Please help me welcome back fellow DsP author Grace R. Duncan with her new release "Deception".
Thank you so much, Chris, for hosting me today! I really appreciate the opportunity.
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When I sit down to do a story—whether it’s a book, a short story, or something else, I expect it to be a single, standalone thing. Which, I should know by now, is pretty difficult for me to do (like keeping them short. *cough*). I often find that it’s not only the main characters that I end up getting attached to, but the secondary guys, as well.
I have a fellow author who has a real aversion to his characters when he’s done. He jokes that he keeps a literary machine gun for them for when he’s finished his books. He’s written them, and he’s usually quite happy to walk away from them when he’s done.
Me… not so much.
When I started writing Choices, more than two years ago now, I had envisioned a nice, sexy story that I’d write… and then move on. Except before I even got thoroughly into the book, I knew that some of the side characters had caught my attention. Without even finishing the story, I knew that the slave master, Salehi, and the captain of the guard, Darius, would get their own story. I think I was maybe at the fourth chapter when I knew Salehi would want page time of his own. And before I finished Teman’s training, Cyrus and Nadir had very distinct voices in my head.
I’ve been pretty good about putting it aside and finishing the current project, but every so often, these guys sneak up and insist they be heard. It can actually be a little frustrating when they all insist on talking at once.
I swear, we authors sound more than a little crazy. But that’s kind of what it feels like, especially if you’re writing these guys as secondary characters in the current WIP. Salehi kept poking at me, wanting his own happy ending and I kept having to tell him to be patient. *laughs*
But in all seriousness, I tend to fall in love with my characters a little bit. And I want to give them as much as I can, make them as happy as I can.
Well, after I make them a teensy bit miserable. *wink*
My current project is a contemporary story about an actor who’s been rather forced to recognize and accept his bisexuality when he reacts to his male co-star during a kissing scene. I’ve had a lovely time putting him through all sorts of torment. And in the process, not one, not two, but three of the other characters have decided they want to be heard, too. One of them was supposed to be a sort of bad guy. But the more I wrote of him, the more I knew that wasn’t who he was. Instead, he’ll get his own story, eventually. The other two were supposed to just be minor, almost background characters, but they, too, decided that wasn’t nearly good enough. They wanted, probably needed, to be heard much more.
I actually rather love seeing my characters develop like this. They really begin to take on a personality and voice of their own and it is such a joy to write them, spend time with them. I think it’s one reason it’s so hard for me to finish a novel and walk away from their stories. Luckily, as the author, I can write more, if I like. I may not publish it, but… *laughs*
The neat thing about this, to me, is that it has helped me get over two of the biggest fears I’ve had about starting a writing career. I used to be thoroughly afraid that I’d have one good idea in me and never be able to come up with another story. Well, that is obviously not a problem. Especially if you saw my idea notebook and that doesn’t even include all the side stories I’d like to write.
The other fear was that my characters would come out… flat. That they wouldn’t be likeable—or hateable—but rather, just plain, boring cardboard cut-outs. I have a reader of my fanfiction to thank for helping me out of this (thank you again, Greekbread!), but it was the character she loved so much that made me realize that I could do it. He was the only major original character I’d written and she kept asking me when she’d get more of him. The side effect was that she helped me believe in my characters quite a bit more.
So now, when they speak, I listen. Most of the time, that leads to another story. Sometimes, it just means that the character you meet is just a little bit deeper than you might expect of a secondary character. And sometimes, even my insistence on not writing it doesn’t quite hold and they find their way to the page of their own story anyway.
Perhaps those are the ones I should listen to most. So far, I’ve loved it. Cyrus and Nadir spoke so loudly that I couldn’t ignore them. Darius and Salehi are not far behind.
How do you feel about series and sequels and spin-offs? Do you like them? Leave your comments for an entry to win a paperback copy of Deception!
Follow the giveaway here: http://tinyurl.com/puw3nro
For more from Grace, check out her website here: http://www.grace-duncan.com
or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GraceRDuncan2
To check out the entire Golden Collar series, head over to the Dreamspinner Press page here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=976
Be sure to check the Facebook page and visit my other blog stops in celebration of Deception’s release for more chances to win!
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Cyrus and Nadir first met as hungry orphans on Behekam’s streets at twelve years old. They became friends, then partners in the thievery that enabled them to survive, and as they passed their days together, they fell in love. When they are both taken as pleasure slaves in the opulent palace of the Malik of Neyem, love becomes more complicated.
Rumors of an attempt on Malik Bathasar's life put Cyrus and Nadir's relationship to the test—they must pose convincingly as intimate slaves to the young malik as part of a plan to lure the assassin into the open. Teman—Malik Bathasar’s real personal pleasure slave and true lover—was once trained by Cyrus for the same duties, and the attraction and care Cyrus developed for him then still remains. The Malik of Neyem proves an easy man to love and Nadir’s feelings for him grow while they’re pretending to love each other.
Cyrus and Nadir care deeply for each other but they’ve forgotten the first rule of love: communicate in honesty. Their love remains strong enough to weather the changes—if they have the courage not only to face the coming dangers, but to put aside deception and find their truth.