Fall is my favorite time of year—the colors, the crispness in the air, the corn mazes and haunted houses. I love riding my horse through the woods. I love taking the dog for a walk and watching her lose her furry little mind over all the squirrels all bustling about. There’s a sense of energy, of getting ready for winter, when the light is fading, the birds are all flying south for the winter and you know that deadline is looming large just over the horizon.
In my household, figure skating starts back up with regular school classes. This is the first year Tami’s doing competitive synchronized-team skating, so extra classes and extra ice time—freezing my butt off rink side.
They say write what you know and the research never ends! Everything you do and see and experience is fodder for books. Character emotions, experiences and interactions. You never know when a snippet of conversation or a real-life moment can inspire a fictitious scene.
As much as I love fall, I HATE winter! Every colorful crisp fabulous day just brings me that much closer to shorter, darker, colder days. It gets cold in Wisconsin. I loved researching Iceland for my fictitious island of Isadorikja, where my hero Aryk hails from. There’s definitely a Viking vibe going on! It was fun going on line checking out the northern lights, beluga whales, and ancient sailing. When Verdeen leaves the nice temperate paradise of Poshnari-Unai for the arctic wilds of Isadorikja, I could definitely channel my inner ice rink mom when she was cold and tired and hungry.
The big thing about the seasons—and for me fall in particular—is the fleeting sensation. It’s finite. One day the leaves are turning, the next they’re in full-blown glory and then they’re gone. Bare trees, grey skies—and wind. Snow. Ice. The same thing happens in books. There’s a deadline. There are the “bookends” of the beginning to the end. It builds a sense of urgency to think “I have to finish X activity by Y date.” Characters have the same scenario. Books don’t go on forever, so it’s easy to translate the subtle tension of real life onto the written page. Whether it’s a journey or an activity or a goal—characters have obligations and timelines.
Everything a writer does is fodder for that reality. I hope my fictitious world reflects enough of the real world and the characters seem like real people—their emotions, their dreams and goals. The seasons, the sense of change and that nothing is certain. And a little bit of a colorful flair!
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