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Me too! What kind of chickens do you have? Ours are Jerseys.

We have Plymouth Rocks and a few Sussex chickens! They’re all so pretty!

HORSES!?! Did you say horses?!! Aaaah! I would absolutely love to get a horse!!! I’m kind of equestrian crazy so maybe one day…. What breed do you have? What are their names?

Yesss!! I’ve always been a horse girl in blood and bone honestly XD They’re… horse? XD They’re both mixed breeds, so you can’t categorize them as much else than small horses XD

I have two right now, one is my riding horse, his name is Djadon! He’s… Very fun XD He’s something of a clown and hardly an easy ride XD I’ve learned SO much from riding him though, mainly how to sit out bizarre bucks. He probably has some Hafling and/or Welsh Cob blood in him. Anyway, there’s some kind of baroque breed mixed in there because he has the most gorgeous mane. He’s a flaxen chestnut and his mane comes down to his knees. I love him a whole lot if you couldn’t tell XD

Lightning is smaller, also a flaxen chestnut, and mostly just retired. She’s 29 and doesn’t really have to do anything anymore. She’s the sweetest bombproof pony, even though of the two she’s more likely to cause chaos by escaping. (This happens on a fairly regular basis)

I’ll stop now but my horses are another thing I could talk about endlessly XD

I love those characters that just kind of take over the writing – except when they go and do something that wasn’t in my story outline and I have to change direction midway. I would definitely be interested in hearing more about him! Is he your MC now?

Well yes and no XD Because it’s a trilogy I had a bit more room. Liorah, the princess and my true MC, is the narrator for book one. Faye gets introduced in book 2, and it’s a dual POV between her and Liorah. In the third book, it’s a dual POV between Liorah and this character, Aydin. So, he’s kind of a main character!

As aforementioned, his name is Aydin, and he’s… morally interesting. I don’t know whether to label him morally gray, an anti-hero, or an extremely traumatized hero. Probably the latter XD

You know that one character who always seems to be on the receiving end of traumatizing character development? Yeah, that’s Aydin XD I almost feel guilty about it. (It’s just so much fun though…)

Anyway, his existence is kind of a spoiler, but I’ll obscure the spoilery details. Anyway, really long and traumatic backstory short, he starts out as a villain, mainly because he’s trapped on the villainous side. He used to be an assassin too, and absolutely hated it.

He does wrong things, and he knows they’re wrong, but he doesn’t see any other way than to do them. Throughout the story, he slowly gets redeemed. It might be my favorite character arc I’ve ever written.

He’s pretty much the opposite of what you’d expect of a dark, morally gray assassin character.

He’s an incredibly good person. He messes up and has no idea what he’s doing most of the time, but he’s trying so hard, and he’s ready to take responsibility and fix his mistakes.

He’s also just fun to write because he has this dry, dark sense of humor. He’s really anxious and kind of shy. Besides that, he’s disabled. In the second book, his right hand becomes paralyzed, and he’s also autistic. I didn’t figure out that until I’d finished the third book XD Fortunately, I was writing him as such accidentally right from the start XD Now I just have to go back and do it on purpose. (This isn’t even the first time this has happened, I have so many accidental neurodivergent characters XD)

Yeah, I really, really love him XD

Payton’s older brother was a soldier who was killed in battle when he (Payton) was really little, but Payton sometimes feels like he is still “living in his older brother’s shadow” so to speak. He would do pretty much anything not to disappoint those he looks up to. Ethan is trainer for the boys in the village who want to become soldiers and Payton is a part of that group. Because of certain incidents in Ethan’s past which I can’t go into, Payton resents Ethan’s authority and pretty much lets him know it every chance he gets although really Payton’s exterior annoying attitude is mainly a front to hide his insecurity and doubt.

That’s fascinating! I love that backstory, and I bet that affects him in a really cool way! And I love those annoying characters who put up exteriors to defend themselves!

My MC, Liorah, is like that too! She’s… quite a character. To give you perspective, my favorite pet names for her include “Feral brat” “Chaos child” and “Arson gremlin” That last one isn’t even an exaggeration, she commits arson at least three times in canon.

Anyway she has the same thing where she feels like she’s in her older brother’s shadow. His name is Gavril and he’s pretty much the archetypical hero. Poor kid, I feel so bad for him. He’s working so hard to be perfect for everyone else. It doesn’t go well.

I love your story plot! It sounds so cool! How long have you been working on it? What is the biggest change you’ve made in your revision so far?

Thank you! I’ve been working on it for just over two years now! It’s actually my very first writing project.

Hmmm, biggest change… I think that would be in the second draft of book one, I had to add a huge section (At least 20k words) and change the outcome of a plan. Besides that, Aydin’s perpetual changes. He’s practically done a 180 turn from what I first planned for him!

Oh and that one character who started out an antagonist and turned into Liorah’s love interest. That was odd XD I love him though, and it worked out! I had to completely rewrite his character.

I think my biggest revision in my first book was adding a battle scene. Which was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever written. I’m going to see if I can make it through this project without a battle but we’ll see! XD

Oh goodness *Weeps in sympathy* battle scenes are the bane of my existence. I wrote two in the first book and did everything in my power to avoid them in the latter two books. I actually managed to pretty well XD There was only one brief one.

By the way, what is your biggest writing dream? Mine is to write an allegory…..which I desperately want to do….

Ohhh!! That sounds epic! Do you have any ideas for it yet?

Hmm, interesting question! I don’t think I’ve thought about it a lot… I have a story I really, really want to write one day! I’m still in the plotting stage, but I already love it so much! It might even be the book I want to be my debut! I think writing that is my current biggest writing dream!

I know!!! Now I enjoy writing Payton but he has his moments where he just refuses to listen to me. I tell him he can’t go somewhere then he goes off and takes his little brother with him. I tell him to apologize to Ethan for his behavior and he gives me THAT look and an eye roll. Then he apologizes because he doesn’t want to let his father down not because of me.

LOlll, that’s them XD That’s what those characters are like!

My favorite part was seeing my ideas come to life on paper.

Oh that’s epic! I totally relate to that! That’s one of the best feelings ever!

(Her horse, by the way, is one of my favorite characters. He’s a wild stallion who has been tamed by Esther’s – MC’s – love, and his heart belongs to her and her alone.)

*high fives in horses are always my favorite characters too*

What has been your favorite part of writing?

I think my characters! That moment when a new character reveals themselves to you, and they just stand there in all their new and shiny glory, and then they start talking to you. I love that feeling! Or when you discover a new part of a character and everything just clicks into place! Also just knowing your characters like friends and getting to make fun of them and cry about them. It’s like reading a favorite book but ten times better!

Also, it’s interesting when you discover the more complex parts of the story or that moment you realize you’ve been projecting onto a character XD That’s more funny than anything else, but it can be kinda disconcerting. Like “I thought I’d gotten over that, but apparently not”

What is the biggest setback you’ve faced?

Hmm, I think pushing myself too hard! That happened earlier this year, when I was drafting book 3. I got so set on finishing it as quickly as possible that I lost perspective and it stopped being fun for a while. It gave me massive writer’s block that lasted several months. I just started getting back into it again! I learned from it though, so that’s good!

How about you?

Oh. My. Goodness. That sounds soooo cool!!!! Aaaaah!!!!! Seriously! How long have you been doing HEMA? I’d probably listen all day, by the way! XD What is your favorite weapon/technique so far? If I had to pick a weapon to learn, I’d pick the bow and arrow, but my second choice would be a sword.

I know right??? It’s so amazing I still can’t quite believe it XD I’ve been doing it for a year now! I’m still kinda inexperienced but it’s so much fun!

I really like the longsword, it’s super satisfying when you get a complicated technique right! But I think my favorite technique is ringen, which is basically Medieval battle wrestling. It has a lot in common with judo and regular wrestling, but it’s also a bit different from both of those. It’s just really fun to me, even though it’s much harder than longsword!

It’s also incredibly fun to write! Since starting HEMA I’ve been writing a ton of the techniques into my fight scenes, it’s way easier to write now!

And bow and arrows are so cool! I would love to learn archery too someday!

Oh and also, some shameless self-promotion XD I have a monthly newsletter where I talk about all things writing related and HEMA comes up quite often because I can’t help myself. My latest newsletter was actually about HEMA techniques for writing fight scenes, kinda what a lot of writers get wrong about it!

Here’s the link to subscribe if you think it might be interesting! Do you have a blog or newsletter where I could follow you?

By the way, I don’t know what you call the little quote that shows up under different people’s posts, but I love yours!

Thank you! My quote is a lyric I wrote for something from Gilded Blood, my trilogy!

Also, where in the process are you with your story? I’d love to read it if you need beta readers! I’ve beta-read a couple of times before, and I really love doing it! Your story sounds right up my alley!

Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?

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