Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The Vampire's Concubine Blog Tour - Building My Characters

So, I'm here today at Fantasy Boys XXX, the home of The Vampire's Concubine, to talk about how I discover and develop my characters.

For me characters, just like plots, start as moments of action in my head, like mini film strips, so I suppose it is their actions that define my characters to me. The only difference between watching a film and the niggling little moment in my head is that along with imagery comes emotion, I'm not only watching my characters, I'm feeling them too. 

Sometimes a character appears spontaneously in my thoughts. Umi is a good example of that. In my head, I saw a young man standing passively against a very dark backdrop, his expression was guarded, he was nervous, but he was also holding his position in spite of the fear in him. That was my first impression of him: I knew he wanted something and he was risking everything to get it - what he wanted came a few thoughts later :). At this point, I didn't know his name.

Other characters come to other characters through a process of need: there may be a slot to fill in an idea and I work on what type of person would fill that role. Hieron was this second type of character. I had Umi in my head, he appealed to me, and I needed a situation and someone for him to react against. Since I am a vampire fan, the idea of this dark youth facing down the threat from the supernatural was not a huge leap, but I also wanted this to be more than a momentary encounter, and Hieron, vampire lord, master of all he surveys, began to take shape. 

Once I had Umi and Hieron in my head, they developed against each other very rapidly. One having come to the other to request to become a vampire. However, then came the big question, why? Why does Umi want to be a vampire, who is he and why would Hieron agree? This is the time in my thoughts when I have to step away from the moment that has inspired the characters and look at background and motivation. 

Hieron and Umi at that point could have been a spicy little PWP (plot what plot), human asks vampire for power, vampire says yes, they have sex to seal the deal. I'm not really  made that way, though, I have to have back story for my characters, I need to understand where they came from. Thus, I set myself to thinking about what made Umi tick, what made him interesting, a character I would want to take further than the momentary dalliance with my brain. I still didn't know his name at this point, and, when I thought about it, it occurred to me that he did not wish to reveal his name. Now, this may sound a bit like the character leading the writer, but I prefer to think of it as my writerly instincts knowing where I needed to go. :)

So, anyway, now I have a nameless mystery and my muse hooked onto that mystery, it was important. I knew then that Umi would only slowly reveal his secrets and that led me on to how Hieron would react to not knowing everything.  And thus developed this cranky, unreasonable man who is also a control freak. 

And that's how my initial character development tends to go, bouncing one idea off another and forming characters from their reactions and interactions. I really enjoy creating characters, weaving them into plots, and I do a lot of daydreaming when I'm in this part of the creating process. Sometimes that's it, I can leap in with just a few ideas, but other times I have to work my characters in more depth, when I use mindmaps to capture the characteristics and relationships between the people that populate my stories.

If you're a writer, how do your characters come to you? If you're a reader, how long does it take for a character to form in your head once you've started reading?  


Rage & An Amusement Giveaway!

For a chance to win copies of Rage and An Amusement, check out the giveaway below.


About Sophie Duncan

Sophie Duncan is a UK author of genre fiction with Wittegen Press. She has been writing since she was a child and has been sharing her work with others since she discovered the internet in the 1990's. She has published original works in many genres, from contemporary fantasy, through crime and mystery drama, to erotic romance. All of her published books can be found listed at her author page on the Wittegen Press website.

Other places Sophie would love to connect with you are:

When, Hieron, vampire lord of Harkham, is approached by a mysterious young stranger, he finds himself tempted by the bargain his bold visitor makes: ninety nine years of absolute service in return for vampire power. With no name and no explanation of the reasons behind the offer, the attractive enigma becomes Umi, Hieron's slave, concubine and vampire childe. 

Yet, from the very first moments the bargain is sealed, Hieron discovers his concubine to be an erotic and obsessively maddening challenge.

The Vampire's Concubine is an erotic romance told in short-story episodes.

Rage - The Vampire's Concubine #2 ($0.99/£0.77/EUR0.86)

The bargain has been sealed, Umi is now a vampire and belongs to Hieron as his concubine. Yet, Hieron cannot reconcile himself to the secrecy behind his new slave, it makes him dangerously angry and the vampire lord lives up to his warning to Umi that he will be cruel.

Hieron's demands weigh heavily on Umi, who, it seems, cannot please his master. As Hieron's rage grows, Umi's time is running out. Desperately, he searches to find the key to salving Hieron's fury before the beast within his sire rises to destroy him.

Purchase 'Rage' and get 'An Amusement - The Vampire's Concubine #1' FREE - see inside the book for details.

Available at Amazon and Smashwords - for buying links, please see this entry on the Wittegen Press website: wittegenpress.com/rage.

An Amusement - The Vampire's Concubine #1 ($0.99/£0.77/EUR0.86)

Hieron, vampire lord of Harkham, is unaccustomed to visitors in his private bedchamber unless he has expressly invited them. Such an unsolicited intrusion should mean the interloper's death, but Hieron finds himself unusually fascinated by the stranger who appears before him unbidden. Offering no name and no explanation of his reasons, the young man offers ninety nine years of absolute service in exchange for the gift of vampire power.

Amused and aroused, Hieron agrees to the bargain, names his enigma, Umi and decides he will become his newest concubine. The only thing left is to seal the deal in a bond of sex and supernatural power.

Available at Amazon, Smashwords and iTunes - for buying options, please see this entry on the Wittegen Press website: wittegenpress.com/anamusement

COMING SOON - Dark of Mind - The Vampire's Concubine #3

Umi is no normal concubine. His master's gift of vampirism notwithstanding, there is much more to him than the Lord of Harkham has yet discovered. Hieron is no longer angry with Umi's secrets, but he remains intrigued and, demon-owned twice over Umi maybe, but it is his mind that interests Hieron the most.

Under Yan's tutelage, Umi is discovering the rites and skills to being a concubine, and Hieron is master when it comes to the night in his newest concubine's veins, mostly. That bond holds a limit that Hieron has never experienced before: his childe has resisted the most intimate of contacts, that of the mind to mind control that normally lies within a sire's remit.

There is power in his childe, power not of the vampire's giving and, before Heiron is ready to deliver Umi to the harem, he means to discover it.


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