Thank you to The Novel Approach for the opportunity to talk about my new book, Inside His Reflection, and one of the main characters, Elijah Benson.
Inside His Reflection went through several plot changes before I settled on the one that clicked. This isn’t unusual for me. All my books are written in this haphazard manner. I change my mind to the point the finished product is completely different to the story I intended to write. Due to this, my characters change, develop personalities, decide they don’t want to play well with ideas I had, and throw me curveballs. Elijah did this to me many times.
Elijah is a man living with the pain of a horrendous past. Blamed and demonised for crimes he didn’t commit, and a survivor of a brutal murder attempt. Given this, he’s also a man who plays his cards close to his chest, trusts no one, and is a loner. His personality comes across as brusque, sometimes arrogant, in spite of this not being his true self. It’s a coping mechanism, however it has made him unlikable to most people. Which, when creating such a character, runs the dangerous risk of making them unlikable to a reader, too.
My challenge with Elijah was to clearly create a mystery around him within the first few pages. Create a standoffish arrogance, but also add layers to hint there was a lot more to him. To show that even though he may not have smiled, laughed, or shown much emotion, there was a sense of humour beneath an icy exterior. If there was nothing other than haughty arrogance, why would my second main character, Harry, be interested in a second date? And, why would a reader care about Elijah if he simply came across as a tosser? I used to joke on Facebook that I have an evil love of torturing my characters, and Elijah was my most tortured of all. It is, in fact, true. Given this, the last thing I wanted to do to the poor guy was make him so irritating that no one could stand reading more than a few pages of his company!
Elijah is a complex personality, and that made him a challenging character to create and write. It also made him a challenging character to create a 3D digital model of. Each fictional character in my books and works in progress have their own 3D digital model. I craft them and use them in artworks, like movie storyboards. This alone can take weeks of work in Daz Studio and Photoshop to get the first model of a character at a stage where it matches well with how I’ve imagined them in my mind. After that, it’s an evolving process over more weeks or even months. With Elijah, each scar on his face was taken from real photographs of scars, and then Photoshopped onto the 3D model skin texture. A tedious, time consuming project.
When someone asks my favourite character from the books I’ve written, it’s a bit like asking me to choose a favourite child. Or, in my case, a favourite four-legged furkid. My favourite is usually the characters I’m working with at the time. But, Elijah is special to me because of his strength, his ability to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and to be able to fall in love when his life had been surrounded by so much hate. If you read Inside His Reflection, I hope Elijah touches your heart, too.
INSIDE HIS REFLECTION ~ Zathyn Priest
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Cover Art: Scarlet Tie Designs
Genre: M/M, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: Mild. *Please Note* This book contains no sex scenes.
Purchase Link: Wilde City Press
BLURB: A blind date leaves Harry reeling, and another date goes as badly. Scars on Elijah’s face are clues of a broken soul, yet Harry can’t walk away. Not even when he learns Elijah sees a dead man in mirror reflections.
Elijah’s sanity snaps. Blamed for crimes he didn’t commit, Elijah has already survived a brutal murder attempt and now hides under a Protection Program. Harry must have faith he is innocent and fight for Elijah’s stolen rights. Can Harry do this without losing his mind, his own rights, and the man he loves?
Author Bio: Zathyn Priest is an award winning Australian MM fiction author and cover artist. His published novels include Inside His Reflection, Amara: The Rebirth, The Curtis Reincarnation, The Slayer’s Apprentice, and Liquid Glass. He has also written short fiction, The Statue, Left of Centre, and One of Those Days. Zathyn’s new graphic novella, HAI-21, will be available early 2016.
Zathyn discovered digital art five years ago when he wanted to create 3D models of his own fictional characters. The hobby turned into another passion, and then into pre-made cover art business, Scarlet Tie Designs. He now creates original artwork book covers, website artworks, and poster artworks.
Sitting in an office all day in front of a computer does not match Zathyn’s restless soul. Therefore, he also attends classical ballet and jazz burlesque dance classes, with the ambition to turn boylesque/burlesque into a part-time career.