Quick update: I got my new laptop, installed everything, and figured out after a couple of days that it had a problem with its fan. Back it went, and now I have a replacement that - fingers crossed! - will work out and will last as long as its grand-predecessor (5.5 years).
Also, I will be appearing as a guest this weekend at MidSouthCon in Memphis. It's like DragonCon but older and more sane crowd-wise. I'll be on five panels on various aspects of writing and the genres I write in, and I will have my first two books for sale and signing on Pro Row on Saturday at 1:00. Please come say hi!
Now for the real purpose of this post. I'm super excited to welcome J.C. Stockli, an indie-pubbed author, and two of her characters to my couch. I haven't read her book yet, but I'm definitely going to now that I've met her characters because it will be entertaining for both my urban fantasy author and psychologist sides. Oh, and check out this gorgeous cover!
The Nothingness: Addictions of the Eternal, Book One
A dispirited addict learns that history repeats itself deep within hidden worlds. Evie Westvale is lost in the lifeless existence of her drug-laden fishing town. She finds much more than fellow addicts lurking beneath the docks. Craving escape from her inebriated reality, she discovers the presence of a dark stranger who haunts her dreams in the most delicious ways. Lucca has come to prey on the dregs of Fallhaven. He has not arrived by accident, and he is not alone. Riding waves of blood and lust, Evie is forced to confront her dark past and an irresistible future, but can she survive the tempest brewing inside?
The Nothingness is the first installment of the Addictions Of The Eternal, a series inspired by the New England coastline that depicts the struggles with addiction and stages of recovery through the lens of dark/paranormal fantasy.
The Saving (Addictions Of The Eternal: Book Two) - Coming Soon in Summer 2015
1. If your character were to go to a psychologist – willingly or unwillingly – what would bring them in? Yes, a court order is a valid answer.
Blythe has been nagging Evie for years to get help, but Evie refuses to admit that she has a drinking problem. Who doesn't need a drink after a bad day... or just in general? That's not addict behavior, regardless as to the severity of self-destructive behavior. Right? A psychologist would just be one more person to pass judgement on her, and Evie faces enough chastisement when she looks in the mirror. She doesn't need that outside of herself. (shakes head with vehemence) No, no psychologists please. (CD: Awww...)
Lucca on the other hand... he stirs something in Evie; she's terrified of it. She may be convinced to get help if it means learning more about what draws her to him. He'll go for the hell of it, to indulge in the process, but does not expect any revelations. He's spent enough time in his own skin to be completely comfortable with his vices... and lack of virtues.
2. Is the presenting problem one of the main internal or external conflicts in your book? If so, how does it present itself?
Absolutely. Evie's strife (obsession/addiction) is personified by Lucca and his world, but ultimately involves her internal struggle with realising her self-worth. Her story is one of acceptance and healing. This is the theme of the series and presents itself in many forms, from actual substance abuse to agoraphobia, hearing voices, up to the fantasy-design with another being.
3. It's always interesting to see how people act when they first enter my office. Do they immediately go for my chair, hesitate before sitting anywhere, flop on the couch, etc.? What would your character do?
Evie pauses at the door. Shaky fingertips fidget with the strap of her bag. Not until she is asked to sit down, will she move. Rather, she scans the room for a calming focal point, something to make her feel more at home. Absent any such idol, her taste buds scream, and her stomach is in knots. Evie eventually makes her way to the couch and settles at the end, cradled in the crook of the arm. Her hands remain tucked between her knees, and she continues to scan the room for an anchor point.
If Lucca were to follow Evie, he stalks the perimeter of the room, inspecting knick - knacks and decor. He keeps an ever watchful eye on you and likely snickers at your discomfort under his gaze. The playful tip of his tongue remains hidden behind his crooked smirk.
4. Does your character talk to the therapist? How open/revealing will your character be?
Neither Evie nor Lucca will speak until spoken to.
Evie will be more apt to open up if she feels comfortable around you, but that means you offer her a drink or a some pot. Then she'll let you in. (CD: I've often thought about having a secret wine stash at the office. I doubt the Ethics Board would approve me sharing, though.)
Lucca will likely only offer obscure answers that raise more questions.
5. Your character walks into the bar down the street after his/her first therapy session. What does he/she order? What happens next?
Evie goes straight to the bar and orders a double shot of Jim Beach chased by a dark stout (any label will do). She's breathing heavy and mumbling for her inner voice to shut the hell up.
Lucca's still amused by how uncomfortable he made you during the appointment. He settles into a dark corner and monitors those around him with his ever present Cheshire grin. He doesn't order anything unless he has to because he doesn't drink alcohol.
6. When you're building characters, do you have any tricks you use to really get into their psyches, like a character interview or personality system (e.g., Myers-Briggs types)?
I build play lists on Spotify. Certain characters listen to different music. That music evokes a different set of emotions, which help to build that character. I'll listen to the same music for months (or longer) while I connect to that character.
Nice! I did playlists for characters in one of my contemporary books and found it to be helpful, too. Thanks so much for stopping by, and I can't wait to read the book so maybe Lucca will speak to me after that. :-)
In addition to her website, you can find J.C. on Facebook and Twitter.
Do you have published characters that would like to stop by for a visit or unpublished ones that need a little psychological help like this one? Please email me at cecilia (at) ceciliadominic (dot) com