my favorite. Of course, it’s always more fun to write the naughtier characters. I found myself more drawn to Lucifer than Gabriel, especially in the beginning. An angel is often presumed, incorrectly if one studies the mythology, to be the personification of perfection. Characterization is best demonstrated by one’s flaws, and perhaps, a story that shows how those flaws are overcome or dealt with. In Gabriel’s case, I had to instill a flaw – doubt. That’s possibly the greatest flaw an angel could have; it threatens the whole fabric of a reality structured on belief.

Lucifer, on the other hand, is the guy born on the wrong side of the tracks. I've always contemplated how fortunate I was to be born in America, a land of wealth and opportunity, and not in Rwanda or Haiti. Where you’re born is the luck of the draw; it’s something you have no control over. Lucifer, was a demon born in Hell but he aspires for a better existence. To obtain that, he has to earn it, raising the nature versus nurture question. Are we who we are because of genetics or our environment? If we change our environment, can we change, through exercise of free will, or is our fate predestined? That’s a theme throughout the series, and not just for Lucifer.

Morgana struck me as a very flawed character. She starts out as a healer and savior and ends as a villainess. Her father was a brute. Her mother died while she was relatively young and she blamed her half-brother Arthur for her death, once she found out his birth was the cause. She becomes consumed with hatred and desirous of revenge against Arthur, Uther, and Merlin. She sleeps with her half-brother, which would send most people into therapy for years, and is overly obsessed with her son, Mordred. She is rejected by Lancelot and her mentor, Nimue and only finds acceptance among the Fae – and even then, probably more from fear than admiration. She’s haunted by nightmarish patchwork visions she doesn't always understand that warp her sense of reality. Is it any wonder she gradually descends from innocence into darkness?

The comic relief characters were a blast to write. Pandora is especially fun because you never know what’s going to come out of her mouth. Both Pandora and Síofra are insouciant characters, but Pandora is lighthearted, a bit of a space cadet. While Pandora approaches life in a carefree, cheerful manner, Síofra is blithely unconcern with anyone other than herself.

Q: Your characters often formed disparate pairings.

A: I found I could achieve both good dialogue and interesting plotting by matching characters with opposite attributes. Teaming up an angel and a demon; pairing the selfish, corrupted changeling Síofra with the innocent, naïve Kaya; or the innocent, naïve white angel Cassiopeia with the more worldly, black emere, Asabi. The level-headed Sharon and the scatter-brained Pandora; the Twitch sisters: Calliope, representing youth and purity, Samantha, representing maternal maturity, and Drusilla, aged and ruthless.

Q: Or Remick and Callaghan. That struck me as an unlikely combination.

A: Literally the Odd Couple. The chauffeur and the tramp. But they worked surprisingly well together.

Q: And in the Middle East, of all places. I noticed you use a variety of locales in the series.

A: Las Vegas serves as the home base, but parts of the book take place in Heaven and Hell. I incorporated global mythologies into the series, including many Japanese legends, so there are scenes in Japan, too. Some of the time travel takes the reader to Camelot, so England is visited, as well.

Q: But not Italy?

A: You can tell your readers that oversight will be corrected in future story arcs. I’m not sure how I would incorporate Italy into the series, but I did have some Roman vampires in the first book and some of the enchantments use pigeon Latin.

Q: Pigeon Latin?

A: It’s been a long time since I studied Latin, so I’m sure my cases were probably flawed, but fortunately few readers will notice. I did have someone correct me on the Hebrew, though. That wasn't entirely my fault. Hebrew is read from right-to-left. I wrote it correctly, but the software program flipped the letters. Fortunately, the proofreader caught it. But it’s very hard to find a proficient Latin proofreader.

Q: (Laughter). That would not be a problem in Italy.

A: (Laughter). In that case, you’re hired.

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