Welcome back to Writer Wednesday! It’s so good to see you all again. You’ve no idea how I treasure our Wednesday meetings, especially when I can bring you someone like Tamara Shoemaker!
Tamara and I are good friends in real life, which is awesome because she’s pretty darn cool – and it shows how writing brings people together, since we met in our local critique group. Wahoo!
Tamara’s got not one, but TWO YA fantasy series she’s penning. Today she’s here to tell us a bit about her and about The Guardian of the Vale, the third book in her Guardian of the Vale series – the series I’ve called The Last Airbender meets Harry Potter. Take it away, Tamara!
Typically, in a romance (or in your case, a romantic fantasy), halfway through the story, you’ll have a pretty good idea of who is “supposed” to end up together. You buck this tradition for your Guardian of the Vale trilogy. Why?
Good question. If it helps, I’ll say it’s not my fault. 😉
When I wrote the outline for Mark of Four (the first book in the trilogy), the romantic leads were who I intended to put together by the end of book three. However, as the story progressed, so did the characters.
By the time I wrote Guardian of the Vale, I had created a monster–that is to say: this character that I had created was so very strong, he wouldn’t let me pigeonhole him into the nice, neat portion of the story I had intended for him, and he insisted on becoming the romantic lead.
As much as it messed up my outlines and plans, I kind of liked it. It’s so much easier to write a character who takes the initiative than one who melts like so much flaccid ink onto a page with nary a struggle to be seen. Such a character may moldable, but there’s no depth there.
I feel very … torn about this question.
Undoubtedly, the type I love the most is the happily-ever-after type where character A meets character B, and, after finally conquering the “problem” that keeps A from B and B from A, they finally declare undying love for one another, and voila, kiss, wedding, the pitter-patter of tiny feet, followed by “The End.”
On the other hand, while I love those, the stories I remember the most–the ones that never leave my head and usually burrow deep into my heart are the ones that are bittersweet, where something of great importance is lost in the struggle for great gain:
- Gone with the Wind (don’t get me started on how much I dislike the main female lead; why, oh why, do I remember this one so well?)
- Jane Eyre (sure, they lived happily-ever-after, but only after he was blinded and maimed, and they spent a year and more apart while they learned equal shares of pain)
- Redeeming Love (a husband who loves his wife even through adultery and prostitution and any number of times she tries to leave him, and yet. And yet. Oh, that book makes me bawl my eyes out.)
I don’t know if there’s a way to say I love one kind of romance more than the other kind. They both affect me differently, though no less powerfully, I suppose, for those differences.
What’s your favorite romance novel of all time, and why?
That’s like asking which of my children is my favorite. I love them all, and more for their varying shades of colors that make them what they are. If I had to pick a favorite… story, not novel, per se… I’d choose Beauty and the Beast.
Here’s why: the greatest love stories (in my opinion) use this story as a template. My favorite romance stories almost always portray a “beast” (physical appearance or character trait) for the opposing romantic lead to “see past.”
Whether it’s Mr. Rochester in his intentional bigamy, or Mr. Darcy and his beastly pride, or Rhett Butler in his charismatic devil-may-care dismissal of war obligations, or even a scarred, pockmarked Bride for the perfect, crucified and resurrected Groom, Beauty and the Beast is a timeless and beautiful romance that never, ever stales.
What do you like best about Daymon, your romantic lead in Guardian of the Vale?
I’m sure there are many things; I’ll list four.
- I love that he won’t let me hate him. I wanted very much to hate him in book one, but he was admirably persistent in turning my opinion of him on its head.
- I love his loyalty to Alayne. She has her annoying traits (as do most people at some point or another), but Daymon refuses to be driven away. His staying power is legendary.
- I have to admit, that tattoo on his back is rather deserving of attention.
- He’s quiet. Maybe it’s because I tend to be super chatty, especially when I’m nervous. I go on and on and on. So when I meet people who have the ability — yes, it’s an ability … a superpower, really — to be quiet and not feel the need to fill the silences, it fascinates me.
A Bit About Guardian of the Vale:
Clayborne Training Institute, a school for teen Elementals, has fallen beneath a sweeping coup of power-hungry sectarians, and the High Court rests in the grip of the Elemental Alliance.
Having escaped the coup, Alayne Worth flees the school with twenty-three desperate students to search out the headquarters of the Last Order, the underground organization seeking to wrest control of the government from the Alliance. Danger shadows her steps as the struggle for the Vale and the power it wields strikes ever closer to home.
Conflicts, perils, enemies, and rebellions push Alayne toward a cataclysmic battle that threatens to rend CommonEarth at the seams, and the Vale is the linchpin that holds the balance of power in place without tipping the scales in favor of Elementals or Natural Humans.
When those closest to Alayne threaten her possession of the Vale, will she and the world in which she lives survive the fallout?
A Bit About Tamara:
Tamara Shoemaker authored the Amazon best-selling Shadows in the Nursery Christian mystery series and Soul Survivor, another Christian mystery. Her fantasy books include the beginning two installments of the Heart of a Dragon trilogy: Kindle the Flame and Embrace the Fire, as well as her first completed trilogy: Mark of Four, Shadows of Uprising, and Guardian of the Vale. In her spare time, she freelances as an editor for other works of fiction, chases three children hither and yon, and tries hard to ignore the brownie mixes that inevitably show up in her cabinets.
Want to connect further with Tamara? Find her here:
Thanks so much for joining me, Tamara! Love you, girlfriend.