I pick up these pictures from all over the place as inspiration for characters. This one is the Lieutenant from BloodLust. It just looks like I thought an officer should.
So, I was going through my inspiration folder, saw this, and started thinking about that book. Probably the hardest part was writing a character – who got POV chapters – who could see into the future. Oh, it’s a fickle talent and not one that can be relied upon. His visions come when they want and aren’t always about what he THINKS he needs to know.
But how do I keep the secrets? How do I prevent spoiling the entire plot of the book… hell, the series? Well, I peppered the novel with hints. Some won’t come into play until book 5. Some apply to the next chapter. The thing with Blaec’s knowledge is that sometimes telling another will twist the potential outcomes just enough that bad things will happen. It’s not a friendly skill. It’s not the kind of thing you’d wish on your worst enemy, but he’s always had it.
I had to fight to keep him on track. Oddly, though, he wasn’t the character that went rogue on me. No, that was Zep. My beta readers had to listen to countless hours of me whining about keeping that man on track. Granted, he’s also become one of my favorite characters to ever write. (The gorgeous photo to the right was my inspiration for him).
Zep was supposed to be the friendly antagonist. He didn’t agree. By chapter three of the first book, he’d already scrapped the original plot, re-written it into something better, and dared me to fulfill his every expectation. When I tried to play it safe, he proceeded to say something that carried be off track (back to where he wanted me to go).
I always see these memes about the imaginary friends writers have, and well, I think the characters from Rise of the Iliri are mine. At least they are my first group of book buddies – and that gives them a special place in my heart.
And unlike my other books, the Rise of the Iliri series is MEANT to be read again. The first time through, you might miss a few things. Oh, the story is just as good, and you’ll be sucked right in, but I’m hoping that the second time will be even better. The third? Who knows. I’ve personally read it more times than I can count, but that’s a little different. Oddly, I’m not sick of it.
Now, I’m trying to capture that magic in every novel I put out. I’m not sure I’ll succeed, but I’m going to keep trying. But at least I know, when the characters are real enough to change things on their own, the book should end up great.