My guest today is Taylor Keating – a pseudonym for two Atlantic Canadian writers. The first book in their new Guardian series, Game Over, recently hit bookshelves on November 2, 2010. Please join me in welcoming Catherine and Paula here today to Dark Faerie Tales. You can read the first chapter of the book here. Mind Games, Book 2, is a June 2011 release. Book 3 will be available in December 2011.
One lucky commenter will have a chance to win a copy of Game Over. As always, details are listed at the end of the post.
Welcome Catherine and Paula!
Conquer Your Fantasy World
by Taylor Keating
I’m all about conquering and domination, and quite possibly bending people to my will.
There’s a place for people like me. It’s called prison, which was invented for the benefit of society. But even inside prisons societies form, and much like prisons, we can live in them or outside of them, but we can’t escape them. No matter who we are or how misogynist we might be, our society shapes and defines us.
It shapes and defines our writing as well. Man is, by nature, a social being. Our characters can’t live in isolation. If they do they won’t meet and fall in love, and as romance writers, we’d then have no story. The circumstances our characters live in are where we, as writers, find their goals, their conflict, and their motivation. How closely the reader can identify with these circumstances is directly proportionate to how willing they will be to suspend disbelief.
In fantasy, suspending reader disbelief is crucial. What we write doesn’t have to be probable. It does, however, have to be plausible. Making it plausible means establishing rules for our characters to either live by or defy, and rules are generated by society. The rules of our story’s society should be ones which the reader finds easily identifiable. So how does your reader view his or her world?
When the movie Final Fantasy – the Spirit Within first came out, I was eager to see it. I remember how disappointed I was in the ending because it wasn’t happily ever after, even though I’d known it wouldn’t be because the video game came from Asian developers. I also remember the debates the movie sparked worldwide over western society’s expectations versus eastern society’s values. And I was surprised at how difficult I found it to let go of my personal expectations.
It isn’t that I don’t understand the whole concept of honor, and of sacrificing oneself for the greater good. I get that. But if my village ever needs a princess to feed to a dragon and I draw the short straw, in my rose-coloured world there had better be a prince at least making an effort to ride to my rescue.
So, when Taylor Keating chose a post-apocalyptic world for the heroine in Game Over to live in, we knew we needed a world the heroine, River, could love and feel loyalty to. That meant it had to be a world filled with hope. River’s desire to help it rebuild is the catalyst for the story. The conflict is that the hero comes from a world that’s in a steady state, a sort of utopia, and when he looks at her world, he sees nothing but darkness and despair. He wants to take her away from all this. She, however, has no intention of leaving.
We wanted the reader to understand River’s values and beliefs, and why she would feel such loyalty to a home that really isn’t hers. We needed this to be a world the reader could also identify with, so we never strayed too far from what we know.
After that, we let our imaginations take over.
Fantasy isn’t about creating the fantastic. It’s about using imagination to build the believable. If we want it to be believable, we have to convince the reader. And convincing the reader means imposing a set of rules on our story world that he or she will understand.
For Game Over, we chose a heroine with the ability to grow certain things and gave her a plausible reason to want to do so. We built her a world that needed both her and her abilities. We had her born to it so it would shape her. We added a hero whose own world wasn’t so different that he couldn’t identify with hers.
And then we stood back and allowed them to conquer it.
Synopsis (Product Description):
Video game designer River Weston is ready to sell her soul to smooth out the glitches in her latest project. When she unwittingly taps into a parallel dimension via cutting-edge technology, a Dark Lord is quick to take her up on her inadvertent offer. Trapped in the world she thought she’d created for her game, River finds herself in a very real alternate dimension that she must escape from before her soul can be used to unleash evil—upon this dimension and many others.
River’s only ally is the sexy and mysterious Chase Hawkins. A prisoner of the Dark Lord, Hawk is a man adrift—literally. His body safe at home under the watchful care of the Guardians’ scientists, his astral-traveling spirit has been enslaved by his people’s worst enemy, the Dark Lord. Clinging desperately to his sense of self, Hawk is determined to turn the tables on his captor before the connection to his body is lost. When the beautiful, achingly familiar River enters the picture, he vows he will do everything he can to save her from her bleak fate.
Drawn together with an inescapable force, Hawk and River must wrest her soul from the Dark Lord’s grasp before it’s too late.
A multi published author in the romance genre under another pen name, Catherine is a wife, mom, sister, daughter, and friend. She loves dogs, sunny weather, anything chocolate (she never says no to a brownie) pizza and red wine. She has two teenagers who keep her busy with their never ending activities, and a husband who is convinced he can turn her into a mixed martial arts fan. Catherine can never find balance in her life, is always trying to find time to go to the gym, can never keep up with emails, Facebook or Twitter and tries to write page-turning books that her readers will love.
A maritime native and former financial officer, Catherine has lived all over Canada but has finally settled down in her childhood hometown with her family.
Paula M. Fox
The other half of Taylor Keating, Paula grew up in rural Nova Scotia knowing that at some point in her life she was going to be a fiction writer. Swapping Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey books with her father guaranteed she wasn’t going to be the next Jane Austen, much to the dismay of her English teacher mother.
University followed. A degree in Social Anthropology from the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, again meant writing was the logical (meaning only) career path for her, although it did confirm her belief that learning is a life-long experience. She’s taken business courses, writing courses, and physiology of aquatic animals courses, all at the university level and all for fun.
She now works in the Aerospace industry, which surprises everyone who knows her. Happily married, with two terrific sons, she continues to live in rural Nova Scotia but makes a point of traveling as much as she can. New York and Brussels are tied for her favorite cities of all time.
She reads in all genres, which isn’t surprising considering her life is all over the board, but fantasy and paranormal romance are her writing loves. Sorry Dad, Louis L’Amour’s job was already taken.
One lucky commenter will have a chance to win a copy of Game Over.
1. Giveaway is open to US and Canada only.
2. Giveaway ends Monday, November 29th at 11:59 PM EST.
3. The winner will be picked with the help of Random.org.
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