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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Published Character on the Couch: Xander & Mina from Illumination

Today I'm pleased to welcome author M.V. Freeman and her characters Xander and Mina to my couch. If you've read her debut novel Incandescent, you've already had the pleasure of meeting these characters, and I'm delighted they get their own book, especially Mina.

MVF: It’s a pleasure to be here—today I am introducing Xander and Mina, my hero and heroine from my newest book Illumination. I hope you enjoy them! They are going to join me in answering these questions.

A quick blurb of ILLUMINATION: In an effort to stop a war Mina started one. Fleeing her own kind, who wants her dead, she turns to Xander, her people’s mortal enemy for help. He faces a choice—help her and lose everything, betray her and regain it all.

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. 

Mina: It would be fun, would they have Cheetos or Cheese puffs?

Xander:  You and your cheese puffs. I’d need a court order—I don’t like talking to people.

Mina: You like to talk. You talk to me.

Xander: *rolls his eyes.*

Mina: *loud whisper*  He really loves me, just has a hard time showing it.

MVF: They totally need therapy….

Is the presenting problem one of the main internal or external conflicts in your book? If so, how does it present itself?

MVF:  It is a combination of both internal and external. There is war going on between the Mage race where Xander is from, and the Dark race where Mina is.

Mina: I disagree—the whole problem is Xander can’t admit he loves me.

Xander: It has nothing to do with love, but having my whole life ripped to shreds because I agreed to help you.

Mina: See, he does love me.

MVF: They can’t get out of their own way sometimes. But their conflict exists immediately.

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?

MVF:  I’d know what I’d do—but them….

Mina: Oh, I’d explore—those pictures, you have to tell me who they are. Are those books over there what to you read? *wanders around the room*

Xander: Do I have to answer this? Fine. I’d take the chair.

Does your character talk to the therapist? How open/revealing will your character be?

MVF: I’m not sure they’d have the opportunity to talk to one.

Xander: No, I don’t talk to one. I bet my mother does.

Mina: It would be fun. Maybe we can talk about the time my brother was murdered. No, that’s too depressing. I’d rather talk about why people dye their hair. Maybe I should try that? I think purple.

MVF: and some people, like my characters, would miss the point…

Your character walks into the bar down the street after his/her first therapy session. What does he/she order? What happens next?

Mina: oooh, could I try one of those fruity drinks? I like the umbrellas on them…maybe I’d even pluck a few emotions, there is always such a plethora of anger, happiness, a touch of depression, and lust.  Delicious.

Xander: Scotch. I’d probably end up having to fight those who try touch or insult Mina.

Mina: *pats Xander on the arm* That’s all right…the blood would be good for you.

MVF: *shakes head*  I’d go home personally….

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)?

Xander: *looks at MVF*  There are no tricks are there?

Mina: *grins showing serrated teeth* We’re open books.

MVF:  Those two….  Sigh.   There are two things—I  use; music and video to shape the characters emotionally. (Video is harder) for Illumination; I found a small clip from Mad Men, when Peggy (I think her name is)—she was his “protégé” quits—and Don Draper falls apart in a controlled manner. I watched this every time I would write a scene with Xander and Mina. It just had the emotional “Sense” that I appreciated—and helped focus me.

But when I was writing expressly Mina’s POV, I would play in the background  “A Taste of Poison” by Halestorm. Because for me, this song held the emotional impact of what drove Mina. A mix of agony and pain.

I’ve tried using some of the personality Myers-Briggs, but they frustrate me. I admit at times I will write questions and see how they respond—but mostly it’s constantly thinking about them.

As you can see—I have lots of fun with them. Thank you very much for having in the blog—it was a pleasure, and fun to bring my characters!

Now, I’m off for another cup of coffee—my favorite drink—what is yours?

CD: I've just had an iced mocha and am looking forward to wine this evening. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Author Bio: M.V. Freeman lives in North Alabama. A nurse by day, at night she enjoys creating and exploring alternate worlds within our own. She gravitates toward stories of determined heroines and anti-heroes who push the boundaries as they both fight to find their light in the dark.

M.V. is represented by Victoria Lea from The Aponte Literary Agency. Her award-winning and best-selling debut novel INCANDESCENT is the first in the Hidden Races Series. Currently she is working on the third book in the series, while plotting others. When not writing, she can be found reading, cooking, throwing around kettle bells, or making coffee.

If you want to learn about new release and other news; please sign up for the Newsletter on her Website.

Other places to find her:
S&S (her author page on her publisher's website)

If you're a published author and would like one or more of your characters to be interviewed, or if you're a writer having trouble with a character and would like some help from a psychologist, please email me at cecilia (at) ceciliadominic (dot) com


  1. Thank you for having me here! It is always delightful to chat with you. :)

    1. Likewise! Thanks for bringing Xander and Mina by.They were a lot of fun. :-)

  2. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!

    1. Thank, thank, thank you! ;-)

      Seriously, M.V. did all the hard lifting on this one. Let me know if you'd like to send some of your characters by - the couch is always open!

    2. Thanks Nancee--! :) I would Love to see your characters here too!