Author Archives: Tara Maya
Dindi is kidnapped to be the bride of a shark... To escape she must untangle a terrible curse caused by a love and magic gone wrong.
This stand-alone novella is set in Faearth, the world of The Unfinished Song. Available here ONLY.
The Unfinished Song - This Young Adult Epic Fantasy series has sold over 70,000 copies and has 1,072 Five Star Ratings on Goodreads.
Author Archives: Tara Maya
Kickass heroines are all the rage. But it’s tricky to do right. I’ve read some books that do a terrific job… and others that aren’t convincing.
The first time we meet Katsa in Graceling, she is knocking out guards, breaking into a dungeon and rescuing a prince. A quick flashback shows her accidentally killing a child-molester with one blow when she was only eight years old–the first time her Grace showed up. Since we have seen her amazing martial arts skills and innate ability to defend herself in action, her position as Utterly Badass is secure.
However, I’ve read other books where characters keep talking about what a badass the heroine is… without much evidence. They mention that she trains or that she “could beat any guy here” but when we finally see her in action, she’s sick at the sight of blood, or doesn’t want to kill. Huh?
A badass heroine needs to be strong, even ruthless, without being devoid of compassion. This is true for a hero as well as a heroine, but the fact of the matter is that readers are less forgiving of a unforgiving heroine than a hero. People even complained that Katniss was too hard, although her character was perfectly consistent.
There are two opponents who will typically throw the Badass Heroine for a loop. One is the Big Bad. Naturally, he / she /it has to be pretty crazy awful or the final battle will be anti-climatic. A Big Badass deserves a Big Bad. But… don’t have them fight all at once. Because the first time, the Big Bad is going to wipe the floor with the heroine, and it has to be clear this is because the Big Bad is THAT POWERFUL not because the heroine is a timid little girl.
The other one who will nix the mojo of any hotblooded heroine is the Hot Guy. He may be her equal of the field of martial arts or he may defeat her by some other equally powerful but totally different kind of talent or he may freeze her with Pure Hotness.
To truly display her awesome, a badass heroine needs to easily dispatch lesser threats before she meets a threat — or a boy — that she can’t immediately overcome. In Paranormalacy, we see Evie bag a creature, and understand this is ordinary business for her. Only after that does she encounter a bigger danger than she can handle… an invisible boy.
Another issue that always faces a badass heroine (but not a hero) is how much her society approves her martial prowess. Even if she is a contemporary urbanite or a futuristic soldier, she may encounter people who think a woman “shouldn’t”. If she is from a feudal, quasi-medieval world, or from a sexist, quasi-medeival dystopia, she’s going to have to oppose everything her people believe in to fight for herself. It has to be convincing that she could learn to fight, want to fight and have the opportunity to fight.
It might help if she belongs to a subculture or has a “special” circumstance that works against the majority culture. But if she, alone, out of all the world, has contemporary feminist values, that’s going to be pretty hard to believe.
Rayne Hall has published more than forty books under different pen names with different publishers in different genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. Recent books include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), Six Historical Tales Vol 1, Six Scary Tales Vol 1, 2 and 3 (mild horror stories), Six Historical Tales (short stories), Six Quirky Tales (humorous fantasy stories), Writing Fight Scenes and Writing Scary Scenes (instructions for authors).
Today, Paul D. Dail, author of The Imaginings, joins us to answer questions about his fiction.
Thought-provoking, unpredictable, spiritually ambiguous, darkly humorous.
2. What do you enjoy most about writing horror fiction?
Absolutely everything. I’ve loved horror movies and books since I was little, so while these days I enjoy reading almost any genre, when it comes to writing, I’m happiest when I’m writing horror.
Oh, and I love the opportunity to give someone the creeps. I recently read a story of mine to my classes that I thought was fairly innocuous, but was pleasantly surprised when many of my students said it was “freaky.”
3. Many people enjoy reading stories about undead creatures – ghosts, vampires, zombies.
What do you think is the appeal?
I think these three examples appeal on different levels. If I were to oversimplify, I would say people like ghosts because it gives them a sense of something beyond death. Vampires is a desire for immortality. Zombies… well, for that one, I think it’s more about the characters other than the zombies that has the appeal. People want to believe that in a zombie apocalypse, they would be able to survive.
Actually, yes. My story “The Interview” was heavily influenced by mythology, specifically the story of Phineus, a Phoenician king who was blinded by Zeus for his ability to see into the future.
5. Your story “Another Oldie But Goodie” in Undead: Ten Tales of Zombies (edited by Rayne Hall) starts with a retirement home resident hearing music nobody else can hear, and leads to raising a long dead person from the grave. Where did the ideas for this story come from?
This was originally a flash piece for the Vamplit Publishing blog. The theme for the week was “Love in the Cemetery,” I think. Then it was kind of a perfect storm of events that brought the actual story together, the biggest of which being when my 99 year-old grandmother, who doesn’t move very fast but is still sharp as a tack, informed my father and I one day while we were visiting that she had been hearing the song “Ave Maria” at various points throughout the day where no one was actually playing it. At that point, I started putting together the story of the nursing home resident, and I knew it was her dead husband that was singing to her (don’t worry, this comes out in the story pretty early). From there it was a matter of picking out the song, something fitting for the time. And the rest of the pieces just fell into place, especially the ending.
Thank you for joining us, Paul. May 2013 be a year of many more creative ideas and fantastic success.
Paul D. Dail is the author of The Imaginings, a supernatural/horror novel, as well as several other horror short stories. While he will quickly tell you that the people he has met in the many places that he has traveled have been the best schooling he could get, Paul received his formal education in English with a Creative Writing emphasis at the University of Montana, Missoula.
In addition to his fiction, he has had a non-fiction submission published in The Sun magazine’s Reader’s Write section entitled “Slowing Down” about the birth of his daughter.
Currently Paul lives in southern Utah, amid the red rock, sagebrush and pinion junipers. He teaches Language Arts and Creative Writing at Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts.
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