It took me almost eight years to get “The Other Inheritance” published. I went through six drafts–seven I guess if you count the final edits with my publisher. During that time, my characters became better defined and developed their own personalities. I think that’s when you know you’ve hit the sweet spot, when your characters start talking to you. The best character surprise of all I had while writing “The Other Inheritance” was the character of Brwyn. He wasn’t in the first three drafts. He wasn’t in the original outline. But when I was making an editing pass, I noticed the middle of my book was lacking excitement. It needed some swagger, some ridiculous charm and that’s when Brwyn was born. Brwyn is an Elf Changeling who turns into a wolf. He’s got swagger in spades and an undeniable sex appeal. He’s dangerous and funny and he was exactly what my book needed. With Brwyn, I never hesitated with his dialogue or his character motivation. He always just spoke to me, and I knew I had created something really special with him. As much as I love my heroine, Reggie, Brwyn is my favorite character. And he happens to be my readers’ favorite too. Sometimes creating characters is deliberate and sometimes it’s a happy accident. Either way, make sure you know your character’s motivation, their quirks, and their flaws. The better you know them, the better your reader will know them, and we all want our readers to have the best experience possible when they step into our world.
Reggie slipped her hand into the crook of his arm, both grateful for his strength and resenting her dependence on him. Asher guided her into a forest remarkably similar to the one she’d just left. The scent of pine and perfume from budding flowers clogged her olfactory senses until she felt lightheaded. Pine and—and something feral. Something wild and dangerous coated her tongue. She shivered.
“Asher, do you smell that?” Reggie whispered.
“Blood or rotting meat and…and shit I think.”
“I don’t smell anything—” he began when a piercing howl punctured the air answered by a dozen other cries.
She stumbled, her muscles locking in place. “What was that?”
“Marsh wolves. But I’m not sure why they’re in the forest.”
“Shouldn’t we be running?”
Asher shook his head. “Running from predators isn’t a good idea. It just makes them give chase. We need to hide. What would cause the wolves to come into the woods?”
“Do we need to figure that out now?” Reggie replied. The ground shuddered under her feet, the feral smell growing stronger. The sound of thunder rumbled in the distance echoed by more eerie howls.
Rebecca Jaycox grew up in the tiny town of Berryman, which borders the Mark Twain National Forest and the Courtois River about 70 miles south of St. Louis. The beautiful landscape fed her imagination, and she began writing stories at age 10 and never stopped. Always seeking adventure, Rebecca moved to France after she graduated college with a journalism degree to teach English at a French high school. Bitten by the travel bug, she has recently visited Italy, Greece, Austria, Spain, and finally made it to her bucket-list destination of Istanbul last summer. Rebecca now lives in New York City with her husband, Gregory. She is the curator and program director of the YA Lit Series at the 92nd Street Y–one of New York’s premier cultural centers. She enjoys reading and writing fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk, and science fiction. The Other Inheritance is her first novel.