by Crystal Collier
author of Moonless
author of Moonless
One of my earliest memories was of snuggling up in my blankets, leaning on my pillow, and listening with rapt attention as my oldest brother told stories of “Super Goober.” He started a culture of storytelling among my seven siblings and I, a custom passed from the oldest to youngest.
I was the splitting point, the middle child. It was up to me to pick up where the older siblings left off. Because of that, I started telling my own stories. My youngest brother and sister would cozy up on my floor while I continued the saga of a fantasy world, expanding details and explaining the culture, answering questions and exploring until everyone dozed into sleep.
But those stories and characters didn’t die when we were too old for sleepovers. No, they continued to live in my subconscious, joined by dozens of others who popped up through the years.
So how do I develop characters?
They’re a result of real world experiences combined with wishful thinking. My first solid character, Kiri, was born from intense pain. Life was not pretty on any front for me: home, school or church. Channeling all my troubles, I imagined a girl whose suffering was greater than my own. She was part who I wanted to become and part who I was. I built a world where she struggled to find meaning or a modicum of her own importance. And she was important. She was so important her entire world would cease to exist without her.
But she couldn’t see it.
She set a pattern for where and how my characters would originate. For the most part I meet them in my dreams, story dreams with fully fleshed out conflicts. Fueled by the character’s emotions, (emotions so potent I HAVE to explore them,) the story begins.
Where do you meet your characters?
You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.
In the English society of 1768 where women are bred to marry, unattractive Alexia, just sixteen, believes she will end up alone. But on the county doorstep of a neighbor’s estate, she meets a man straight out of her nightmares, one whose blue eyes threaten to consume her whole world—especially later when she discovers him standing over her murdered host in the middle of the night.
Among the many things to change for her that evening are: her physical appearance—from ghastly to breathtaking, an epidemic of night terrors predicting the future, and the blue-eyed man’s unexpected infusion into her life. Not only do his appearances precede tragedies, but they’re echoed by the arrival of ravenous, black-robed wraiths on moonless nights.
Unable to decide whether he is one of these monsters or protecting her from them, she uncovers what her father has been concealing: truths about her own identity, about the blue-eyed man, and about love. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with the man of her dreams and risk becoming one of the Soulless.
Enter Crystal's awesome giveaway!