I am thrilled to welcome Laura Libricz, Rave Reviews Book Club “Spotlight” Author, on today’s stop of her blog tour. Laura is an amazing, supportive member of RRBC who generously promotes fellow authors. I consider it an honour to shine the “Spotlight” on her today.
With much joy, I introduce Laura Libricz!
Welcome to Day 1 of my #RRBC “SPOTLIGHT” Author Blog Tour. I’d like to thank my host and the RRBC for this great honor. To kick off this blog tour, I’d like to talk about writing!
Everything that happens in my writing happens for a reason! Just like that moment while watching a B-rated horror flick on TV. The heroine hears spooky sounds coming out of the basement. The music rises and her footsteps slow as she walks towards the basement door. Her hand reaches for the knob and everyone in the room shouts, “Don’t do it!”
We wonder how she could be so foolish. We know evil lurks down there. But somewhere a script writer made a conscious decision to have the scene evolve like this. Now, we as writers are making decisions all the time: about mood, setting and the actions our characters take. Is it raining during the scene? Is it dark or is it morning? Things like this can really affect the mood and setting. And even though I fret over every word, every sentence, paragraph, scene and chapter, I’d like to concentrate today on the decisions I make regarding my characters and their actions, how I back these decisions up and further the story along.
I write historical fiction set in Germany in the 17th Century. I made a decision in the beginning that I wanted a historically correct account about the people and their plights during this period. I also wanted to make the story easier to read so I decided to keep the dialogue lighter and non-archaic, using more contemporary speech. And I wanted to somehow create real people with real problems like heartbreak, herbs and horrors. (I wanted to call the book Sex, Drugs and The Thirty Years War, but I decided against that.)
To make the characters come alive and show the reader who they are, I need to set up their personality traits along the way, like salting a soup, so that the reader can understand why they act the way they act. For example, a character who was thrown from a horse as a child could understandably have a fear of horses in her adult years. A young man who had a traumatic separation from his mother could have intimacy issues. A woman who was a servant her whole life may not have high self-esteem. She most likely will not be the heroine who swings a sword and wards off mercenary soldiers. Her ultimate heroic act may be then that she sacrifices herself to save those she loves.
We have all read books where the characters have made choices we can’t understand. We think this character would not have done the deed given what we know about him. (Though some writers can use just this tool, an unpredictable trait emerging from a character, quite effectively to further the story.) But in my observations, most people are predictable. The signs of personality changes are often there if we dare look. As my characters develop, I set up personality changes so when the character is faced with a conflict, I already know what choice they will make (and the observant reader may see the changes coming too if I do my work right!) For example, a young girl sees a soldier rape her mother. She decides to take a knife and kill him. If I want this scene to be believable, I need to have the girl be athletic from the beginning. I need to train her beforehand so she would even be able to use the knife. And she has to be capable of such an act, so she needs a slight black streak across her personality.
Yes, I do written character analyses. I do their astrological charts. In the beginning, I found actors I would like to play my characters in a film, just to get a feel for their movements and facial expressions, but later they all evolved into their own people. Books about personality disorders have been helpful and I like to give the characters one or more. (I’m a big fan of flawed heroes.) My historical trilogy, Heaven’s Pond, was originally written and self-published in a first person point of view, from the viewpoints of three of the characters. This was the easiest way to really get into the characters’ heads. The trilogy has now been re-written in the third person point of view. I must say, the first draft written in first person was helpful to find the characters and to really feel them.
So, in my novels nothing happens per chance. The characters may evolve on their own but I’m the puppeteer who’s pulling the strings. The characters may act irrational or self-destructive or miss chances that could have saved them. But my conscious decisions plot the whole thing like I am building a ship.
What sort of things do you want to see the characters in a story do? Do you have those story ‘pet peeves,’ things that characters do that make you crazy? Let’s hear from you!
THE MASTER AND THE MAID
She’s lost her work, her home and her freedom. Now, harboring a mysterious newborn, she could lose her life.
In 17th Century Germany on the brink of the Thirty Years War, 24-year-old Katarina is traded to the patrician Sebald Tucher by her fiancé Willi Prutt in order to pay his debts. En route to her forced relocation to the Tucher country estate, Katarina is met by a crazed archer, Hans-Wolfgang, carrying a baby under his cloak. He tells her an incredible story of how his beloved was executed by a Jesuit priest for witchcraft right after the birth and makes Katarina—at sword point—swear on her life to protect the child. But protecting the child puts Katarina at risk. She could fall in disfavor with her master. She could be hunted by the zealots who killed his beloved. She could be executed for witchcraft herself. Can Katarina’s love for the baby and Sebald Tucher’s desire for her keep the wrath of the zealots at bay?
Set in Franconia, The Master and the Maid is an accurate, authentic account of a young woman’s life in Germany in the 1600’s, her struggle for freedom and her fight for those she loves.
Laura Libricz was born and raised in Bethlehem PA and moved to Upstate New York when she was 22. After working a few years building Steinberger guitars, she received a scholarship to go to college. She tried to ‘do the right thing’ and study something useful, but spent all her time reading German literature.
She earned a BA in German at The College of New Paltz, NY in 1991 and moved to Germany, where she resides today. When she isn’t writing, she can be found sifting through city archives, picking through castle ruins or aiding the steady flood of musical instruments into the world market.
Her first novel, The Master and the Maid, is the first book of the Heaven’s Pond Trilogy. The Soldier’s Return and Ash and Rubble are the second and third books in the series.
Twitter – @lauralibricz
Facebook – @LauraLibriczAuthoress
Website – http://www.lauralibricz.com