My mother was the one who really introduced me to the world of monsters, although she probably won’t fess up to it. Her love of such classics as “Tarzan” “Clash of the Titans” and any Sinbad film were probably my introductory level into the paranoramal and fanstique. Minotaurs, griffons, gorgons and the kraken, sabertooths, serpents, flying horses and such planted seeds in my imagination that I simply could not shake. I can recall writing stories and sketching monsters from as early as ten.
If I could point to one work as being the most inspirational to me as a writer it would have to be Clive Barker’s “Nightbreed.” I adore literally everything about the tale of a man who believes that he is a monster, but discovers what a true monster is. The film and the novel speak to the power of perception and the reality of what true monsters are, and of course the so-called freaks bear more humanity than any of the so called humans. Before there was paranormal was popular, Clive gave life to characters of spectacular design, beautiful horror and wild depths.
Is it a paradox that a being who looks like a demon complete with horns has more compassion than a priest or that psychiatrist can do more damage than a hulking beast? The themes fascinate me and have done so throughout my undergraduate studies of lauded and award-winning writers and onto my career as a romance writer.
I have written many works, the majority of them about paranormals. My need to give them the same depth, love and development as Clive gave to his, is a definite driving force for me. I need for them to have a rich history, honor and intelligence is something that I truly hope that I portray on every page. In my novel, Thief of His Heart, I wanted to develop a culture of werecats that spanned ancient times through to contemporary, stressing the importance of their traditions to the reader as well as to the main character. The love interest of the main character, Crnswar is an intimidating force, both capable of violence, authority and love.
I have written about werewolves, vampires, demons, sorcerers and even gargoyles (and will again soon) but their outward appearances are just beautiful drapes, that they love and honor and respect one another is what I fight for and ultimately what I as an author seek to define.
When I take on a monster for a novel or short story, I ask myself several questions, such as:
* What would they eat? Of course a werewolf would eat meat, but a gargoyle would enjoy stone.
* What would they wear? A werecat would either wear little or walk around in couture.
* How do they live? Secluded or in plain sight of humans? A sorcerer can go to the mall, but a golem couldn’t
* How do they have fun? A were might like to watch nature programs on the Discovery channel where as an ice sorcerer might take to making ice cream or carving sculptures.
* What would fascinate them? Gems might fascinate cats, Serpentoids might love music and of course werecats would like catnip.
* How do they have sex? Hehehehe, I can get carried away with this.
* If there was a store that catered only to X type of paranormals, what would it sell? Gargoyles might like loofahs, goblins might like caramel apples, a witch would love a candle store, Weres might like heated muscle relief cremes after every change.
All in all, deciding upon or creating the creature to use, while fun is something that dresses up the novel, not defines it. The creatures actions are what should stand out most of all. Yes, I write about monsters, but they are not monstrous. And yeah, Clive Barker made that evident to me in his writings, art and even films (although I think it is high time that Guillermo del Toro redid Nightbreed because only he can).
Silly perhaps, but in the realm of world-building just a few of the questions that help me to bring and breath life into my monsters.