Friday, September 28, 2018

Friday's Guest Juliet Waldron On Writing #MFRWAuthor #BWLPublishing #Historical #Villains #Historical fantasy

What’s your genre or do you write in more than one?
After years of writing historical novels—some more, some less, romantic-- I’m beginning to write in the related genre of historical fantasy. This has come about because of Red Magic (soon to be retitled: Zauberkraft ~ Red), one of the earliest swings I took at the Historical Romance form. 

As a teen, I’d dug out my Mom’s old Baroness Orczy (The Scarlet Pimpernell) as well as books set in a mythical central Europe, like Anthony Long’s The Prisoner of Zenda. I fell  in love with these—and the old black and white movies I saw on TV during long snowy upstate New York winters. Zauberkraft~Red  ended up nothing like staid, sweet Georgette Heyer, or like the American bodice rippers, either.

Earth magic, coming of age, an abduction which sends the heroine for a terrifying stay in an Ottoman seraglio, as well as revenge as a dish served VERY cold, are some of the goings-on in Red Magic.
The “Magic” grew larger and far darker in the second book about this family, Black Magic or Zauberkraft~Black. Here the von Hagen family tale  continues in the person of a first born son, now grown and just home from the final installment of Napoleon’s Wars who is about to (unwittingly) bring down an ancestral curse  upon his head. It isn’t every noble family that has shapeshifters…

Currently, I’m working on Zauberkraft~Green, aka Green Magic, about a teen (an illegitimate member of this tale-spinning family) who has the ability to see auras and related phenomena the rest of us don’t.  When her disgraced mother makes a good marriage (at last!) her wonderful new husband takes her and her daughter to live with his aristocratic relatives in England. They can’t know that yet more supernatural trouble lies waiting. 

The plot of Green Magic has been evasive, as I’m an incorrigible writer-by-the-seat-of-my-pants--but I hope for more “movies in my head” as the lawn slows down and I no longer have to spend so much time and energy out there mowing it. And if I ever get over this virus, a gift which just never gets tired of giving me another day of blah!

Villains are a necessary part of romantic story-telling, aren’t they-- least, in one form or another and in varying degrees of toxicity? I have a hard time writing out and out villains, although nature definitely provides these characters far more often than the conscientious, kind rest of us would like to see. In my own rather tame life, I’ve seen more people who are crippled into behaving with cruelty than actual out and out evil.  Not that those kinds of people can’t do others an immense amount of harm—like the folks who go out and shoot into crowds with automatic weapons—but in the end, they are just bent, their minds injured in terrible ways that cause them behave like that. This inherent brokenness is true of most of my villains.

I think I’ve only created a few completely evil characters, ones whose backstory we’ll never know. I’d say the wickedest character in any of my stories is no longer human; he’s a vampire and immeasurably old. I’ve never believed vampires to be romantic figures. To me, they’ll always have the stink of death about them—the first death having been their own. Now ordinary humans do act like parasites upon one another—the institution of slavery being in my mind a prime example. I’d say societies which keep large numbers of people in subjugation, hunger, and poverty, like North Korea, would also be an example of evil put into practice, but here we’re just talking about a character in a book who interacts negatively with those around him. Still, the Count of Black Magic, the one who steals Goran’s beloved Veronique, is, once again, someone more motivated by an injured sense of his own self-importance than by any mere supernatural hunger. 

Vendetta, I think, would be the proper description of the Count’s motivation to destroy Black Magic’s hero. In my own life, I’ve seen a lot of harm caused by people who believe they “have a right” or a “just cause,” a kind of free pass to inflict pain, suffering, and even death on those who don’t agree with them. These inflexible, self-righteous positions are the mind-set from which most of my villains are born.

A case in point would be in a story like Fly Away Snow Goose.  There is no single villain, but culturally prescribed cruelty enacted by many people—some by RCMP, others in religious orders-- who imagine they are doing the right thing by forcibly taking away language and family ties from the children in their care at those Indian residential schools.  The Tlicho children in this story are fighting for their freedom to be who and what they are—even if it’s “just” a life in a close-knit tribe who hoping to live as they’ve always done, moving with the seasons and the caribou.

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