Seriously, one of my favorite things to do is participating in Twitter Chats. I love meeting new people, hearing about new books, and all the bookish fun. It’s why I started #QWK! At the end of every #QWK chat, I ask people a reverse question (inviting people to ask me whatever they want) that turns into a fun mini-interview. My favorite questions I pull out and answer in-depth.
Here are my favorite questions from October 23, 2015, #QWK!
@EliseKova which element of your book do you have power over?
— Ava-mpire (@Bookishwithtea) October 24, 2015
We just finished up the Air Awakens Affinities Tour where bloggers said what Affinities they would want and I gave extra histories and background on each of the Affinities: Windwalkers, Waterrunners, Firebearers, and Groundbreakers.
But, this question made me realize I never said what I’d want MY affinity to be! I’m a Libra with a Sagittarius ascending, so air and fire signs. However, if I had a choice, I’d want to be a Waterrunner. I grew up on the coast of Florida and spent a lot of my childhood in the water. I still enjoy diving, surfing, and other water-sports. It’d be so cool if I could dive without needing oxygen or summon the perfect waves to surf on. I’d also love the ability to conjure illusions for all sorts of reasons.
Oh gosh… I guess this boils down to good old fashioned world-building?
Air Awakens started with Aldrik and Vhalla, just Aldrik and Vhalla. From Zedd’s song Clarity I envisioned a woman in the center of a magical windstorm screaming and crying in agony. I saw a tortured man doing whatever he could to get to her, no matter what it cost him. Their love was their clarity and their tragedy.
Then I asked, “Who are these people?” Which led to, “How did they get here? Why is it like that? Who were their parents? What did they do?” It spiraled into two years of questions and answers that spanned across five books and that still wasn’t enough to give my readers it all.
It alternates… But I have a lot of fun writing Head Major Jax (though you haven’t met him yet). He’s quite the bag of cats. Aldrik can be a lot of fun to write because he’s so frustrating, but he’s a bit intense and getting into his head can be exhausting. Fritz is another happy bubble. Really, they all have their pros and cons and it can depend on my mood with how easy it is for me to match my mind with theirs.
Editing is quite hard. I think the “real work” of being an author is in the editing. I’ve cut a lot of words from each of my manuscripts trying to tighten up and improve the story. It’s been like 90,000 between Air Awakens and Fire Falling.
The other hard part is just putting your work out there. Not everyone is going to like it and you have to be able to take criticism on the chin and be okay. To not take it personally even though you’ve spent years of your life dedicated to a story and it can feel like your baby.
— shara camille (@CamileCarstairs) October 24, 2015
Okay, I thought this question was too much fun not to answer in depth!
I imagine Aldrik to be very tactical in his approach to cooking. Like he’d read a bunch and has eaten many fine dinners and admired the food. So I think he’d have a lot of books he’d consult, he’d watch the chefs, and would be meticulous in his preparation. Plus, being a Firebearer he could make sure things are cooked at exact temperatures.
But, Baldair has had a lot more practice actually cooking. Aldrik typically has his food brought to him by someone because he’s usually busy doing something else and Baldair has spent a lot of time out hunting, exploring, or training. All of that means Baldair had to cook a lot of his own meals and has a lot of practical experience not messing it up.
So, I think Aldrik would be the “better cook” if it was a competition he could prepare for. But, put on the spot, Baldair would win.
I tried to change Vhalla’s Affinity before the book was published, actually.
I’ve never seen Avatar the Last Airbender (which is a shock and is on my “list of shame” with many of my geeky friends). But I’ve actually never watched it. Now, of course I KNOW about it. Like, I know the general premise… but I’ve never seen it. So, when I had a friend point out the similarities I facepalmed.
Vhalla became a Windwalker because my favorite video game franchise is the Legend of Zelda and one of the games is titled “Wind Waker.” I thought it sounded really cool and needed a Zelda homage in my novels. So I mushed it together, added an L, and “Wind Waker” became “Windwalker.” Now, there’s no elemental magic in the game, so the similarities end there. But Vhalla having wind powers specifically wasn’t a big deal when I was first was planning and writing the books. The Affinity of the Self was more important and I could work that into any element.
So, I tried to change Vhalla’s affinity. Got a couple chapters in, and flipped a table.
I figured, ultimately, I know what things I drew inspiration and which I didn’t. I choose elemental magic specifically because it wasn’t original. Magic being drawn from Earth, Fire, Water, and Air has been around in storytelling for an impossibly long time. Which means most people are familiar with it and I wanted something that was easy for people to pick up and read even if a reader has never read a high-fantasy novel before. Despite Vhalla being the first “air element person” in a long period of time, and there’s someone who controls fire called “the Fire Lord” (which I kept because he’s a Lord… and controls fire), there aren’t many similarities between Air Awakens and Airbender (Again, I’ve not seen it, but this is what I’ve been told).
And, hey, I’m also told that Airbender is a friggin AMAZING show. So if Air Awakens gets compared to it I decided to take it as a compliment 😀
If you can’t tell… #QWK was SO much fun and I really hope everyone and more can make it out for the next one! In the short term, the official Air Awakens Pre-Fire Falling Read-Along is starting soon! More giveaways, deleted scenes, and lots of discussions about to be happening there: