Today I have author Dean Murray who talks about how mood rings inspired him.
Dean has been kind enough to offer 2 e-book prize packs consisting of Broken, Torn, and Splintered.
Your favorite characters as a mood ring:
I suspect that most guys could care less about mood rings, but for whatever reason I went through a phase where I was fascinated by them. There is just something neat about the idea of something that changes color more or less on its own. I think chameleons are pretty neat too, and they are a bit more manly, but really this is about mood rings J.
To be fair though it’s not just about mood rings, it’s also about a quote I heard or read at some point in the past by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I can’t quote it verbatim, but she talked about how she like to illustrate the point with her books that when you are talking about any given series of events there was usually ‘your version, my version, and the truth’.
For whatever reason, that concept really stuck with me. I’d noticed sometimes that you run into people who tend to spin any given set of circumstances in a way that they come off sounding like nothing was their fault. This seemed to be the next level of insight into that, and I loved the idea of playing with different perceptions of the same events as a way of making characters more three dimensional and given some of the conflict in a plot more credibility.
I suspect at some level this is part of what caused me to decide to write Broken and Torn as a double novel, more or less the same series of events, but with one narrated by Adri, the other by Alec. I learned a lot about writing through that process, and realized that my characters were much more defined in my head than maybe I’d realized. Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately depending on your point of view, I couldn’t leave things alone.
Some of my favorite authors take their characters and really run them ragged. I’m talking about big extremes with regard the situations the characters find themselves in. The best authors do that and as readers we get a chance to see sides of our favorite characters that we never even knew existed. It’s truly amazing to read something where you see a beloved character do something completely unexpected and then after the fact you realized that they couldn’t have done anything else and still remain true to the way they’d been written up to that point.
Ultimately I think so much of conflict is about seeing what the characters will do. When you get right down to it, I guess I’m still that kid with the mood ring, watching to see whether the character stays blue when we take him for a run or if they show an interesting shade of purple that we haven’t run across before.
I’ve had a few people ask me why I’m writing my Dark Reflections stories which are essentially an alternate universe featuring the same characters as Broken and Torn. If I had to boil it down to its simplest form I’d say it’s because I can’t do my characters justice in just one universe. In order to really appreciate just how good someone is, you sometimes have to understand how incredibly bad they could have been. In order to mourn the passing of a villain sometimes you have to appreciate the tiny choices that could have sent them down another path. Time will tell whether or not I’m able to execute on the concept, but ultimately it’s the only way I can think of with this particular set of characters to really take them through the full scope of who they are and could be.
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