Tuesday, November 10, 2015

How Amy McKinley, Author of Hidden, Creates Her Characters ~ #Excerpt & #Giveaway @GoddessFish @amymckinley7

Please welcome Amy McKinley to the blog as she discusses Character Creation!

I know of people who dream their characters. Sadly, I’m not one of them. But how cool would that be?

A well-developed character has all the facets of a real person, complete with fears, flaws, desires, and goals. Of course, the people I meet don’t typically have claws, fangs, or wield magic. Well, claws can come out on occasion…

Characters come to me in a few ways. Sometimes they appear mostly formed, but if not, developing and learning about them is fun. In order to figure out my character’s intricate details and innermost desires, I usually do a character sketch. I’ll daydream a little, delve into what really makes them tick, and write a scene or two that my readers may or may not see.

As he or she forms, their background reveals itself and their personality deepens further. Their physical features take shape and how they move and interact with others. Their challenges become apparent, the goals they seek, and the obstacles that stand in their way. 

I need to know how they’ll think and react in situations. These scenes let me inside of my characters head, giving me perspective. When I begin writing I know them inside and out and am able to sink into their story. 

My favorite thing is those times the story completely takes over and you’re so focused it feels like the runner’s zone, only it’s the writer’s zone. When you’re so lost in the world you’re writing, the real one ceases to exist until the story is done unfolding. That’s when the characters take the lead, and you just follow along. In those moments, it’s as if the characters are telling the story. 

There are a few scenes in Hidden that I wrote like that. Some I absolutely love and others I’m a little surprised by. Maybe you’ll be able to tell which ones?

Cursed since birth, hunted by gods, and desperate for love—Jade never stood a chance.

About the Book:

Half-demon, half-goddess, Jade’s fate makes her a pawn in an epic battle among the gods. Hidden on Earth with her sisters, she successfully avoids the Oneiroi—the dream gods—bent on her destruction until the prophecy, long dormant, awakens a dark shadow within her.

Roen, a reclusive Worr demon known for his battles against the Oneiroi, is called to protect Jade. Together they must unlock their mysterious connection and find a way to beat back destiny. Can she outsmart the prophecy, change her fate, and find love—even when she learns who is connected to her destruction?

Read an Excerpt:

Jade’s temples throbbed. She headed toward the east turret where she knew her mom favored her morning meals. As she burst into the room, Jade startled Aiesa. A fork clattered right before her brother, accompanied by shrieks of joy, jumped up from his chair and ran to her. 

Jade pasted a wide grin on her face as she bent to pick up her half-brother. His arms wrapped around her neck was the sweetest thing ever. She sunk into his embrace and inhaled deeply, closing her eyes. He had the best little demon smell. She clutched him to her until he squirmed. Releasing him, she realized that for the first time in a while, her shoulders were relaxed. Opening her eyes, she met her mom’s gaze over her brother’s shoulders. 

Her mother’s dark hair hung down in a fall of midnight. A storm of worry shone in her eyes. Aiesa half rose, her mouth forming a circle. Damn. Tension rocketed back up again. Nahl pushed at her, forcing her gaze back to him. 

“Hey, little demon, you’re looking very handsome this morning.” Jade tweaked his nose. 

He favored both their mother and step-demon with hair black as night and ebony eyes. And lucky for him, he inherited Xavior’s olive-toned skin, but not their mother’s deep-red lips. On Mom, they looked stunning. On a boy, well…not so much. 

“I’m fierce, not handsome.” Nahl frowned at Jade, grasping her long tresses for emphasis. 

“Fierce and handsome.” She chuckled. “What mayhem have you got planned today?” 

He beamed as she sat him down, then scampered back to his food. “I get to go to Kristo’s to work on magic. We’re going to turn beetles into snakes.” 

“That sounds like fun.” She snuck a peek at her mother, who watched her closely. 

Nahl’s laugh turned wicked as he gazed his sister with glee. “Then the snakes into spiders.” 

Jade shuddered. “Wonderful.” She couldn’t stand spiders as her mischievous little brother knew very well. 

“Why don’t you head over early, Nahl? Cade can escort you there. He’s in the war room with your father. Go find him.” Aiesa instructed her young son. 

“Okay, Mom.” Nahl hopped off his chair. A quick hug and kiss were given to their mom and Jade before he raced from the room. 

“I can’t believe how much he’s grown since the last time I saw him.” 

“Hmm, why don’t you have a seat, Jade?” Aiesa’s gaze never left her daughter. 

“Sure.” After sitting down, Jade glanced nervously around the bright room. The sunlight streamed in, illuminating the blue and green mosaic tiles. The room emanated the feeling of being at the seaside. All it lacked was a bit of sand. 

With a little illusion, Aiesa used to take her daughters to breakfast on the beach in this very room. It had been heaven. Perhaps that’s why I’m drawn to California in the human realm. 

Unable to avoid it any longer, Jade met her mother’s gaze. 

Grasping her hand, Aiesa asked, “The fiery orange circle around your eyes is new. How long has the Fates’ curse been active?” 

Icy fingers crawled up Jade’s spine, and her stomach churned with worry with her fears confirmed by her mother’s words.

Meet and Connect with the Author:

Amy McKinley is a freelance writer and author. She lives in Illinois with her husband, their four talented teenagers, and three mischievous cats. Her debut novel, Hidden is the first in the Five Fates Series. 

Twitter: Amy McKinley  @amymckinley7 

Giveaway Information and Entry Form:

Prizes for the tour include: 

• One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card. 

• One randomly chosen host will receive a $25 Amazon/BN.com gift card.

Please Note that by following the tour and commenting, you increase your chances of winning!

Tour Schedule:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Lisa Brown said...

Thank you for the chance to win :)

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Amy McKinley said...

Thank you for hosting today, Sapphyria! I'm happy to answer any questions and good luck with the drawing :)

Mai T. said...

What are three albums (soundtracks or compilations don’t count) that really define you or have shaped you as a person?

Amy McKinley said...

Hi Mia T, great question and I'll do my best to answer :D As I tend to download a song here and there via iTunes rather than the entire album, I'm struggling a bit with your question. These are three songs that came to mind off the top off my head. Holding Out For a Hero by Bonnie Tyler because the song speaks to the dreamer, romantic, and storyteller in me. The passion in the song always gets to me. I love the song Secrets by OneRepubic for its melody, but not necessarily for the lyrics. So I'm not really choosing that one. I use music while I write. It tends to fade into the background as it plays on a loop and seems to aid in creativity. Some songs are better for certain scenes than others. But I know that's not your question :) Back to it... My favorite thing about music (and probably most people's) is when it speaks to me, and that at times changes as I'm evolving through different times in my life. Sometimes Muse is perfect, Imagine Dragons, Bastille, Vampire Weekend, Martin Garix, Meghan Trainer, or Maroon 5 to name a few. But for my final selection (yep, I'm sure you never thought I'd pick one!) I'm going to say Hall of Fame by The Script for dedication because there are times it's easy and others it's a battle.

Betty Woodrum said...

I really enjoyed reading about character creation, thank you!

Amy McKinley said...

Thank you, Betty! I hope you also like Jade's story as much as I enjoyed writing it. Good luck in the drawing!

Maryellen Newton said...

Hi Amy I loved your book!

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the release!


Victoria Alexander said...

Really great post, I loved the excerpt! Sounds like an amazing book - thanks for sharing!

Eva Millien said...

I enjoyed the post and excerpt, sounds like a great read, thanks for sharing it and good luck with the tour!

Amy McKinley said...

I'm so glad you liked it Maryellen :) And thank you Eva, Victoria and Trix. I appreciate you stopping by and good luck in the drawing!

Sapphyria said...

Thanks to everyone for all of the participation in this book tour!!

Kylei Tumey said...

Sounds interesting.

Amy McKinley said...

I hope you like Jade's story, Kylei :) It's the first one in the series, the second will be out in the spring. And thank you so much for hosting me today, Sapphyria, I really appreciate everyone stopping by.

Christy L said...

Thank you very much for sharing, I love the sound of this book I can't wait to read this one. Thank you for this opportunity.

Amy McKinley said...

Thanks, Christy! I hope you enjoy Jade's story :)

Ally Swanson said...

Great post! I really enjoyed reading the excerpt and learning more about this book! This book sounds like such an interesting and intriguing read! Totally can't wait to read this book!

Amy McKinley said...

Thank you Alley! I do hope you enjoy Jade's story and Layla's will be out in the spring! I'm really excited about that too :) I appreciate you stopping by and wish you luck in the drawing.

Nikolina said...

The book sounds very intriguing, looking forward to reading it!

Dario Z said...

Sounds like a great read, thank you for sharing!

Sapphyria said...

Thank you all so much for supporting Amy McKinley!

https://amymckinleyauthor.wordpress.com said...

Thank you Nikolina and Dario! I hope you enjoy reading Jade's story and appreciate you stopping by. And good luck in the drawing :)