Please welcome, debut author, Lea Nolan!!!
To celebrate my visit here and impending arrival in the sunshine state, I’m giving away a digital copy of CONJURE, but more on that later. For now, I thought I’d talk a little bit about how I created my heroine, Emma Guthrie, or more accurately, how she made herself known to me.
Discovering a Main Character
I’ll be honest. When I sit down to write a book, I don’t have a lot of knowledge about who the characters are until I start writing them. I usually don’t even know their names. This was the case with CONJURE. In the early, pre-writing days, the only thing I knew for sure was that the heroine had a twin brother. But I didn’t know what to call them, where they were from, or what their personalities were like. At some point I did realize I needed a hero and I wanted him to have a cool name so I labored for a few days pondering a great southern moniker. I even asked my friends on Facebook for suggestions. Finally, in the middle of the night it came to me: Cooper Beaumont. Awesome. I went with it.
And then, it was time to place my fingers on the keyboard and let the story unfold. Soon I knew my heroine was named Emma and her twin, who I initially thought was Jake, was actually Jack. He was a smart-ass; she was not, but though she was quiet, I had the benefit of hearing her first-person point of view in my head so I knew her thoughts, and understood exactly what she was feeling. So while she was a bit shy and initially hesitant to speak up for herself, I knew she wasn’t a wilting violet. She was smart and had real inner strength, which I knew she’d need to tap to defeat the wicked flesh-eating curse that threatened her brother’s life.
Soon, Emma told me was an artist who loved to paint and draw and that pastels were her favorite medium.
Hmm, she started to sound familiar.
Next, she told me she loved plants and spent lots of alone time sketching in gardens.
A ha. It finally clicked. I actually knew this character better than I thought. She was uncannily similar to my oldest daughter. My beautiful, shy, artistic, tree-hugging daughter.
Well. I hadn’t set out to write a story with a character based on my own then pre-teen, but apparently one was being written. Though I didn’t want to make this a story about her. This was Emma’s story, after all and she had a whole mess of trouble to contend with. But I did think it would be interesting to see how my fictional girl, who had so many of the same characteristics as my actual girl, would navigate the otherworldly problems I’d throw her way. I was especially interested to see whether and how she’d find her voice over the course of the story.
I did use one trick to help me distance Emma from my daughter and give her something of her own. One day while Jack and Emma were bickering, I learned that Emma listens to emo music. Like a typical brother, Jack called her Emo instead of his usual nickname for her, Em. Though he was a jerk, something about that felt right. Emma’s introverted and sensitive so it made sense that she’d be an emo fan. Mind you’d I’d never actually heard emo music before, so I was kind of going on instinct. But after I did a little research, I was sure. Here are a couple of Emma’s favorite bands:
Thanks so much for having me, Jenese. This was a blast! I can’t wait to meet you and all the other writers, bloggers and readers in person at the Olde City New Blood conference! Please don’t be shy, if you see me hanging around at the pool, in the bar, or the lobby, chat me up! We’re going to have a great (warm and sunny!) time.
Okay, so now for the giveaway! Contest is open to international. The winner must specify either Kindle or Nook version.
Be careful what you search for...
Emma Guthrie expects this summer to be like any other in the South Carolina Lowcountry—hot and steamy with plenty of beach time alongside her best friend and secret crush, Cooper Beaumont, and Emma’s ever-present twin brother, Jack. But then a mysterious eighteenth-century message in a bottle surfaces, revealing a hidden pirate bounty. Lured by the adventure, the trio discovers the treasure and unwittingly unleashes an ancient Gullah curse that attacks Jack with the wicked flesh-eating Creep and promises to steal Cooper’s soul on his approaching sixteenth birthday.
But when a strange girl appears bent on revenge, demon dogs become a threat, and Jack turns into a walking skeleton, Emma has no choice but to learn hoodoo magic to undo the hex, all before summer—and her friends—are lost forever.
- Lea Nolan writes the kinds of stories she sought as a teen—smart paranormals with bright heroines, crazy-hot heroes, diabolical plot twists, plus a dose of magic, a draft of romance, and a sprinkle of history. She’s holds degrees in history and women’s studies concentrating in public policy and spent fifteen years as a health policy analyst and researcher. She lives in Edgewater, Maryland with her heroically supportive husband and three clever children. Her debut YA novel, CONJURE, book one in The Hoodoo Apprentice Series is available from Entangled Publishing under the Entangled Teen imprint. You can learn more about Lea on her website, on Facebook, Twitter and on Goodreads. CONJURE is available at both Barnes and Noble and Amazon.