Dark Night of the Soul
by E.M. Havens
by E.M. Havens
Date to be Published: 7/1/2013
What comes after life? Jayden Schroeder is about to find out. At the end of the road of despair, she ends it all and finds out that living might not have been so bad. Thrust into a strange and disparate world, Jayden joins a team of warriors from all places and time. Together they battle demons to save the souls of the living, all the while on the run from the end of all things - The Judgment.
Will she fight for a second chance to spare those she loves? Or surrender?
Dark Night of the Soul is a fantastical journey, both literally and figuratively for Jayden’s soul. Action adventure, fantasy, romance, and dark humor twist together to create an afterlife tale that will keep you thinking long after the final chapter.
Who is E.M. Havens? I’m a lot of things. The word that seems to define me most at the moment is mom. It can be all consuming. Not only am I a mom of three (one of them is a teenager…pity me), but I also home-school (pity me more). I share this awesome responsibility with the love of my life, best friend, and soul-mate husband.
Add to that, the twenty-five chickens, twelve turkeys, ten guineas, nine pigs, three barn cats, two Great Pyrenees guardian dogs, a Chihuahua, a house cat, and a goose, it makes for one crazy, full, and certainly entertaining life.
Somewhere in there I find the time to write. I started out young writing poems, then moved on to songs. I actually have a Bachelor in Music with a secondary in Science because I can’t stand English. Yes, the writer hates English. I like to read the story for the experience of reading the story, not to nitpick each letter and comma. But I digress.
I eventually found blogging and really enjoyed sharing my life that way. When an unfortunate turn of events separated me from my music equipment, I decided to use my overactive imagination, my love of reading, and my new found hobby, prose writing, to release some of my creative energy. I wrote my first novel and loved the experience. Fate War: Alliance is actually the second novel I wrote and the first to be published. Now I’m working on my third and several sequels to Fate War!
So that’s pretty much me, sitting in the Arbuckle Mountains of Oklahoma, reading, writing, collecting eggs from the coop, and being a schoolmarm. It’s a pretty great life.
The Hardest Thing About Character Development
We all love to read a story where the characters feel like real people. We want to laugh or cry with them, feel the hurt and feel the love. Writing characters this way is difficult. What makes it so hard, is that in order to do it well, the author has to become that character.
But a writer only has so much personal experience to draw from, and they certainly don’t want their characters to be carbon copies of themselves. So, I think empathetic people write the deepest characters. They can draw on the experiences of others to create new and interesting personalities.
There are still problems with this. First, it is emotionally draining. When I’m writing a particularly disturbing, or emotional scene my family feels the brunt. It’s hard to snap out of those emotions I’m trying to get on the page.
Second, and this is the most difficult thing to do for a control-freak writer, is sticking with my outline. Sometimes, I get to a point in the story where my characters simply won’t progress the way I had planned. I think this is a good thing though. It means that my characters are not me, but rather they are their own entities that feel and think like individuals.
There is a whole section in my book, Fate War: Alliance, that was never part of my plan. Once Sam reveals her past, she simply couldn’t follow the path I had set for her. She just didn’t react how I envisioned it. There was a complication in the reveal that I had never fathomed, but Sam saw it, and felt it deeply. It took me a couple of chapters to get her back to the outline, but I think in the final product, it made for a more realistic, organic character.
Dark Night of the Soul was especially draining. So many of the characters, even the “extras”, were experiencing horrific situations, most of which I could not fathom. There were several times when I considered stopping writing it because my spirit was affected so deeply. But I dived into their heads and tried to understand the world through their eyes.
So to sum it all up, the hardest part of character development for me is being vulnerable. Opening my mind and heart to feel what others feel deeply is tough. Letting my characters take on a life and story of their own, superseding my will is the most difficult. Sounds kind of like life in general.