Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Author Tracy Falbe - guest post + giveaway

Building a good hero
By Tracy Falbe

I've never been a writer interested in creating a hero or heroine that is purely good and of unstained character. I don't have much patience for the hero who is selfless, never tempted, and remembers to write his mother thank you notes. I want to build stories with characters who have to willfully struggle to be good because it's frequently harder to do the good and honorable thing than to be bad or indifferent.
I am fascinated by the struggle to be good in a bad world. Societies can inflict many harsh requirements on people and condone oppressive injustices, and people can just play along by the wicked rules and be considered a solid citizen.
When I wrote my epic fantasy series The Rys Chronicles I wanted to create a hero who had deeds in his past that he was not proud of. I wanted him through the course of the story to gradually become a better person. I feel that such a path for a character will be relatable to some readers. It is easy to be misguided onto the path of wickedness. To defy a society's expectations and struggle toward better personal goals are difficult. One result of my reflections on such matters was Dreibrand Veta, the main human male character in the epic.
In the beginning, he is focused solely on his own grandiose ambitions. His position in society is threatened, and he's willing to kill, conquer, and enslave people to get ahead. While serving on a campaign of military conquest, he is immersed in a heartless and exploitative culture. But when he realizes that the men above him are not going to share true power and prestige despite his exemplary service, he is transformed by the deep rages of rebellious epiphany.
At this point he is still focused on himself and his own unmet needs. It is not until he is saved by a young woman that he begins to care about someone beyond himself. Miranda is her name and she is an escaped slave with two small children, fleeing her war torn land. Dreibrand quickly realizes that she needs someone to help her, which is obvious, but he also is struck by the deeper realization that her desperate existence has resulted from a cruel society.
Just as Dreibrand is beginning to care for Miranda, they become embroiled in a power struggle among the rys, a rare super race of magical beings that rule many human kingdoms. Dreibrand chooses to support the rys Shan, and a classic struggle of good versus evil unfolds. Dreibrand fights on the side of good, but even a good cause does not make for good deeds. Rebellion and bloody wars are incited, and Dreibrand must accept that the violence and destruction are necessary steps to overthrow wickedness.
For me such complexities are essential in a hero. To be a rebel is both to be foolish and brave. A hero grappling intellectually with the concept of the end justifying the means adds emotional power to his struggles.
Although I explore the landscape between good and evil in my fiction, I am not without some idealism. Through the character of Dreibrand I also present a hero who is fearless in the defense of his family. To protect a mate and children is a fundamental purpose of male power, and in these instances Dreibrand is motivated by good reasons. His ambitions and pride never go away, but he develops beyond self-centered greed. He knows he is no saint, and he accepts that, but he also learns that he must try to do good by people. To cultivate a loyal follower is better than to conquer. To seek peace instead of war can be the more heroic act.
The Rys Chronicles fantasy series is comprised of four novels: Union of Renegades, The Goddess Queen, Judgment Rising, and The Borderlands of Power. I invite readers to sample my fiction by downloading Union of Renegades for free at my website http://www.falbepublishing.com/braveluck/free_ebook.html.  You can also look for it at major ebook retailers worldwide.

Ms Falbe is providing great  giveaway gifts: the whole Rys Chronicles fantasy series in e-format of your choice:
Union of Renegades: The Rys Chronicles Book I
The Goddess Queen: The Rys Chronicles Book II
Judgment Rising: The Rys Chronicles Book III
The Borderlands of Power: The Rys Chronicles Book IV

Leave the comment describing your favourite kind of hero and your e-mail address to be entered. Also, spread the word about the contest and leave the comment at my review from yesterday for extra entries: http://angel-on-a-move.blogspot.com/2011/08/union-of-renegades-by-tracy-falbe.html. The contest is open until September 3rd 2011, and the winner will be selected randomly and announced on Sunday September the 4th 2011. 
About Ms Falbe
I was born in Michigan in 1972 and grew up in Mount Pleasant. It's called the "Mountain Town" but there is no mountain and it's debatable about whether it's pleasant. They say it's a party town and based on extensive research as a young adult I can concur.
Because I always had the childhood fantasy of running away and joining the circus, I moved to Las Vegas, Nevada in 1995 and lived there until 1997. Those who only stay a week are wimps, but I will say that it's the second year in Vegas that wears you down. Then I realized the pioneers were trying to get to California, and Nevada was not the goal. So I moved to Chico, in Northern California and lived there until 2009. I miss Chico dearly and value greatly the experience of living in that enlightened realm (local government excluded). My wandering has circled back and I'm currently residing in Battle Creek, Michigan. I think I adore the place, but that doesn't make sense. I'm still California dreamin' and fantasize about my return to the Golden State, but for now my existence within the post-apocalyptic Rust Belt is suitably fascinating.
In 2000, I earned a journalism degree from California State University, Chico with the conscious ambition of becoming a fiction writer. With the rapid demise of the newspaper industry and journalism in general, novelist is not such a daft pursuit after all. It's not like I'm actually going to get a job that values my education. Luckily I'm cursed with the impulse to write in a popular yet competitive genre.
I consider writing a necessary activity that I enjoy. I have the most fun writing in the fantasy genre. I find inspiration in history and like to contemplate warfare before gunpowder and life without modern technology. Placing characters in an elder fantasy world fascinates me and allows me to explore age-old notions of bravery when combat was often done face-to-face. Magic is another story element that adds to the pleasure of writing in this genre.
Since learning to read and write as a child, I always knew that I wanted to write novels. The Rys Chronicles and Rys Rising represent the efforts of many adult years.

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