Inspiration for TJ’s Hydrophobia in The United
As many of you may know already, I am working on creating The United as screenplay. During that process, I have been reviewing The United, and thinking about what would and would not work on film.
Thus far, this is what I have:
Impressive, huh? I’m really going to make some big waves with that one.
As far as backgrounds, well, I need Cave Spring, obviously.
TJ’s house, Amanda’s mansion, TJ and LyAnn’s home.
There has been some chatter about changing the cinematic timeline from the book so Blaze and Amanda get married when Blaze is 18, not 17. LyAnn gets pregnant with HeatherAnn after TJ and LyAnn get married, rather than the night he proposes. Those changes can happen, I suppose. I did them in the book for specific reasons, but those reasons are not needed in the film. What is needed is everyone who dies in The United book needs to die in the film, in case we do a screenplay for Shades of Mortality.
Enough from me, what about from you? What are some things you would like to see in a film version of The United that may or may not be in the book?
Last week I talked about detailed inspirations for The United, well today I would like to continue in that conversation and discuss a couple inspirations about specific situations, hence the SPOILER EDITION PART 2 added to the title of the blog post.
During the time of The United, Arctyrus and Amyrith Hunter had 1 job, keep their little brother Vulktyramous from interfering and killing TJ and his friends.
The inspiration for this was simple, I wanted TJ and LyAnn to have the type of relationship with their parents that I wish I had as a teenager. I don’t mean to say anything negative about my parents, so I will stick to just the positive on this subject. Physical intimacy in any form, but especially in regards to sex, was a topic I never discussed with my parents at all, ever. I felt it was taboo and even if it was not taboo, I was too embarrassed and too naïve to know what to ask. So I came at the topic from a few different angles.
Was the way I dealt with premarital intimacy over-kill and preachy? Possibly, especially in the earliest published drafts.
This is a bit of funny story, but Amanda Adams was not in any of original drafts. Her involvement in The United came about one day when I was thinking about the story, and I daydreamed or dreamed (I forget which) that a petite redhead with blue eyes came up to me, hands on her hips, and said something to the effect that, “You cannot tell this story without me. I’m Amanda Adams, Blaze’s wife.” And she relayed to me her history and how it fit into the story.
For info about The United, The Realm of the Light Book 1, click here.
Last week I talked about inspirations for The United, well today I would like to continue in that theme, and talk about a couple inspirations about specific situations, hence the SPOILER EDITION added to the title of the blog post.
The number one comment I get back from The United, either as a comment or complaint, is that all the protagonists die. To which I always reply, “The United is about Blaze, and he didn’t die.” And one thing to keep in mind about death in the Rai Saga, is that those beloved characters come back later as Creatures of Rai, either as angels or demons, pending on whose teaching they choose to follow.
On the overall subject of death. The United was never a happily ever after comedy, in the simplest terms of literary phrase, where the protagonist finds love, gets married, and lives happily ever after. The United was ALWAYS about how you die, what you are willing to give your life for, and what you are willing to live for.
I will be completely honest with you, in the original story, the character of LyAnn has always died after giving birth to HeatherAnn, leaving TJ single father. Why does LyAnn die? That’s easy, LyAnn’s death was the only way I could get TJ motivated to do anything against Lord Yrimwaque. As shown in Blaze’s character, death is a powerful motivator. Initially taking care of HeatherAnn was TJ’s reason to live, but as I came to know him better through our many interviews, TJ told me he could never kill anyone, even Lord Yrimwaque. (Yes, I interview my literary characters often.)
TJ died because he was put in a kill or be killed situation, and he refused to kill Lord Yrimwaque. In the course of our many conversations, he confided in me that he believed at that time he valued the life of others more than his own death. And Lord Yrimwaque did not share that belief.
Byron’s death. *sigh. From the start of the ‘Dark Fang’ short stories, TJ always had two friends. In one version they were cousins, in another twins, then finally I came to understand they were brothers, Blaze and Byron. In The United, Byron died saving TJ’s and Blaze’s lives before any of them really understood what they were up against. Byron’s death fueled TJ’s drive to live life to its fullest, and Blaze’s need for revenge. Once again, using death as a motivating factor for character development.
Amanda’s death. I cry every time I read or edit Amanda’s death. Her life was meant to continue. She was meant to be HeatherAnn’s adopted mother, but Lord Yrimwaque had different plans.
Creatures of Rai are angels and demons. After death, our soul wakes up on the Hill of Entrance in the Realm of Rai as a Creature of Rai. Therefore death is not the end of existence, but merely the gateway to the next stage of existence.
As Creatures of Rai, the Creator has great things in store for TJ, LyAnn, Amanda, Byron, and Blaze. To become the person they need to be to fulfill their future roles, they needed to fight against Lord Yrimwaque alone in mortality. Simple as that. The Creator, not the Light, willed it because He has great things in store for them, great things that they cannot accomplish without those mortal experiences.
For more info on The United, The Realm of the Light Book 1, click here.
Today I want to share what inspired various aspects of The United, The Realm of the Light Book 1.
As I have shared many times before, the plot for Book the First of The United was inspired by a 5th Grade Halloween-themed Creative Writing Assignment. Funnily enough, after I turned it in, my asked me if I wanted to publish it in a magazine of short stories written by 5th graders, and I told her “No, I don’t want to be a published author.”
The plot for Book the Second of The United came along by means of a Creative Writing assignment in the 7th Grade. And Book the Last in 10th Grade.
Other aspects of the story.
In Book the Second, I made the antagonist of the story a shifter. So, when I went to make The United into a novel, I did a lot of research on Native American shifters, and learned about the Skinwalkers and Manidones. So, in the early novel versions of The United, called “The Legend of Jacob Hunter,” Jacob Hunter was a Manidone.
Denizens. Well, the concept of a denizen came to me in a dream. I dreamed about a clan of immortals who I met just before boarding The Titanic (yes, I am actually referring to the dream that originally inspired ‘The Viscount of Sternboard’). The immortals had the physical prowess and immortality of vampires, but they were not undead. So I got thinking about that and I realized that denizens were not immortals, per se, they were the offspring of an immortal and a mortal that could only be killed by means of decapitation. Otherwise they would heal from any infirmity and never die.
And finally, those who have read The United, are well aware that is full of teen-drama. Such as TJ and LyAnn’s relationship (dating-engagement-premarital conception of HeatherAnn-marriage). Blaze and Amanda’s relationship, dating, breaking up, dating again, and marriage. Amanda and Angie’s friendship. Susan’s reaction to her fiancé’s death. TJ’s depression, and so on. All of those events were inspired by various dreams and day-dreams.
For more about The United, check out this page.
After a conversation with my PA, I realized I have not talked about “Viscount of Sternboard” on my blog before.
Today, I wanted to talk about what inspired that particular story.
If you have read The Viscount of Sternboard, you are already aware that it takes place in Edwardian England on The Realm of the Light, my fantasy world where The United & Denizens Among Us take place.
My first inspiration for Viscount was the setting. For as long as I can recall, I have been interested in the sinking of the Titanic. The dream that originally inspired “Viscount” was about a noble man who takes a pleasure cruise on the fatal voyage with his girlfriend, and both of them die when the ship hit the iceberg. From there, the story grew. The nobleman was eventually named Viscount Cyrus McCreed, and “The Viscount of Sternboard” is coincidentally about his back story; the events that led Cyrus and his wife to board the vessel.
The second inspiration is the side-romance Cyrus has Amyrith Hunter. To fully understand the inspiration, let me remind you that Eponine Thenardier from ‘Les Miserables’ by Victor Hugo is my absolute favorite literary character. Amyrith Hunter’s original personality was loosely based on Eponine’s personality. Amyrith and Cyrus’s relationship was strongly influenced by Eponine’s relationship with Marius Pontmercy.
The Smiths of No Relation? I don’t really remember what inspired that organization. I needed a villain that was stronger and larger than a single individual Cyrus could kill. So, I created a powerful American-based organization that heavily influenced international policies for their own good. Right now I am thinking of writing a side-story set in the Realm of the Light that delves more fully into the workings and members of the Smiths of No Relation. So stay tuned for that.
If you are interested in learning more about The Viscount of Sternboard, and would like your own free copy, join my Newsletter, or it can be purchased online
On my Burning Embers blog we are discussing publishing this month. That led me to think about the question above, why I write.
Well, I have been pondering this question a lot as I have been considering how to rebrand my blog, and my other social media presences. And here is what I have thus far.
I write because I have stories in my head that I will not leave my thoughts until I have committed them to paper. Some of the stories, such as “The Viscount of Sternboard” or “Excal’Byr” or “I Am Master Serv” were fun for me to write and edit. My current WIP, “The Cross of Roses,” a Fantasy Thriller novel about a serial killing Priest who uses magic to protect himself, is an exciting challenge to write. Other stories, such as “Undiscovered Title” I did not enjoy writing for one reason or another.
My mind is full of hundreds of other stories, one in particular is about a post-apocalyptic marine archaeologist, who tries to better understand our present culture without the use of written texts (because everything we do is increasingly digital) from the artifacts we leave behind. It is a fun idea that I look forward to working on one day, but right now I have other, more pressing stories and projects to work on.
So, in a nut-shell, that is why I write. That’s it. Simple as that. I have stories in my head that will not leave my head until I write them out. Most of the stories are inspired by my dreams, so long before I ever begin typing, I have an idea about some details of the story, characters, and landscape.
Which leads me to ask my fellow author friends, why do you write?