Character Interview: Ralda Lawton — Features from Atonement, TN

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Available in paperback, Nook, and Kindle

Welcome to Atonement, TN everyone.

I’m giving myself a break this weekend and doing a rerun.

But first… I’m revising this post. I wanted to share something new with you, even though it has little to do with this post.  Monarch butterflies.

The butterfly is a symbol of transformation. One thing for which people who analyze books look is growth or transformation in characters. One particular character in Atonement, Tennessee changes, but that would be a spoiler, so I won’t go there. However, the heroine begins to grow, maybe even spread her butterfly wings.  Yet as in real life transformations are not always successful.

Now that I’ve tied it to this post, here’s something lovely that Google brought to my attention; a news article and a video.

What Is the Mountain of Butterflies?”

Now, back to my re-run!

This character interview was also posted two years ago.  I had just released my debut novel, Atonement, Tennessee.  

I’m delighted that many of you have been with “Teagan’s Books” that long.  For those of you who are newer, I hope you will enjoy this interview with the main character.

Character Interviews:  Ralda Lawton

Teagan:  Welcome Ralda.  Thanks for stepping outside of Atonement, Tennessee for this interview.  Forgive me if I’m not great at this – I’ve never interviewed one of my characters before.  Help me avoid giving any spoilers in this!  (I laugh.)

Ralda:  That’s no problem.  I already know that you used assorted bits of yourself not just for me, but for all the women characters in Atonement.

Teagan:  Yes, that was the only way I could write an entire novel in thirty days – for the 2012 National Novel Writing Month.  However, you are your own woman.  You’re not my alter ego, even if there is a good bit of me in your character.  But this interview is about you, not me.  So, are you really a small town girl at heart?Ralda-in-car_dreamstime_xs_28934268

Ralda:  I should have known you wouldn’t let me get away with controlling the interview.  (She jokes.)  Not exactly.  I’m more of a city girl who prefers small towns.  I don’t think that’s quite the same thing.  Despite all the crazy things that have happened since I moved to Atonement, TN, I like the town and the people.  There is always more to the people than I expect.  Plus I feel like it’s the kind of place where I never know what might happen.  I mean, it’s interesting.

Teagan:  What do you think about Gwydion?

hero-position-6468259Ralda:  Ugh!  I knew that was coming.  I try not to think about him – or Cael for that matter.  Gwydion is undeniably handsome and charming, and sometimes I admit that I’m attracted to him.  But…

Teagan:  But you don’t trust him? 

Ralda:  (She sighs and slouches back against her chair.)  I’m not a trusting soul.  When I ask him a question… it’s not that I think he’s lying.  But I always feel like he’s leaving out something; like I’m hearing a partial truth.  So how could I trust him?  Besides that, it seems like odd little things happen when he’s around.  I don’t know how to explain that, but it doesn’t help me trust him.Gate Ajar Night

Teagan:  Speaking of souls…I understand your new home has a cemetery.  (She shakes her head as if she can’t believe that herself.)  How do you feel about having a graveyard on your property?  Also, is one of the graves that of your ancestress?

Ralda:  I admit it was a creepy idea at first.  But I was so drawn to the house, Sunhold, that I tried not to think about the cemetery.  I sort of ignored the fact that it was part of my new home.

Teagan:  I’ve noticed that seems to be how you handle things that bother you – deciding not to think about them.  (She looks at me archly, but then sheepishly.)  I’m sorry – please continue.

Ralda:  I realize that – thinking about something later, is not one of the traits I get from you.  Don’t even try to figure it out.  It’s old baggage.  Like I said, at first I thought having my own cemetery was creepy, and right off the bat I had a frightening experience there.  However, I quickly came to feel protective of the old place.  It was overgrown, and unthreatening.  It has a certain kind of beauty.  It seems contemplative, peaceful, and oddly vulnerable.  There is something special about that old cemetery.Lilith standing on stone

As you know, Ralda is a nickname I chose.  My given name is Esmeralda.  One tombstone in the old cemetery has the name Esmeralda Gwynedd.  My friend and neighbor, Bethany, is absolutely determined that it is an ancestress of mine.  We’ll have to see how that plays out.  You said not to give any spoilers.

Teagan:  True.  With spoilers in mind, maybe we should leave it at that.  At least for now.  Thanks Ralda.  I know you’d much rather be in Atonement, TN than in DC talking to me.

Atonement, Tennessee is available in the following formats:

 

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Character Interviews: Lacey Hampton

veil_of_sky_open_1 copyDon’t worry.  I won’t leave you hanging with the Three Ingredients SerialEpisode-7, “E. coli, Marmite, Burner” is in progress. (Spock’s Sister and I worked out some changes to her ingredients.)  I hope everyone will be thinking of food-related ingredients to send me for future episodes.  You’re welcome to leave them in a comment. (Hint -hint.)

While you wait for the next segment of our “interactive” culinary mystery, here is another interview with one of the characters from Atonement, Tennessee. Please welcome Mrs. Lacey Hampton.

Character Interviews:  Lacey Hampton

Lacey Hampton, a resident of Atonement, Tennessee walks in, and blinds me with a thousand-watt Lacey-Barbie-1smile.  The old cliché “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” springs to mind.  Now I truly understand the initial reactions of the other characters — and the readers of the first book in the Atonement series.  The woman is disgustingly perfect.  Someone even described her as a Barbie doll.  However, I realize that so called perfection was not Lacey’s choice.  Despite the beaming smile, I see a haunted expression in her eyes.  She’s no Barbie doll.

Teagan:  Hi Lacey, it’s nice to meet you in person.

Lacey:  Why, the same here, Teagan.  Good gracious, this place is bigger than I realized.  And I thought Nashville was big… (She looks out at the city. Then cringes when a Fogy DChelicopter flies low.) I never thought about it being so noisy either.  Not that it isn’t a beautiful and amazing place…!  It’s just a lot different from Atonement, Tennessee.  A lot different!

Teagan:  Ha!  That’s okay, Lacey.  I like that you are honest about things. That’s a big part of your character.  You try to balance honesty with tact.  Could you tell the readers a little more about yourself — without giving any spoilers to the story?  (Lacey seems uncertain about how to proceed.)

For instance, people might see you as a victim in the story.  Would they be correct?

Lacey:  Heavens no!  Ummm.  But… well maybe.

Teagan:  I don’t tend to think of you as indecisive, Lacey.3 friends oval

Lacey:  It’s just that I don’t see myself as a victim.  Bad things have happened to me before the story ever begins.  Some pretty awful things…

(Her voice lowers and she glances away briefly.  Then she faces me again with that ridiculously perfect smile.)

And some bad things happen to me during the story too.  But I’m not a victim.  Well, okay… I suppose, thinking of stories and how they’re written, maybe I’m a victim in that sense.  Really, I’m more of an underdog.  Someone I hope your readers would root for.

Teagan:  That’s a great way of looking at it.  Unfortunately you get into some trouble with the authorities.

Sheriff badgeLacey:  Yes.  That was frightening for me.  It’s awful to think of getting locked up, in jail.  When all that was happening I was too upset about other things for the idea of prison to register in my mind.  I mean —

Teagan:  Remember.  No spoilers.  (I caution with a smile.  Then her phone rings and she discretely glances at the ID of the caller.)

Lacey:  Ha-ha.  Okay.  Oh goodness… That’s my attorney.  I do have an appointment with him, as soon as I get back to Atonement.  It seems like I only just got here.  I really don’t mean to cut this short.

Teagan:  I know our time for this interview was limited, Lacey.  No worries.  I also know that it’s important to you to see your… attorney.  (She grins unashamedly.)  I hope you’ll visit again another time.  Safe journey home.Bristol TN

Lacey:  Thank you, Teagan.  It’s my pleasure.  It was nice to meet you-all! (She waves to the readers and leaves.)

Directions to Atonement, Tennessee:

Take Imagination Route Amazon or Route Nook.  Enjoy the ride.

Atonement: Ralda Lawton

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Available in paperback, Nook, and Kindle

On Christmas Eve, I finally released my debut novel, Atonement, Tennessee.  With that done, I thought it would be good to re-blog the few posts I did a year ago — when I first started getting ready for the book’s (postponed) launch.  I did a couple of character interviews.  This one is with the heroine of the story.

Character Interviews:  Ralda Lawton

Teagan:  Welcome Ralda.  Thanks for stepping outside of Atonement, Tennessee for this interview.  Forgive me if I’m not great at this – I’ve never interviewed one of my characters before.  Help me avoid giving any spoilers in this!  (I laugh.)

Ralda:  That’s no problem.  I already know that you used assorted bits of yourself not just for me, but for all the women characters in Atonement.

Teagan:  Yes, that was the only way I could write an entire novel in thirty days – for the 2012 National Novel Writing Month.  However, you are your own woman.  You’re not my alter ego, even if there is a good bit of me in your character.  But this interview is about you, not me.  So, are you really a small town girl at heart?Ralda-in-car_dreamstime_xs_28934268

Ralda:  I should have known you wouldn’t let me get away with controlling the interview.  (She jokes.)  Not exactly.  I’m more of a city girl who prefers small towns.  I don’t think that’s quite the same thing.  Despite all the crazy things that have happened since I moved to Atonement, TN, I like the town and the people.  There is always more to the people than I expect.  Plus I feel like it’s the kind of place where I never know what might happen.  I mean, it’s interesting.

Teagan:  What do you think about Gwydion?

hero-position-6468259Ralda:  Ugh!  I knew that was coming.  I try not to think about him – or Cael for that matter.  Gwydion is undeniably handsome and charming, and sometimes I admit that I’m attracted to him.  But…

Teagan:  But you don’t trust him? 

Ralda:  (She sighs and slouches back against her chair.)  I’m not a trusting soul.  When I ask him a question… it’s not that I think he’s lying.  But I always feel like he’s leaving out something; like I’m hearing a partial truth.  So how could I trust him?  Besides that, it seems like odd little things happen when he’s around.  I don’t know how to explain that, but it doesn’t help me trust him.Gate Ajar Night

Teagan:  Speaking of souls…I understand your new home has a cemetery.  (She shakes her head as if she can’t believe that herself.)  How do you feel about having a graveyard on your property?  Also, is one of the graves that of your ancestress?

Ralda:  I admit it was a creepy idea at first.  But I was so drawn to the house, Sunhold, that I tried not to think about the cemetery.  I sort of ignored the fact that it was part of my new home.

Teagan:  I’ve noticed that seems to be how you handle things that bother you – deciding not to think about them.  (She looks at me archly, but then sheepishly.)  I’m sorry – please continue.

Ralda:  I realize that – thinking about something later, is not one of the traits I get from you.  Don’t even try to figure it out.  It’s old baggage.  Like I said, at first I thought having my own cemetery was creepy, and right off the bat I had a frightening experience there.  However, I quickly came to feel protective of the old place.  It was overgrown, and unthreatening.  It has a certain kind of beauty.  It seems contemplative, peaceful, and oddly vulnerable.  There is something special about that old cemetery.Lilith standing on stone

As you know, Ralda is a nickname I chose.  My given name is Esmeralda.  One tombstone in the old cemetery has the name Esmeralda Gwynedd.  My friend and neighbor, Bethany, is absolutely determined that it is an ancestress of mine.  We’ll have to see how that plays out.  You said not to give any spoilers.

Teagan:  True.  With spoilers in mind, maybe we should leave it at that.  At least for now.  Thanks Ralda.  I know you’d much rather be in Atonement, TN than in DC talking to me.

Atonement, Tennessee is available in the following formats: