What’s the hardest thing about character development?
(Guest Post by J.K. Hogan)
Character development is a slippery slope, and I think every author approaches it differently. Probably the hardest part for me is making sure I do my characters justice for the reader. Creating them is easy, I’ve been doing that since I was a child. They just pop into my head and live out their lives—sometimes they talk to me, sometimes I to them. I think writing is the only profession in which that last statement doesn’t make me schizophrenic. But it’s true! With my characters, I know every nuance of their personality before I ever strike a key.
Therein lies the hard part—striking the keys and making sure the reader is going to see what I see when they read about my characters. I’ve got to get Jeremiah to come across as a goofy yet sexy, somewhat nerdy hero—an adventurer with a hidden need for love and family. I need to show the reader that Isla is fiercely independent and afraid to trust anyone, yet deep down she’s so lonely.
Marduk, while a secondary character, was a particularly hard nut to crack. His personality is often a contradiction of itself—as he goes from ancient magical being to just a kid who likes movies, and back again. It’s hard to create that kind of duality and have it read as intentional.
All of the tiny nuances that give a character his essence can be difficult to communicate, especially trying to do so without your own thoughts and feelings coming through. I feel that if I can get all of my characters’ traits across in a way that makes the reader identify with and root for them, then I’ve done my job as a writer. They’re like family to me and I want my readers to love them as much as I do. You can read more about Jeremiah, Isla, Marduk, and all of their friends in Fire on the Island.
Fire of the Island by J.K. Hogan
Publisher: Sapphire Publishing
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Overall: I’m so thankful that this paranormal romance has the characters actively doing stuff. Isla is a tour/mountain climber guide in Scotland and for the majority of the book she actually is involved in her job. You can tell that she knows what she’s doing with the occasional climber jargon, but it isn’t so over the top than people like me (who have never climbed) can’t follow exactly what is going on. That said, not only is Isla actively working/rescuing people, there is plenty of magic for those who love a novel jammed packed with paranormal activity. And for those of you who love romances, there is plenty of that mushy stuff too. This is an action-packed paranormal romance book with a very lovable cast.
Characters: The book is based in Scotland and I’m happy to say that although accents from both Scotland and New Orleans appear from several of the characters, it is very minor. It’s like seasoning to the rich dialogue. Marduk, our resident wolf-man is pretty awesome. I liked that I could tell when he was in a scene, even if he didn’t say anything the entire scene…and it still felt like he had a purpose there. I did have a couple of complaints with the cast, however. Isla and Jeremiah suffer from instant-love syndrome. Besides that it felt like the emotions of the characters weren’t raw enough. They had drama and fights between the characters but they’re quickly resolved. I wish some of the drama was more drawn out to help me connect with the characters. I did like Isla’s personality. She was self-sufficient and had a great sense of humor – not one of those damsel in distressed. She and Jeremiah (despite the instant-love) felt like they were symmetric and had a healthy, normal relationship:
“What the hell? How is this warm? I’ve never heard of any hot springs on Arran.”
Again, the tinkling laughter sent shivers down his spine. ”There aren’t any,” she said with a mischievous smile. ”What’s the point of being a witch if you can’t make me a little magic every now and then.”
Plot: Forgive me if it’s sacrilegious to say, but I love the paranormal more than the romance in this genre. And the action filled plot in Fire on the Island didn’t disappoint. I give the author extra points for having characters die…and staying dead. Not only do people die but our heroine is blamed for the deaths because people think she is a witch – well, she is. I’m not sure if the demon zerg was suppose to be scary – felt more humorous to me because of how easy those things were to kill. Although there is quite a bit of background information, there are no large blocks of information. It’s slipped in wonderfully. The scene between Isla and a certain family member was very well presented. I was ready to strangle that woman.
Ending: Although Isla discovers her powers, I like that that isn’t the IWIN button against Alastore. She is still vunerable and only with the help of both Jeremiah and Marduk can she win. At the very end, there is a scene between two minor characters that feels cheesy/mushy and all that stuff that romance fans probably drool over. The actual climax scene doesn’t disappoint - intense and creative. This isn’t the most awesome book I’ve read this summer, but I definitely became a fan of the author after reading this gem.
“She who wields the mark is the barrier between man and monster. She is the daughter of gods, the mother of man, protector of all. Vigilati Usque Ad Mortem”
All Isla Macallen wanted was a simple existence on her little Scottish island, free from hermother’s insanity and the prying eyes of neighbors. What she got was embroiled in a war for thesouls of mankind. A war of good versus evil, of witches versus demons, and Isla learns that she alone can end it.
Dr. Jeremiah Rousseau was a self-proclaimed nomad, traveling the world researching paranormal phenomena. He doesn’t expect his research to lead him to Scotland, and to the woman who will turn his world upside down.
Together with a facetious shapeshifting animal spirit guide, Jeremiah and Isla discover that she is part of an ancient bloodline bred to protect the gateways between the human world and the spiritworld, to keep evil demons from destroying them. They must find the key to defeating Alastore,the demon king, and closing the gate before Samhain, when the veil between the worlds is lifted. Alastore does everything in his power to eliminate them but, unbeknownst to all of them, Isla isthe only one with the ability to stop him for good.
This book is a must read for anyone who likes Paranormal Romances.
About the Author:
J.K. Hogan has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, beginning with writing cast lists and storylines for her toys growing up. When she finally decided to put pen to paper, magic happened. She is greatly inspired by all kinds of music and often creates a “soundtrack” for her stories as she writes them.
J.K. resides in North Carolina, where she was born and raised. A true southern girl at heart, she lives on a farm with her husband and their three horses, one miniature donkey, one cat, and two champion agility dogs.
In addition to writing, she enjoys training and competing in dog sports, spending time with her large southern family, camping, boating and, of course, reading! Please feel free to visit J.K.’s contact page—she’d love to hear from you!
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*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*