Jena Baxter’s Tolor interviews Raonal

 

I met Jena through a blog tour T.J.’s Virtual Blog Tours did when she released Veiled Memories.  Since then, she’s been a wonderful mentor, and has helped me learn some about the marketing side of writing.  When she offered to host a series of character interviews, I was delighted.  This is the last from that group.

Raonal is a pukah, so when you head over to see what he has to say, please pause and read the disclaimer that precedes the interview.  It’s there for a reason.

 

Character Madness – Interview 5 of 5: Raonal Tiornestake

This Week Tolor Interviews

Raonal Tiornestake

The Final Interview

from

The Followers of Torments, series,

by K Caffee

Author’s note:  Before you start reading Raonal’s interview, please be aware that he is what is called a pukah.  They are a faerie cross between the fae and any other creature.  Unlike most fae, the pukah have one flaw that always shows up after their faerie side awakens – they cannot tell the unvarnished truth.  They make great listeners, but if they tell you anything be advised to take it with a shaker of salt.  There may be truth buried in what they are telling you, but figuring out what it is can be more of a challenge than you expected.  Raonal’s way is about what you can expect – neither worse nor better than average.

Tell us about your story

My story?  You want to know about my story?  Well, you had better make sure you are comfortable.  It won’t take but a moment to tell, but a life time to listen to.  You see, I was born before anyone walked the face of the world to a farmer’s family that raised rye, wheat, oats, barley, apples, cherries, plums, and pineapples.
We were poor in wealth, but rich in love.  Isn’t that what everyone likes to hear?
(Raonal, he’s asking about your story with Nameless!)
Oh, THAT story.  It’s one of sorrow, pain, joy, and love.  Alpha is a strange creature, though not too far from what I am, but different enough to be the same.  It’s the others around him that really make up the tale, though.  He has no bearing on what happens, which made it really boring.
(Raonal!)
What?  It’s the truth.  He brought me into his pack as an equal, then left and left me in charge.
(I’d ask Akantheldama about that, before making any grand statements to that point.)
‘Dama?  She knows I’m in charge.

Tolor Interviews Celcanepo

 

Celecanepo (know also to the cast in The Followers of Torments saga as Celeca) is one of the more unique characters in the work.  After Tolor visited with her, Jena contacted me, and made a couple of very good observations.

There are a couple of points that appear to be inconsistencies, yet when you think about her condition, they make perfect sense.  As I will be addressing these points when I get to her novella, here are a couple of teasers to think about before you head over to read the interview:

She can heal others, yet her own wings remain a painful, shattered disaster.

  • That was done by her tribunal of judges. They left her the ability to heal others, but blocked her from self-healing. It’s more like a curse, than actual physical damage. Over time, they should have healed themselves, like any other bone.
  • Something I realized after I’d started writing her character. And, when she “proves” to her tribunal that she’s worth of being allowed to return home, she will find that her wings heal quickly. (Again, like real people – when you can accept yourself, many of your self-inflicted wounds can finally heal.)

There is quite a bit of humanity in general reflected in her personality as a character, and I’m hoping that when her story comes out, you will enjoy reading it as much as I’m looking forward to writing it.

Character Madness Monday-Interview 4 of 5 The Followers of Torments

This Week Tolor Interviews

Celecanepo Raghadeyah

Interview 4 of 5

from

The Followers of Torments, series,

by K Caffee

Tell us about your story

It is a long and sad tale.  However, I did overhear you speaking with Raonal.  You wish this to focus on the part that involves the Master.
For that, I cannot say much.  I met him after I had just been freed for misconduct by my previous master, and he was in such pain.  It called to me like none have before.  Though I am an outcast Guardian, I also remember when I was still in the tribunal’s good graces.  The tale being told, I hope is one of redemption.  One that perhaps will enable all those with the Master to be redeemed into the good graces of our respective people.

Jena Baxter’s Tolor Interviews Beslynx

 

Tolor managed to actually catch the ‘cat, and convince her  to chat with him.  I’m not exactly sure how, as I think she’s working on a few ugly plans for me.  However, I still like the independent lady.  While you’re perusing her interview, I think I’m going to go find the biggest steak I can and maybe some catnip tea.  See if I can sweeten her temper just a little in my direction.  She still doesn’t believe me that she’s got an important part to play in the Torments series.

 

Character Madness Monday – Interview 3 of 5 The Followers of Torments

This Week Tolor Interviews

Beslynx Spiritwalker

Interview 3 of 5

from

The Followers of Torments, series,

by K Caffee

Tell us about your story

Which one?  If it’s about me, you’ll have to wait.  I’ve seen you talking to the others, so I presume you wish to speak about that filth who tries to pretend to be an alpha?

Jena Baxter’s Tolor interviewed Akantheldama

 

It seems that while I’ve been working on stories, blog posts, and other catch up, the cast from the Followers of Torments got bored and went out for a field day.  Last week I was notified that Nameless had been interviewed, and this week I find out Akantheldama (the vampire) has also been interviewed.

Character Madness Monday – Interview 2 of 5 The Followers of Torments

This Week Tolor Interviews

Akantheldama

Interview 2 of 5

from

The Followers of Torments, series,

by K Caffee

Tell us about your story

There are two stories with me.  The first is how I came to be, though I have not yet attempted to chronicle that one.  The second is much later, after I had learned the rudiments of what I needed to know.  I convinced my progenitor to “lose” me in a wager to the fighter I saw so long ago in the Sands.  There is something about him… something I can not yet grasp… that is important to myself, and my House.  Only in service to him will I be able to come to understand what that something is, or to bring my rogue gifts under control.

Jena Baxter’s Tolor Interviews Nameless

 

I met Jena Baxter through her Veiled Memories tour, and we’ve since become good friends.  She’s helped me with questions, and worked on explaining some of the ropes about getting word out with my books.  The interview I’m linking you to is by Tolor, Jena’s Beran in Reflections.  How the pair of them managed to get Nameless to sit down and answer their questions is beyond me.  It’s still a fun, quick read though.

Character Madness Monday is Back

This Week Tolor Interviews Nameless

from The Followers of Torments, series,

by K. Caffee

It’s been a while since the last character interview. This will be the first of five character interviews from this series. Be prepared for a treat. Nameless speech pattern is strange to follow at first, but he has become a much loved character by many, and it becomes easier to follow after settling into the differences.

Tell us about your story

What “story” is?  Life is.  Live, die, born, become.  Is story not to anyone.

Interview with Nameless

Part I: Let’s Start at the Beginning…

  1. What’s your name?
    I have one not.
  2. Give me your full name…
    How can I?  I given one not.
  3. Do you have a nickname? If yes, what is it and how did you come to have it?
    Called I Nameless, The Nameless One, Shallius, Avessnymous by no one, everyone, anyone. Ask you why know want?
  4. What species are you? (Human, werewolf, etc? Or are you an alien?) I know you have some special gifts that aren’t entirely human.
    Some say Pukah, some say Powrie, Pukah say pukah. Hers am I, enough known is.

(Editor’s note:  He is a pukah, so don’t expect to understand when he actually says the truth.  He’s not your usual pukah, but the race cannot say an unembellished truth to save their lives.  It would be like an angel cursing God, or a demon blessing the Devil.)

Gifts?  What are Gifts?  Healers love me, fighters like me, Light surrounds me always or never.  She has cursed me, so never Her gifts do I bear – the webs that I call, the language of Her smallest children, of her Ascended Children, of Her to understand.  Where I look, others my bidding do.  Others can see the mists, I cannot, though told should I able be.  When speaking, I truth tell with eternity to pass into forgetting you.

5. Where/when were you born?
Remember it clearly.  It was darkness that glowed pretty colors.  It was beautiful.  And silent, always it was silent.
Remember not.  Fight, fight, always fight.  Fight learn, fight provide, entertain live.  Live eat did.  Surrounded always was.

(Editor’s note:  He was born in the slave cells of the Sumja Sija Arena.)

  1. Okay, now…do you believe that you are good or bad or are those terms not definable?
    What is good?  What is bad?  Fight good do.  I eat.  I live.

Part II: Tell Us More About Yourself…

  1. How would you describe your personality?
    What She asks, demands, I am.  Nothing more.
  2. Would you say you’re someone who can handle pressure? What’s a good example?
    Finals lived I. Eat I do, survive I do. More wish hear?  Fight, fight, fight, fight, always fight.  Live I do, more?
  3. Do you get along with others?
    I train Silk, I live Silk.
    (No, he does not play well with others.  He tends to break his toys.)
  4. Who are your main enemies, people you would like to see stopped from whatever they are doing?
    Those who profit wrongly from the matches.  When Clans grow big, matches use grow small.
  5. How about allies?
    What are allies?
  6. What is one things that you would like to see happen in the immediate future?
    To be Called.  I am Hers, serve as Her Child.

Part III: Hypothetically…

  1. Suppose that you could become any creature you know of. What would you pick, and why?
    I am enough.  Her Children choice can be, will be, am.
  2. One of your enemies in question 13 just complimented you. What is your response?
    Thank you. Wager against will?
  3. One of your friends in Question 14 just insulted you. What is your response?
    What friend is?
  4. If you could change anything about yourself…
    Nothing.  Everything.  All of me is perfectly wrong.
  5. Tell me about where you grew up…
    Painfully dark.  Painfully loud.  Safe for all who encounter.  Polite to each, rude to none.  That I do not remember.

Part IV: Now We Get Personal

  1. What’re your parents like?
    I have no parents.
    (Editor’s note:  He was orphaned at birth, and wet nursed on an old ewe.  His father is someone special, but you don’t discover who until the end of the series.)
  2. Do you have any siblings?
    What are those?
    (Editor’s note:  He does not.  Even his half-siblings from his mother were dead before he was born.)
  3. What’s your occupation? Do you like it?
    Owner now, then slave.
    (Editor’s note:  He is a Runner now.  He won his freedom, which is the difference between an Owner and Runner.)
  4. Are you seeing/dating anyone?
    Mean you what?
  5. If not, did you ever think about getting engaged or married and to whom?
    What that is mean you?
  6. Tell us your biggest secret.
    Secret? What mean you?
    (Editor’s note:  He is a pukah – a faerie half breed – with all the gifts and abilities that includes.  Unlike most, however, he did not develop fully when he awoke, and so does not have a complete animal shift.  However, even in his hominid form, he keeps most of his shift’s attributes.  If he would have developed properly, he would have had the unusual shift of an oversized spider, the attributes he has relate to this – fully developed poisoned fangs, the ability to spin webs, and unusually acute senses (more than his environment can account for), and a body that can withstand an extremely high amount of damage.)
  7. Your worst fear? You don’t have to answer this one if you don’t want to.
    To be Called by Her. I live for Her, I die for Her. Alone not am I from Her.
  8. Tell us one thing you’re the most proud of and why?
    I live.  I eat, I live.  Many days living was a trial.

Behind the scenes: Language development

Amber Eyes

Language Development

This post may be a tad longer than the others, because it is so central to the way Nameless talks (or doesn’t, depending on who’s reading the books.)

There are a host of articles on the web discussing the fact that a language delay is always present with a mental disability.  Mind you, these articles are focused on children who have some socialization with others – their parents, siblings, day care, school, or play mates.  Only a few articles approach child development from the perspective of the child having no socialization, which is the cause of the language delay.  When this happens, it is not the mental development that hinders language development.  It is language development that hinders mental development.

Again, go back and read The girl in the window carefully.  Though Dani was 7 when she was adopted, due to the neglect that led to the lack of language development, she had a rather severe mental disability.  One that she still hadn’t over come by the time she was 10.

Even the other verifiable case of a feral child found in the US, another girl named Genie, was unable to overcome her disabilities despite extensive work by psychologists and other therapists working in conjunction with her foster parents.  The rare cases when a child learns to speak after being “rescued” often involve children who were between two and three years of age when their neglect began, or they were lost to the local wilderness.

That leads to the next look at the crafting of Nameless.

There is still an ongoing debate about when the critical window of development closes for language.  Even though someone who already speaks can learn it at an older age (such as middle school, high school, or college) this is because the foundations for at least one language have become embedded in the person’s psyche from birth.  For Nameless, I took the outer most edge of the disputed range, having him introduced to language around age eight.  Needless to say, this led to a host of problems for he and I to overcome.

The first, and most obvious, was how he was introduced to languages in the first place.  Most feral children without language, do manage to grunt, or make some type of sound they’ve heard in their environment before.  Since I knew I’d need a character who could speak, I’d already laid the foundations for verbalization before I knew about the issues that come with a feral child.  (Lucky me?)  I was able to build up from there, though keeping it plausible was not an easy task.

A more subtle concern was figuring out how to maintain the intelligence necessary for the child to survive once he matured into adulthood.  Almost everything I read indicated that feral children often behaved similarly to autistic children, which would not prove to be a good thing within the story’s premise.  That’s where I bent the rules a little bit.  Though Nameless doesn’t do everything perfect (the obstinacies that come with a high intelligence, or mental disabilities was one of the things I held on to), he does learn very quickly.

I’d already had him problem solving with age-appropriate solutions, so making the change from an internal drive to solve a problem to an external was not that large of a leap.  However, there still remained the issue of language fluency to go with this.  Just because Nameless learned to speak did not mean he grasped the concept of grammar and syntax.

To be honest, if I had stayed any closer to the truth, Nameless probably would never have been able to speak a complex language.  Something reliant on point and grunt should have been the maximum he could learn to speak, though he would understand others.  I chortle whenever I hear people complain about the way he mangles the English language.  I think readers would rather have a mangled, cryptic dialogue than one along the lines of “he pointed at the object he wanted and grunted excitedly.”

I may be a good storyteller, but I doubt my skills are up to being able to keep that type of dialogue interesting very long.  Not to mention, I’d wind up having a murderous time with the big, bright, shiny repetition button.

That’s it for this week, so I’m going to turn it over to you.  Do you have any questions about what went on behind the scenes so far?  Please leave them in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

 

Next week, I’ll start addressing another behind the scenes aspect:  Infant Survival

Behind the scenes reality: Feral Nameless

Critical Windows of Development

Since I’m dealing with a character who not only holds center stage, but also has to be able to accomplish quite a bit, I knew that I would be bending plausibility a bit here.  In part because I was having to bend the rules a tad about how much can be learned outside the acceptable critical windows of development.

Just what are these windows?  As The Science of Waldorf Education these are time periods of time during development that the brain is open to a particular type of experience to result in a particular talent, and after the window closes, this talent can no longer be learned.  OK, let’s break this down a bit more, since the example provided in the article doesn’t exactly make sense for a fantasy book.

The basics, like walking, grabbing, and imaginative play all have toddler and early childhood windows.  Making sure Nameless experienced these was an interesting challenge – he had no one to model his behavior against, nor did he have much environmental stimulation to drive him into achieving these milestones.  A little fancy foot work, and being able to think outside the box allowed me to include these achievements.  The main achievement, the one that seems to determine if there is a “human” within the character, however is the one I had the most difficult with – language development.

That will be the discussion for the next installment.

Behind the scenes reality: Nameless

 

Nameless

Though I did not set out to make the main character a feral child, that is what his story wound up becoming.  Since that realization, I have worked diligently to treat the issues surrounding feral children with respect and dignity.  Because of the setting, this has not always been easy, though I hope my readers agree with the treatment I have provided on this very touchy subject.

I have heard the term “feral” bandied about by some in a joking tone, I feel this subject deserves to be respected.  As such, before I get too much further, let me explain what I feel creates a feral child.

“The term [feral child] is not a diagnosis. It comes from historic accounts — some fictional, some true — of children raised by animals and therefore not exposed to human nurturing.” (The girl in the window by Lane DeGregory, Times Staff Writer Tampa Bay Times, published July 31, 2008)

 

 

In the Followers of Torments Saga

In the case of Nameless, this was being raised in a dark cell alone.  Though his earliest childhood was isolation, after I discovered the truth about feral children, and the issues that come with, I knew I needed to make sure that I had a character that could at least partially function.  Especially if I wanted to keep up the plausibility, rather than have a caricature of the issue, like we see in Disney’s movies Tarzan and The Jungle Book.  That set me off on an entirely different type of research.  That led to several days of research on critical windows of development, which will be the subject of the next post.

The Sunshine Blogger Award: Interview with Beslynx Spiritwalker

I’ve been nominated Merri Halma of Spiritual Musings for the ‘Sunshine Blogger Award’, where a character in one of my novels has to answer ten questions about themselves. I’ve chosen Beslynx Spiritwalker from the Followers of Torments Saga.  Beslynx is a secondary character, though an important one in the series.

 

Follower of Torments banner
Nameless was born into slavery and raised to be a fighter. When he wins his way to freedom, the journey he undertakes to gain true freedom leads him through a journey of self growth and self understanding in preparation for his most important decision. Born in the darkness of oppression and slavery, will the lessons he learned along the way be enough to overshadow the light of the future ahead? Begin the journey today with Out of the Darkness to find out the answer.

 

In return, I nominate the following authors: Lucinda Hawks MoebiusAssaph Mehr, Eric Michael Craig and Aaron-Michael Hall.  Questions are at the end of the post.

 

Beslynx Banner
What do you do when a family curse puts you in direct opposition to Pack Law? Beslynx is a werecat born to a werewolf pack. She faces that question every day of her life, until her secret is revealed by her younger brother. Now that it has been disclosed, she must find answers quickly to survive in a world fearful of all wereclans. Beslynx Spiritwalker is a companion novella to the Follower of Torments series. Join her as she shares her story prior to “Into the Sunlits”.

 

  1. Tell me about yourself and your worldAlterraden is a world of untouched beauty because it is sparsely populated.  Not everyone would live in balance, given the choice, but because it is many days travel on foot between the population centers, they are forced to.  The Woodland Path provides enough for all to live comfortably with a little work.  If you work a little harder, then you can even get some minor luxuries.  In all my travels, including with that Path blighted alpha, I have rarely seen anywhere that has such splendor to be considered “opulent” within the world I know.  I have traveled, against my will mind you, to a world where splendor is considered the bare essentials, and what I find comfortable is considered squalor.  I much prefer the Realm I grew up in to any other – the wind whispering through the trees of an evening, the sun shining on the newly shorn grass as the sheep placidly graze, even the dust kicked up during a long day’s travel.
  2. What would you change about yourself if you could? What would keep?I would end my family’s curse.  Though I respect my great-to-the-many-times great grandparents on my sire’s side, I fervently wish they had never mated.  To be honest, I am surprised my great-to-the-many-times great grandmother survived.Our family thought the curse had run its course until Old Finn was born.  Even then, all hoped it ended with his generation.  Then I arrived, and proved to be a werelynx, rather than a werewolf.  Thankfully, mother was a well respected wolf from another well respected Pack, or our entire family would have been struck from the roles.  That would have been devastating to my sire – going from Pack alpha to outcast.  It almost came to that, as it is, due to me.

    To counter that, I would keep my family’s love and affection.  Even though I have been cast out from the Pack, I still retain my status within their hierarchy as the Pack shaman and traveling merchant.  When I return from my trips, I am always greeted by a new pile of shed fur in the spring, or wonderfully tanned pelts in the fall to use for whatever I wish – though most does go into goods for sale to benefit the Pack’s coffers.

  3. Describe your favorite activityThat is a tough question.  There are so many activities I enjoy doing.  Spinning and weaving, walking the paths of the forest and communing with The Path, helping those who are lost find their way, helping The Path maintain balance within the world.  I cannot say I favor one over the other, as I do them all with equal enjoyment.
  4. If you could write your own story, how would you change it?I cannot say I would change it.  Even though The Path saw fit to collar me to my Path blighted alpha, there must be a reason, though I hate it.  Every obstacle, every victory has made me into who I am today.  And it is who I am now that allows me to help those I encounter find their own balance.  If I were to change my story, then I would not be who I need to be for the next person I encounter that needs help.
  5. What is the one person you can always depend on to be there for you?Gaia – She is always there, no matter how dire or celebratory my circumstances.  She is my goddess, my savior, my strength.  When The Path leads me through dark times, I can call upon Her and She provides the strength to carry on until the darkness fades.  However, if you speak in terms of mortals, I mus say it is myself.  Though I can gain strength from Old Finn, or my family, there are places I must go, and times I am away from them when they cannot be present for me.  Because of this, I have had to learn how to sustain myself through any situation.
  6. Who most annoys you?In what way?  The kappa has a habit of making me wish I never met him, yet he can be as charming as any pup as he worms his way back into my good graces.  The leech insists there is something momentous about our Path blighted alpha, yet getting a straight answer from her is worse than getting one out of one of the Pride shamans – everything is cloaked in mystery and mysticism.  The Guardian is too good for her own good, yet plays at being weak.  And the alpha that leads our tiny Pack is enough to make The Path, or any other god cringe.

    I will let you guess which one deserves the title of “most annoying.”

  7. Who do you have to protect?By choice, I protect the weak and uncertain.  I try to help them find their own life’s path, and develop what they need to take it with courage.

    By force, I must protect the Pack I am now part of – if any one of us should be harmed, or worse – die, then we all will die.  That is part of what makes our alpha so dangerous – he knew this, yet did it anyway.

  8. What motivates you to get up in the morning?The chance for a better tomorrow.  Trite as that sounds, I know that ere I go through these dark times, there will be a sunrise eventually.  When I have learned whatever lesson I must, the way forward will open, and I will be able to help everyone in my pack move forward on their paths.  That is a reason to continue living, striving, and reaching – seeing others achieve their full potential.
  9. If you could sit down with coffee with your author, what would you talk about?Coffee?  What is that?  [Bes, it’s like your tea, but stronger and more bitter.]

    Oh!  Morning tea!  Hmm…   I would ask if she knew why I must walk the path I am on.  What is the reason for it.  It would be more bearable if I at least understood why I must become part of the pack, rather than aid them from the fringes.

  10. What is your favorite color and define who you are?Green for Priora, brown for the trees that grow upon her face, blue for the water that sustains us, yellow for the sun that lights the way, and black for the shadows that hide the lessons we must all learn.

 

 

Now for the authors I have tagged:

 

  1. Tell me about yourself and your world.
  2. What was your family like growing up?  Are you still in touch with them now?
  3. What do you most desire to have happen in your life?
  4. What do you wish most to see go away?
  5. What do you do for a living?  Do you enjoy it?
  6. Who is your best friend?
  7. What is your favorite leisure activity?
  8. What do you most dislike about the work you do?
  9. If you could sit down and talk with anyone, who would it be and why?
  10. If you could  be anything in the universe, what would you choose?  Why?