The get-together

Dear reader,

Imagine an alternate universe, reserved for characters in books. And in that universe there’s a bar where they can all come together. What would it be like? In this blog post I’ll try to give you a glimpse of such a first occasion…

Let me transport you to this alternate universe where you become a character in a book and the characters from  books are having a drink and a chat…

The place was rather empty. Behind the bar were Billow and Willow, who usually ran the tavern in Sunrise. “They’re late,” said Billow. His wife reminded him that some of the guests had to come from far away, and that the witch and her wizard had their own time table.

The door opened. “Ehm.” A reptilian-looking woman peeked inside. “Is this the backroom bar?”

“Reny, it has to be,” said Sabas who pushed the door open wide.

“Welcome,” Willow said as she came from behind the bar. “Find a seat. Can I get you anything to drink? I’m Willow. There’s Billow. You’re the first ones here so your round’s free.”

“Willow…” Billow didn’t like his wife’s generosity too much. It was bad for business.

Slowly the bar filled up. Eric Paul Carmichael and his wife Sandy came in, relieved that they were out of their spaceship for a while, followed by Clara in her red dress and Ron, the man who’d initially painted her. “It looks nice here,” said Clara. Ron complained about the smell, to Willow’s dismay. She assumed  it was the stew she was preparing but Clara told her not to worry. “If he doesn’t smell paint he’s not happy.”

Then a cat came in, followed by a young woman carrying a bunch of paper. “Frankie, get off that table! I’m so sorry about that,” the woman apologised.

“Don’t worry about that,” said Willow. “We’re used to cats.”

Slowly the bar filled up with people and creatures who found places to sit, things to drink and others to talk to. The main topic was of course all the situations that their mental father put them in.

Ron: “Can you imagine how odd it was to end up inside a painting?”

“What? That’s weird.” Sabas scratched his head. “I got the better end of it.” He reached for Reny’s hand and had to explain how he’d gotten the strange skin. By the time he was almost done, Hilda and William came in. Obsi and Grim were with them, who joined Frankie on the table. It was as if the three had arranged to meet there.

“Crappedy crap. Crowded in here. Where’s my coffee?”

Billow waved at the witch. “Coming right up and you’ll love this. The real deal.” The wicked witch watched him make a serious mug of coffee and asked William if they could have such a machine at  home.

The wizard said they could but… “We don’t have electricity to run it on so it would be just a waste of space.”

Hilda agreed. “The kitchen probably wouldn’t take well to it either. It’s too different from what we have.” She took the cup from Billow’s hand and smelled. “Hmmm. It’s different.” The witch frowned. “I think I’ve gotten used to what you make, wizard. Billow, better give me some tea. I have my personal coffee wizard with me.”

All characters mingled and chatted, exchanging ideas and problems they’d run into. Everyone had wonderful advice for the others, but the problem of course was that in the world of Sabas and Reny, magic didn’t exist, while for Ron and Clara the concept of huge Walkers and fights with Lergesh were impossible to grasp. Despite all their differences they got along fine, and the time to go home to their own homes and stories was there before they had scratched the surface of their accounts.

As Willow and Billow stood near the door, everyone said goodbye and promised they’d do their best to come back to the backroom bar another time.

R. Rayko, Rewrites and Romance #AtoZChallenge

azbloggingR. Rayko, Rewrites and Romance

Dear reader,

Have you met Rayko? If you didn’t you haven’t read Bactine. But that’s no problem.

Rayko is the daughter of new boss of Daniel Zacharias, whom I’ve introduced earlier in this blogging challenge. Writing her character was a lot of fun as I planned and saw her change from someone who despises Daniel to someone who secretly starts helping him. Of course he doesn’t know that.

Coming up with the verbal battles between the two, and the thoughts that surround them provided me with a lot of entertainment and rewrites. There’s the second R in this post. As their relationship developed, I saw options to improve earlier parts so that would make the whole story even better.

Bactine was also the first story where I intentionally added a touch of romance. Only after reading a review where the romance part in the story was actually mentioned I felt that perhaps I can do this more often, another R that I can add to this letter in the A-Z blogging challenge!

Something about Snow-White

Dear reader,

snowwhiteDon’t worry, I won’t go into an in-depth analysis of Snow-White’s psyche. However, there’s something interesting about her and the dwarves, as well as for instance Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and more of her contemporaries that I have looked up.

At some point I incidentally came across a discussion whether or not it was legal to use Snow-White and other fairy-tale characters in a story. This because Walt Disney seems to own all of them and a host more. The interesting part in this discussion was that Snow-White herself is long out of copyright. She was brought to life by the Grimm brothers. Another thing would be the names of the dwarves. Those are invented by people from Disney studios, so using those would be a different thing.

 

The same goes for Hansl and Gretel, Cinderella and all those characters we know from the Grimm and Anderson stories (among others) so well. This may not seem a big deal, but for writers something like this can be very important. There is not much fun in being sued by a large company like Walt Disney or the likes for violating their copyrights. I am glad I discovered this. I may have to take another look at “Snow White revisited”, to be safe and certain.

The life of a character – Hilda’s tenth book

Dear reader,

I have grown fond of many characters I have written over time, and I am convinced there are many people who have similar feelings about the characters they have read in one or more books. It’s funny how a personage can come into a story, first as a simple ‘once off’ person, and then suddenly she or he returns and becomes an integral part of the story.

This happened with William the book salesman in the first Hilda story who makes a remarkable re-entry, one I had not even anticipated until it happened. It also happened with Baba Yaga who suddenly appeared in Hilda’s second book “Snow White Revisited”. I grew fond of Babs, as many people did (I know, they told me).

Not much is known about the character of Baba Yaga so far in regards to her background, her life before she became the witch she is ‘now’. Let me tell you then that this is about to change. Not immediately – I am not going to delve into Baba Yaga’s past right here – but in the tenth book of Hilda the Wicked Witch there will be a few revelations about the ugly old witch that hopefully make you smile the way they made me smile.

Book 10 of the Hilda the Wicked Witch series is planned to be released unto the unsuspecting public at the end of December or the beginning of January 2013.

Tales of writing

Dear reader,

Today I thought I’d share a few things with you that are off the regular posts that you can find here. A bit more personal, although nothing too revealing (I hope). It’s about characters. And yes, I refer to the characters that appear in some of my books. More precisely the Hilda the Wicked Witch books.

In each book there are new adventures, so there are new characters. Many of them come from the depths of my mind, a place where many a thought dreads to go. At times however, I base a character on someone alive. Someone I know, more or less in person. Hilda herself, for instance, found her role model in a very dear person who stole my heart, many years ago. She did so again a while ago and now she refuses to give it back (does that sound like Hilda or not?).

If you have read Hilda – Lycadea, you may remember Maurizio Blunt. Maurizio is based on a Italian man I worked with, long ago, whose first name was indeed Maurizio. (Due to privacy reasons I am not going to divulge his last name.) Real life Maurizio was a very kind man, large of figure and boisterous of voice, and he was the perfect model for Moro Blunt.

Now we step to Hilda – Back to school. Many names and characters there are based on living people. Lesley the Looney, Carolyne and her pegasus, they are people I know and care about. Even Hepatia Strunk, the WIC, is based on someone I know, although I did change her name very much. If you have read the book and recall Irmgard and Cornelia, well, these are people I know as well. Good people with slightly different names.

The interesting and fun thing with modern means of communication is that it is very easy to have contact with fans of my writing, or should I say “fans of Hilda and William”? And some of these fans have asked if they can appear in a story as well. As I don’t know many of these people in person, it is difficult to add them into a good position, but so far I have managed it. For the new Hilda book, number 10, a new group of people will appear, most of the magical ones. I hope to fulfil many appearance-requests here; two positions are already filled up. I hope that “Ranee” and “Crystolyne” will recognise their names.

A nice little twist with names happened in the book which still has the working title Bristol Dream. I was talking to two ladies at the reception of the office where I work, and they both mentioned that they wanted to appear in one of my books. Again the problem that I don’t really know them, but in Bristol Dream I had a vacancy coming up, so I combined their names into one person. One of them already knows what I concocted and she loves it. The other lady has fallen ill, so I shall have to wait before I can bring the shock to her.

Finally, I shall address a question that has been asked several times: On whom is William, Hilda’s partner, based?  My honest answer: I don’t have a clue.

What a character

A few days ago I was treated to a surprise, dear reader. Not a surprise in a pretty wrapping, but one relayed from someone who is reading everything I have written so far.

The surprise was this revelation: “At times I can’t keep all these characters in the different stories apart.”

I admit, there are many characters passing by through all the stories, so I am glad I have notes on all of them. My apologies if more people suffer from character-confusion.