RJ’s Method of Character Development
I first think of a dominating personality trait such as conciliatory, apathetic, obnoxious, passionate, etc. Then I imagine their appearance but only in a general way. I tend not to describe my characters physically except in a rudimentary way so that readers can supply their own details that may conform to an acquaintance, etc.
Next, I think of people I know (either in real life, movies, literature, etc.) who best demonstrate that key personality trait and go from there. Very quickly, my vivid imagination develops more traits that fit my character and, if I can keep myself open-minded, unexpected traits crop up as if this character is a real person possessing contradictions, etc.
As an example, when I created the catalyst character in my Rio Grande Parallax series I wanted a pushy kind of personality who seemed to delight manipulating apathetic and alcoholic Don—my protagonist—persuading him to accept a bizarre proposal. I didn’t want an evil character, yet one who aroused suspicion in others as if he had something to hide. So then, what unlikely kind of being (not limited to being human) would be surprisingly appropriate? A bat.
Nightwing, a bat from the Valle Abajo who can travel through a portal to the “real world” Don inhabits seemed perfect. People have an aversion to bats which are small, flit about unpredictably allowing them to easily hide from prying human eyes; however, they shouldn’t be capable of possessing high intelligence—but, of course, Nightwing does! A great fit.
After I put him into action, I discovered he fulfills so well my subsequent grand plans for the series and even a prequel that I believe a Higher Power inspired me to choose a bat (including all his colony mates and… ancestors) for this key role in my story.
I say, once you make a few logical choices, follow the weird twists and turns of your imagination and pay attention to ideas that come in dreams and the nether world that exists when one is between sleep and wakefulness.
The Tower of Il Serrohe and Extreme Dust Storms May Exist
(Books 1 & 2 of the Rio Grande Parallax Series)
- Don Vargas, a man who has lost his way.
- A rundown casita near the Middle Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico.
- Nightwing, a bat offering an unlikely hero a formidable quest.
- A Portal to another valley, the Valle Abajo, where lifestyles are primitive.
- Clans in the Valle Abajo begging for help to overcome the Soreyes, a wily clan terrorizing the valley for generations.
- A Tower erected by the Soreyes which seems to be a mysterious source of their power.
All this leads to a unique modern fantasy involving curanderas, an alcoholic looking for escape from the failures of his life, an enigmatic bat who manipulates events behind the scenes, adventures, a beautiful woman, and more surprises in this contemporary New Mexico-based tale.
Though the book ends, the story doesn’t. Book 2 of the Rio Grande Parallax: Extreme Dust Storms May Exist is now available. Many familiar characters from The Tower return along with new exciting personalities to spice up the adventure:
Extreme Dust Storms May Exist:
It is five years after the final events of The Tower of Il Serrohe and Esther, a sixteen-year-old honor student and athlete, suffers a mysterious accident and dreams of a valley much like her Rio Luna home, yet ominously different. Next, a bat repeatedly slams its body against her window during a powerful wind storm and she hears a whispering in the darkness.
It is the bat, Nightwing, who persuaded Don to take on his mission in The Tower. Nightwing begins to persuade Esther, Don’s younger cousin, to use her intelligence and resourcefulness to drive away the Soreyes from the Valle Abajo—the valley of her dreams. As she shares these disturbing details with her best friend, Markey, they both worry Esther is going insane.
However, new dangers threaten when word reaches the Valle about a murderous clan in the far away Mountains of Sky east of the Valle while in the west there lives another band of Soreyes. Meanwhile, a mysterious presence lurks in the background as the saga of the Rio Grande Parallax continues.
Personal Comments: Why New Mexico Fantasy?
I’ve always loved the way fantasy and science fiction take my imagination beyond the ordinary. Realizing the obsessive creation of stories in my head meant I should be a writer, I set out to fashion a unique niche for my musings calling it Southwest Contemporary Fantasy, specifically New Mexico fantasy. Thus Don, Nersite, Raquela and all the other characters were born and sent out on their unpredictable adventures.
But like many children, they have their own ideas, and I struggle to keep up with them, attempting to tell their story as accurately as I can. I admit they share some of my life experience growing up in New Mexico with its unique culture, terrain, and climate. But at times, I wonder where these people came from!
Join me as I chronicle their adventures and challenges.
Signed copy from the author or other questions, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
RJ Mirabal loves the Middle Rio Grande Valley having lived there for most of his life. Los Lunas High School 2006 Teacher of the Year, author RJ Mirabal, went on to win the Excellence in Education Award for NEA-New Mexico in 2007, having taught English, speech, drama and computer literacy. Now happily retired, he purses writing and music while volunteering with a motorcycle club and teachers’ organizations. RJ enjoys exploring New Mexico’s wilderness areas on his four-wheeler and traveling with his wife, Cheryl. The Tower of Il Serrohe is his debut novel.
For a limited time, RJ’s first book, The Tower of Il Serrohe, is available in Nook and Kindle formats for free on his publisher, Black Rose Writing’s site: The Tower for Free!