Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Welcome Guest Alayna Williams - Author of Dark Oracle! Enter to Win!
By Alayna Williams
For DARK ORACLE, I took a different approach to profiling my heroine, Tara. I didn't use any tried-and-true psychological or literary approaches. Instead, I did what Tara would.
I used Tarot cards.
Tara Sheridan swore off criminal profiling after narrowly escaping a serial killer who left her scarred for life. By combining Tarot card divination with her own intuition, find a missing scientist who has unlocked the destructive secrets of dark energy.
The card that came up most often in my random drawings to represent Tara was the Queen of Swords. The Queen of Swords depicts a woman staring pensively into a stormy sky. She’s lifting sword as if it’s quite sharp, and extends her hand as if she’s cut herself with it. The swords, in general, represent intellect. The Queen of swords traditionally represents sadness and mourning or a particularly clever woman. I always associated her with the Snow Queen from fairy tales – cold, isolated, withdrawn. The Queen of Swords became the significator for Tara - an image that focused the rest of my Tarot card readings. Throughout writing DARK ORACLE, whenever I was stuck or needed more information, I'd draw a random card from my Tarot card deck as a story prompt.
I wanted to learn more about the mental, physical, and spiritual challenges facing Tara. So I drew three cards to symbolize the metal, physical, and emotional challenges facing her in the story.
For Tara's mental challenge, I drew the eight of swords. It shows a woman blindfolded and surrounded by sharp swords. The traditional meaning of this card involves imprisonment, crisis and bad news. Tara survived an attack by a serial killer years ago, and the event has left her scarred and in self-imposed exile. Her mental challenge will be to break out of the cycle of the past and see the future.
For Tara's physical challenge, I drew the Tower. The Tower depicts lightning striking a tower and people falling to the ground. The Tower represents the case Tara has been asked to work on, an explosion of a particle accelerator. A scientist who's unlocked the secrets of dark energy has gone missing, and his disappearance could dangerously affect the balance of power in the world.
For Tara's spiritual challenge, I drew the Lovers. It shows a man and woman in an embrace. Tara falls for the federal agent, Harry Li, who's working the missing scientist case. And she falls hard. But she struggles with giving herself over to a relationship, with learning to trust again. When he discovers her unorthodox methods, will Harry be able to trust Tara?
Even Tara can't see that far into the future with her Tarot cards. She'll have to find out by experiencing these challenges, one by one.
Alayna Williams has an MA in sociology-criminology (research interests: fear of crime and victimology) and a BA in criminology. She has worked in and around criminal justice since 1997. Although she does read Tarot cards, she's never used them in criminal profiling or to locate lost scientists. She recently took up astronomy, but for the most part her primary role in studying constellations and dark matter is to follow her amateur astronomer-husband around central Ohio toting the telescope tripod and various lenses. More info is at http://www.alaynawilliams.com/
"Alayna" is also known as Laura Bickle, the author of Embers from Pocket Juno.
What about you - Have you ever tried Tarot Cards? Had your palm read or your future told? Did you read Embers from Alayna's alter ego Laura Bickle? What did you think? (I LOVED IT) Let us know and you'll be entered to win a copy of Dark Oracle from Alayna Williams!
Sorry, contest open to US and Canadian residents only.