The time has finally arrived! My wretched cold has (mostly) run its course, leaving me fresh-minded and capable of constructing a full sentence, so I was able to tackle something I’ve needed to address for a while: Wrapping up Puss in Boots. Before I jump into some final Puss in Boots notes, however, it is important to note that PIB has broken the ninety reviews mark, so, my dearest Champions, it is with great pleasure that I announce the final extra: The Resistance Fighters, has been unlocked! You can get the PDF HERE! I apologize for the wait, and I hope you enjoy it. (It’s longer than I initially planned, netting nine pages instead of seven, so enjoy the extra content!)
Now, for some wrap-up thoughts on writing this story. Puss in Boots was a delight to create because, even though Gabrielle ended up a princess–like Cinderella and Elle–she started out as a commoner and the bulk of the story is about achieving her dreams. (Well…her and Puss’s.) It was fun to get away from country politics , and it was surprisingly awesome to write a cat Best-Friend-Forever character. Gabrielle and Puss were dynamic, and often times Steffen would have to bulldoze his way into a scene in order to get any lines at all. It was also fun to take an earlier look at characters from previous books, and the book itself was a growing opportunity as it forced me to change the setting about every 20-30 pages. Most of my books take place in a fixed radius. PiB spanned a country and had tons of background characters, so it certainly made me grow as a writer!
And for some silly stuff…
Q: If PiB had a theme song, what would it be?
A: Oooh, “Reflections” by Taylor Davis. (Check out the music video here) I listened to this song so many times while I was writing the end of PiB. It reminds me a lot of Gabrielle’s life, and of the role she’ll play in the future.
Q: If you could make one character from PiB come to life for a day, who would you choose?
A: Surprisingly, NOT Puss. He would never stop complaining that Gabrielle wasn’t with him, and he would never stop acting superior. For somewhat similar reasons, I wouldn’t choose Steffen either. He’s great for Gabi, but to hang out with? Alone? Without his siblings to tease or Gabrielle to moon over? Not fun. Gabrielle would be a great option. She would be a ton of fun, however, she is also super adventurous, which could end badly for me. If I’m being absolutely truthful, I would probably beg until I could get King Henrik and Timo to both come to life, and then we could make fun of Steffen together. That sounds like a fun way to spend an afternoon.
Q: What is something you’ve learned while writing this book that you would like to share with aspiring writers?
A: Background characters are much more important than you think. I mentioned it a little bit above, but the biggest challenge I faced was making each village feel different. The easiest way to do that was not just to change the setting, but to make the background characters feel different as well. Usually if you read an Epic Fantasy book, villages are interchangeable. For example, taverns always have a bar-keeper and a busty serving maid, sometimes with varying physical appearances, but nothing else to distinguish them. As it was vital to make each town different, I had to invent different personalities and aspects of the characters that really stood out. Now, obviously you don’t need to give your background characters their own huge story lines, but try to make them more real and not just flat place-holders. Take Michi, for example. She was one of three innkeepers Gabrielle met, but she was easy to distinguish as she had a boatload of grandkids, knitted like crazy, and referred to her son-in-laws not by name, but number. You know very little about her, but she feels like she could be real because of minor details.
For the final wrap-up of this book, I’m holding a Character Popularity Poll, which will be open through 9/16. You can select three different characters as your favorite, however, you can only vote once…so make it count!
Personally, I’ll be surprised if Puss doesn’t win. He seemed to be a crowd favorite, although there were a few staunch Gabrielle and Steffen fans out there too, so…may the games begin! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the extra content, and take care, Champions!