Friday, December 17, 2010

Guest Post: Christine Schulze author of Bloodmaiden

First off, thanks to Britt for having me here today. This guest post was fun to do, and I look forward to a future interview and review of my young adult fantasy, Bloodmaiden, with her.

Well, so where to begin. I’ve done quite a few blog posts and interviews as of late, and I wanted this one to be unique, something I hadn’t already talked about several times. I decided on talking about the various races in some of my books, including Bloodmaiden, and the inspiration behind them.

In Bloodmaiden, there are four human and four dragon races spread across four dynasties. The human races actually developed after the dragon races; this was my first time writing a book heavily focusing on dragons, so I had to do a little research on various types of dragons, and from there, created my races. I am not usually that fond of dragon stories, so creating one I really liked was a fresh challenge. I believe my book to be a unique take on dragons and am quite pleased where it ended up.

But anyways, back to the races. Well, I wanted to convey a variety of real ethnicities, so I developed the races partly from there; in Zale, the people have African characteristics, though the dragons themselves have a more Chinese dragon feel, being wise, pensive, peaceful creatures.

Since I wanted to not only portray different nationalities but also various personality and character types in the dragons, our next dynasty, Gauthier, houses a more solemn, fierce, warring race of dragons. The people in turn are much more serious, and much more cautious about outsiders than their friendly Zalian cousins. Gauthier has a sort of medieval feel to it, actually.

Varden is similar to Zale; set deep within a valley, it teems with rich life, and the people there are a little more on the friendly side. Both humans and dragons love all things intellectual, especially riddling; I think I actually developed the Vardenian races partly because I wanted to include a Sphynx; I’d never used one of those either, and the concept intrigued me.

Finally, that leaves Tynan. Well, the people there are a little odd; many have ice blue skin and hair, which matches their cold climate—and, symbolically, represents the coldness of the hearts of the Tynanian dragons. But that’s all I’ll say for that; no need to ruin the story.

My other books are full of races I’ve created as well. Several are inspired by the Legend of Zelda games, my favorite gaming series ever. Its epic quests, story lines, and quirky characters have inspired many a book—or many a race. The Forest-footers, for example, are a woodsy elvish race, somewhat inspired by the Kokiri. They bear green thumbs and toes which they use to grow things. In Golden Healer, Dark Enchantress, Chrystine is Forest-footer who bears the rare golden thumb, which, if given time and proper training, can be used to heal all manner of illness and injury.

If you glance at the collage, you’ll see a picture of three dolls. Those are my Lollipop dolls; they have a slightly anime-meets-lolita feel to them. They inspired two races—the Limonions and Meleeons. Nothing special about them except their looks. Meleeons can have pink or purple hair and are actually known for being fierce warriors; the Meleeon Archipelago is famous for its pirate tales. The Limonions have darker skin and wild lime green hair; both races first appear in Loz: the Mass, second in a trilogy which has yet to find a publishing home.

Next to the dolls, you’ll see a picture of a dark-haired maiden I drew, and below the dolls, a real photo of a woman with short hair. The former is Liv, so named because her character was inspired by Arwen, played by Liv Tyler in Lord of the Rings. The latter is Dr. Gail Fleming, my choir teacher at Southwestern Illinois College who provided the inspiration for a whole series, one of my faves, teeming with magic and music: The Gailean Quartet. Liv is Mira, while Gail is Scintillate. Both races, closely related, are blessed with youthfulness; they do not age physically beyond the age of around sixteen. I believe I came up with Scintillates first, though I’m not sure; at any rate, both can be found in a story of mine, “Autumn Falls”, which I’ve published with various magazines, ezines, and in my anthology, Bloodmaiden: a Fantasy Anthology.

Finally, next to Miss Gail, we have a dog-like person. That, dear readers, is a Surpriser. The Surprisers have their own series as well, called, originally enough, The Legends of Surprisers. Surprisers started when I was around four years old, actually. I had these toys called Surprise-Surprise-Puppy-Surprise! And the little dogs and cats had these little clothes, and from there, I thought, “Why can’t Surprisers do everything like people then?” So, Surprisers became dogs and cats that do everything like people.

As I grew older, I changed some of the details that didn’t quite mesh. Why just dogs and cats? And, if I was considering these particular books Christian fantasy, I didn’t want a bunch of Christians angry that I was “supporting evolution” in my books or the like; I mean, you know how people can take stuff too far. People are still judging Harry Potter, and heck, that has a very Christian message, if you ask me.
Anyways though, I wanted something more original and that made sense anyways, something a little more mature. So, now Surprisers are seven races of people who, upon creating war amongst themselves, were punished by the three guardian fairies, Kezia, Jemimah, and Karen-Happuch. They altered their appearance, declaring that only when all seven peoples reunited in peace and stopped fighting like animals would they return to their former selves.

Well, while there are more races I could explore with you today, these are some of my favorites, and I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know my world a little bit. Thanks again so much to Britt for having me, God bless, and happy reading to all!

A big Thank You to Christine!

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