In a land ravaged by civil war, the Mage King Kedehen initiates a ruthless purge of the magas. Eolyn, last daughter of the magas and sole heiress to their forbidden craft, seeks refuge in the South Woods.
When she meets the mysterious Akmael, heir to the throne of this violent realm, she embarks on a path of hope, seduction, betrayal, and war. Desire draws Eolyn toward Akmael’s dark embrace, but fate binds her to Corey of East Selen, a cunning mage whose ambition challenges the limits of love and loyalty.
Can she trust either man?
Hunted in a realm of powerful wizards and brutal deceptions, Eolyn must find her own path to freedom or she will burn on the pyre.
“Vigorously told deceptions and battle scenes, with a romantic thread.” -Publishers Weekly
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Karin Rita Gastreich shares with us about Mutinous Characters!
We’ve all met them. (And if you haven’t, you will.) Those characters who do not conform to expectations. They can be male or female, major or minor, new or old, but they all seem to have one purpose in common: to mess up all the brilliant plans we have for our next story.
I’ve seen authors go through serious battles with characters like these. Some writers even abandon stories altogether because the characters refuse to cooperate.
My own experience with mutinous characters has been more positive. As a general rule, I’ve found that when a character starts to rebel, it means my story is about to get more interesting than ever.
As an example, my first novel Eolyn had its own mutinous character, Corey of East Selen. Corey is a mage, the sole survivor of a once-powerful clan that was massacred when the magas rose up against Akmael’s father, the Mage King Kedehen.
When I started this novel, I imagined Corey would come into Eolyn’s life as a middle-aged and portly man, somewhat jovial in nature. I expected him to be a father figure for Eolyn, who also lost her family when she was very young. Corey’s “Circle,” a troupe of travelling performers, was meant to provide a temporary safe space for my young protagonist, a way station on her larger journey as a woman of magic.
But then I wrote Corey’s first scene, and everything changed. The moment he walked on stage, Corey started negotiating his own destiny. His Circle remained, but its mystery and purpose deepened. And Corey became younger, attractive, capable of aspiring to a role in Eolyn’s life that proved very different from the “father figure” I’d originally envisioned.
Most importantly, Corey evolved as a duplicitous character, cynical and dangerous. He never provides Eolyn a safe haven; quite the opposite. Throughout the first novel, indeed for the better part of The Silver Web trilogy, Eolyn is never sure whether she can trust this mage.
Even I had a hard time figuring Corey out. His loyalties seemed to be constantly shifting, and his motivations did not become clear to me until I nearly finished the first novel.
Sometimes, I find myself thinking that Corey’s smarter than me. Sounds odd, doesn’t it? I mean, really, is it possible for a character to be smarter than the author?
In any case, when Corey started creating a new role for himself, I did what I do every time a character pulls me in a new direction: I listened and I followed.
Yes, outlines are important. Vision is important. But sometimes characters have something new to offer, and the smart author pays heed when those possibilities open up.
If I hadn’t followed Corey’s lead, if I had insisted on forcing him into the mold I’d originally outlined, Eolyn would not have nearly as much sparkle as it does today. Corey was the first character to teach me this difficult but important lesson. And I’m pretty sure he will not be the last.
How about you? What has your experience been with mutinous characters? Do you love them, hate them, or somewhere in between? Tell me your stories and strategies. I’d love to know!
About the Author
Karin Rita Gastreich writes stories of ordinary women and the extraordinary paths they choose. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she is part of the biology faculty at Avila University. An ecologist by vocation, Karin has wandered forests and wildlands for over twenty years. Her past times include camping, hiking, music, and flamenco dance. In addition to The Silver Web trilogy, Karin has published short stories in World Jumping, Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, and 69 Flavors of Paranoia. She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency.
There will be a Goodreads Giveaway for the paperback edition starting April 27th (and ending May 18th).