Welcome to another interview with our wonderful SPFBO authors. The next lucky victim (coughs) is Emerald Dodge with her book Battlecry.
First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you write?
I’m Emerald Dodge, author of superhero urban fantasy! I’m a Navy wife, mother of two charming little boys, and generally a bit of a daydreamer. When I’m not writing, I’m wrangling the kids, baking (I make the best bread in the world), and studying Tudor history.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
It’s hard to put into words…I think my “method,” if you can call it that, for developing plots is simply “make it bigger.” I like BIG concepts and BIG stakes. I don’t write fights, I write battles. But if it’s a battle, it should be a war. And if it’s a war, it’ll be a multi-generational conflict that…well, you get the idea. No romance should be easy. No friendship should be casual. I like big.
Character-wise, I like my characters to be complex and just so slightly damaged. Happiness is boring.
Tell us about your current project.
I’m currently finishing up the final book in my Battlecry series, Mercury. I’ve spent two books building up the big showdown between the reformed criminal character and his family—who feel a tad betrayed by him—and now the stakes have never been higher. In the background, the superhero leadership structure is falling apart and everything’s in chaos. On top of all that, a main character is dying and nobody knows what will happen. It’s all very exciting.
Who would you say is the main character of your novels? And tell me a little bit about them!
My main character, and narrator of 2/3 of the trilogy, is Jillian Johnson, whose codename is Battlecry. (Roll credits!) Like all superheroes, she was raised in a cult-like camp that essentially brainwashed her. She couldn’t receive an education, watch television or movies, read books, or interact with civilians in any way. But she’s always had a spark of rebelliousness; in high school, she’d be the girl smoking in the bathrooms just because they said she couldn’t.
For all her rebelliousness, though, she’s incredibly dedicated to saving people—that’s her thing: she saves people. So what’s she gonna do when she realizes that the people that need saving are herself and her teammates?
What advice would you give new writers on how to delve into creative fiction?
Write what you like to read! You’ll be more excited about it.
What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the worldbuilding within your book?
I pulled equally from my own experiences with the US military, and a few religious paracult organizations I had encountered while growing up. I didn’t grow up in a cult, but there were people in my broader social circle who did, and I was weirdly fascinated by them.
What inspires you to write?
I write to entertain and provide distraction from whatever it is in people’s lives that makes them unhappy. I was a melancholy kid, and books were my usual escape. I want to give back.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Truthfully, saying goodbye to my characters as I finish up the series. I’ve had them in my head for four years, and I feel like I know them.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
At the end of the second book, Sentinel, Jillian delivers the metaphorical death blow to the Big Bads of the series. She doesn’t do it with fists or superpowers, but in a way that’s so much more damaging and permanent. And it was delicious.
Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
I learned that I could write a book that people liked to read. And then when I finished the sequel, I learned that I could do it again. That kind of confidence can only be gained through experience.
It’s sometimes difficult to get into understanding the characters we write. How do you go about it?
Mercury, the third book in the trilogy, is from a man’s perspective. I consult heavily with my husband as I go through the draft, and he coaches me on how a man would think/feel in various situations.
What are your future project(s)?
After I wrap up the Battlecry series, I’m going to start writing an urban fantasy series that I’ve been planning for more than ten years. It’ll be about two friends, one human, one a fairy, and they have to band together to figure out who is murdering children in their hometown. While doing so, they are pulled into the world war that has torn the fairy world apart—and is now bleeding into the human world.
If you couldn’t be an author, what ideal job would you like to do?
I’d obtain an esthetician license and work in a fancy spa.
What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
I prefer to hear from my readers on Tumblr! https://emeralddodge.tumblr.com
I also have a Twitter: https://twitter.com/emerald_dodge
Battlecry can be purchased on Amazon here: