Congratulations to Pandabree13! She won a copy of Falling by Rebecca Swartz.
Good morning everyone! We have a return guest today. Rebecca Swartz dropped in to celebrate the release of her second novel, Falling, from Bella Books.
She’s giving away a copy of Falling as well, winner’s choice between ebook and paperback. If you’d like to enter the drawing, go ahead and leave a comment in the space below. Simple as that.
The Conscience of a Character
by Rebecca Swartz
When I started writing my second novel, Falling, I wrote out a specific scene that I’d had in mind for a couple of years. The scene rolled through my head on a continuous loop, like a scene cut from a movie, you know the kind, where there’s no dialogue, just characters interacting, and a song playing to set the mood. I’ve always been a sucker for those types of scenes.
In the case of the scene in my head, I saw a woman in a Jeep picking up a female hitchhiker, as the song Falling by Alison Moyet begins to play. The two are then seen pulling into a rest stop, and later goofing off in the forest, chasing each other through the trees, fooling around on a footbridge, sharing a quick, unexpected kiss with an incredible vista for a background, and finally, the two are back in the Jeep driving west toward the setting sun, as the song fades out. (For the record, my novel was not named after that song.)
I didn’t know these characters, these two women, other than what I initially visualized; I found I wanted to know them. And so I began writing their story. And as I wrote, I found that Amy Squires and Kael Harding were as layered and complex as any real person is. This, I have learned, is the art of creating characters.
As it became clear to me who these two women were, I had some early concerns that readers might not like them. Admittedly, they do seem to have some dubious morals and ethics. But the further I got into the story, and the more I learned of them, it was obvious that while the motives behind their actions might be a bit murky, what did shine out was their conscience. Neither was a psychopath running rampant around the country offing people randomly. They were not rash or murderous. They were actually thoughtful, and kind, and worried, and struggling to find their place. Simply, they were individuals who were truly trying to make the world a better place (or at least my goal was to present them as such).
My concern, of course, was that readers would not see it that way; that they could not accept the idea I was trying to get across (and indeed I know of one reader who just didn’t grasp it). In the end though, I couldn’t let that concern guide the storyline or character development. And in the end, it seems that readers are on board, that they do get it, that the characters are likable and deserving of sympathy, and that I had done them and the story both a service. The reviews the book has been receiving, and what I’ve been told personally, bear that out. Obviously, this pleases me immensely.
I can tell you it’s not always easy to write what might be considered controversial material. But I believe if the storyline is plausible, and the characters show they possess a conscience, readers will have a much easier time accepting what they may otherwise consider unacceptable. People decide to do questionable things every minute of every day; not everyone chooses the moral high ground. In writing Falling, I wanted to show that some such people are not monsters. They are, in fact, dealing with monsters…in their own way.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Canada, Rebecca now resides in a renovated millhouse in beautiful central North Carolina with her wonderful wife, a graphic artist and business owner. The two of them are owned by two Border collies and a Border/Sheltie cross, and a mostly deaf 19 year old smoke Tabby cat who decides (very loudly) when everyone should wake up in the morning. Sleeping in is not an option.