The Beldam's Eye by Jennifer Rainey: Guest Post and Giveaway!
Posted by Krystal Larson at 7:16 AM Wednesday, October 3, 2012
A writer is just a step or two away from having split personality disorder.
I don’t set out to make characters. I sometimes wish I could, but when I do, they end up a little like gingerbread men; boring and unoriginal and a little hard to swallow.
My characters just happen. I wish I knew where they came from! The idea that they’re all just lingering in my brain waiting to spring into action is a little unsettling! I could be at the grocery store or standing at work when I just get a sudden glimpse of someone. It could be anything; it could be their line of work, their wardrobe, their favorite hobby. It’s like seeing them through a foggy window. All I get is a glimpse of someone I don’t know, but I almost always want to know more about them.
From there, other details fall into place. And they tend to fall into place out of order. No one ever said the writing process was easy or even made sense half the time! The basic details (such as, oh, the character’s name) don’t tend to show up until much later! Little by little, I get a better look at my character until I feel like I’m really getting to know them.
It’s not until then that I start plotting their story.
Yes, you read that right, and yes, I’m probably doing this backwards! To me, though, the characters drive the book just as much as the plot, if not more. I want to start with characters I know and understand before I even think about getting to the storyline.
For The Beldam’s Eye, the very first characters who materialized in my skull were Pete Finn and Winnie Jasper, two misguided nerds who get involved in the drama of The Beldam’s Eye. They’re not even the main characters! But from there, the other characters fell in line and once I knew the characters, the plot fell into place as well.
To me, creating characters is like anything creative: you can’t overthink. You’ll torture your writing otherwise. Just let your characters show themselves to you! And who knows? They may even surprise you!
When Erasmus Bramble finds the recently-deceased Angus Heyer rummaging through his kitchen cabinets, he knows he has a unique case on his hands.
As paranormal investigators in rural Ohio, Ras and his business partner Antony Yeats tackle ghostly problems on a daily basis, from poltergeist exterminations to troubled spirits just looking for a shoulder to cry on. Angus isn’t looking for ghost therapy. He needs Ras and Yeats to help him retrieve a pocket watch stolen from him after death, a pocket watch that is said to be cursed: The Beldam’s Eye.
The skeptical Ras and Yeats agree to take Angus’s case, but they soon find themselves in over their heads, facing murder, theft and perilous dark magic. Is it all just backwoods superstition or is the curse of The Beldam’s Eye grisly reality?
A pillow with the words God Bless This Mess stitched across the middle immediately flew at his head. He ducked and charged into the wind tunnel that was supposed to be a guest bedroom. The windows were shut, but curtains billowed into the middle of the room and cutesy Americana-flavored decorations rolled across the floor like tumbleweed.
“Where is she?” Ras yelled over the roar of the wind.
“Over there in the corner!” Betty Ann answered.
Yeats immediately snapped a picture of the corner. The spirit box spat out a photograph, and he waited for the image to develop, throwing one arm up to protect himself from a flying quilt.
“Mrs. Walsh, you might want to wait downstairs,” Ras said. “We don’t want you to get hurt.”
Betty Ann was halfway back down the hall when Yeats yelled, “Ras, we’ve got a rogue here.” A portrait of Jesus Christ, the kind where the eyes were always on you, tumbled to the ground.
Ras dodged a potted plant and examined the image. Something that used to be a young woman in a red dress stood in the corner, her long black hair flying in all directions as though she’d been struck by lightning. The wind spirit’s skin was mostly chalky, save for just around her eyes where the flesh was bloated and black. Her fingers were smeared with dried blood.
She had no pupils, just black marbles where eyes should be, and yet Ras could still tell she was staring straight at the spirit box.
He could also tell she was pretty pissed off.
Jennifer Rainey was raised by wolves who later sold her to gypsies. She then joined the circus at the age of ten. There, she was the flower girl in the famed Bearded Bride of Beverly Hills show until the act was discontinued (it was discovered that the bearded lady was actually a man). From there, she wandered around the country selling novelty trucker hats with vaguely amusing sayings printed on front. Somehow, she made enough money to go to The Ohio State University for a major in English.
Jennifer will provide two $20 Amazon GCs and five copies of Thoroughly Modern Monsters, her short story collection to randomly drawn commenters during the tour. The grand prize to one randomly drawn commenter will be a $25 Amazon Gift card, a copy of These Hellish Happenings (her first novel) and a copy of Thoroughly Modern Monsters. Leave a comment with your email address to be entered!
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