Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Dame Jade -- Barbara Raffin

Barbara is one of the Jewels that I've met. She was a very enjoyable and funny person. Janet

1 Which comes first the characters or the plot? Actually what comes first for me is a what if? In other words a situation. I suspect that's plot, but since my next step is to wonder what kind of character would find themselves in that situation, I'd say I really start with character. Plot then come from exploring how my characters are affected by the situation. Is it a good place for them to be or not? What conflicts them about the situation and gets them in trouble?>

> 2 How do you create your characters? Sometimes I'll fall in love with a movie character and use him as a basis for my hero. In one of my yet to be published books, I had a heroine who was an eternal optimist. I based her on a friend of my who has the most wonderful child-like enthusiasm for everything. However I pick them, I create them by first knowing their greatest strength and greatest weakness. I look for traits that separate the characters, yet draw them together in spite of their best efforts. I love details and little jokes like the one TIME OUT OF MIND where the heroine has just had the scare of her life and frantically runs through her botanist father's house seeking something to ground her. What does it is a coffee mug given to him by one of his grad students. On the mug are written the words "Botanists have stamin Power." Not only does this give the heroine and the read a chance to take a breath after a harrowing sequence, but it makes the heroine think differently about her father. She'd never before thought of him as a sexual being.>

> 3 Do you make a plan or go with the flow? I definitely go with the flow...or should. In my current work in progress, I had a strong idea who I wanted the heroine to be. She fought me and fought me and fought me. I finally gave up and said, "Honey, if you want to antagonize a murderer, go for it." The book took off and I eventually realized this new heroine was who this hero needed. Listen to your instincts. Believe in them. But most of all believe in your characters. But I do like to know my turning points and definitely my ending before I start writing the story.>

> 4. How much research do you do? That depends on the story. THE VISITOR, which is set practically in back yard, didn't require a lot of setting research. But when it came to the hero seeing auras, I read everything I could get my hands on about auras and what their colors meant. THE INDENTURED HEART took a lot more research because it was set in mid 1700 colonial America. I needed to know everything from mode of dress and travel to politics (there was a juicy scandal that worked perfectly into the plot). I was amazed to learn slaves of the period had far more rights, like reading and gaining their freedom, than they had later after importation of slaves was banned. Since my heroine was building a ship, I needed to learn what woods were used, how to shape wood for a hull if the right angle couldn't be found in the natural bend of a tree, not to mention the superstitions that went along with building a ship. And there was more, much, much more>

> 5 How do you select the characters goals and the reasons they want > to accomplish them? I love psychology and am fascinated with why people do what they do. The character who has the most to gain or lose by fighting or giving in to the set up situation is the easy one to start with. In WOLFSONG, Walker has been deeply injured by a 'city' woman who'd found his American Indian heritage trendy. He vows never to trust a woman again. Now he's forced to take in a housekeeper for the wolf study headquartered at his cabin and damned if she isn't another "city-bred" girl. Which brings me to how I pick out the second main character. Bring in a character who is going to challenge and nettle the first character to know end..even if she doesn't mean to as in WOLFSONG. Madison has come to the camp to search for a rapist which requires she get real close to all the guys. How do you think that goes over with Walker, the only one she doesn't come on to? He doesn’t' know he doesn't fit the general description of the rapist.> >

6 What are you working on right now? Do you work on more than one > thing at a time? I generally work on one thing at a time. Right now I have a hero who's the latest trend in new age TV, a psychic in the vein of John Edwards, and who's on trial for murdering his wife. Do I hear murmurs of OJ Simpson?>

> 7 What's in the pipeline, contracted but no publication date? Nothing contracted for at this moment. Though I'd love to find a worthy publisher to re release my TIME OUT OF MIND.>

> 8 What's on your back list. Wolfsong, Time Out of Mind, The Indentured Heart, The Visitor. I'm also in two of the JOTQ anthologies" Treasures of the Heart and the EPPIE winning Tales from the Treasure Trove, volume I.> --Barbara Raffin (Dame Jade) www.BarbaraRaffin.comThe Visitor www.awe-struck.net

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