I want to introduce H.R. Kasper, author of The ShadowMaster. She is an indie (independent) author and has written a fantasy novel. Today, she is letting us peek behind the curtain and see just how she created one of her characters, Zenith. She told me he was quite the tricky character to write, so let’s see how she did it!
I knew it was going to be difficult from the beginning—that is, writing one of my most unique and troubled characters yet. His name is Zenith. He is the current ShadowMaster, meaning that he is responsible for the—for lack of a better word—souls of those of his nationality who have passed. Without a ShadowMaster controlling the Shadows, the world of Noxa would be torn apart by the very fabric of its reality. In other words, Zenith has a very, very important job.
One of the difficulties with writing Zenith was that he lived alone in a cave, with no interactions with other people. He remarks to the main characters that he does not have a family, nor does he remember any place being home besides his lonely cave. His only friends for years have been the Shadows, which speak to him through his mind (only Zenith can hear them). As I realized this the thought occurred to me that Zenith would seem a lot like someone who has gone quite mad. He is startled when people speak aloud, he has trouble interacting, and he has numerous (seemingly) one-sided conversations. As I wrote him I did my best to make him eccentric, on the edge of eerie, but somehow endearing in his own way. Yet even this was not the biggest challenge that I faced with writing Zenith.
In an early chapter of The ShadowMaster, Zenith has his first lapse of control. There are so many Shadows that they can penetrate his mind and control him from the inside out. If they were in agreement with Zenith’s decisions, this would not be very much of a problem. But they vehemently oppose his choices, and thus is born an extensive struggle.
This, by far, was the greatest trial in my characterization with him. What does one do when one is not always in control of one’s own mind and body? What kind of mental impact would that have if you knew a lapse of your control could occur at any moment? Most scary of all, how would you feel if you could sense your consciousness slowly being taken over?
These are all questions I asked while continuing to form Zenith’s personality. As the story progressed, I saw the effects of his condition manifest themselves—such as growing anxiety and guilt for things he had done while being controlled by the Shadows. My other characters were also deeply shaped by the limits and struggles of their comrade, by the constant battle he waged in the expanse of his own mind. This conflict, combined with other things, brought the tension to new levels, especially in a few particular scenes.
As hard as writing a character like Zenith was, it was a fantastic learning experience. It gave me new perspective and some interesting thoughts to muse over regarding control and mental consciousness. I also have a more well-founded respect for people who fight battles in their minds during everyday life. Zenith is a testament to the fact that the invisible battles are the hardest fought and the most difficult. He has become one of my favorite characters, owing to his great courage and resilience against something so horrifying. I do hope he intrigues and inspires my readers…from when he first appears in The ShadowMaster until the end of his character arc in the books to come.
Readers, you can find her book on sale at Amazon, and if you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read her book for FREE! If you want to know more about H. R., you can view her Goodreads profile here. She has a pretty cool website too, check that out here.