Today we're bringing something different to Writing in the Modern Age in the form of a character interview. These character interviews, now and in the future, should prove to be very enlightening for all of us.
We have the pleasure of meeting Hope Fairmont, a character from The Healer. We'll get a chance to talk to the author, C.J. Anaya, in a bit, but now we have on the stage...Hope!
Marie Lavender: Hello, Hope. Please have a seat.
Character Hope Fairmont: Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here.
Character Hope Fairmont: Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here.
Marie: We're going to start out with some simple questions, okay?
Marie: So, what is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?
Hope: I am currently living the life of a glamorous janitor at the hospital where my father works. I know most teenagers go for fast food places or working in restaurants, but I have a specific, sort of undercover, reason for being there. I have this ability to heal people by connecting with their life force. I’m not always able to help those with life threatening illnesses or injuries. If it’s a person’s time to go, then I can’t fix what’s broken, but for those people who can be saved, I’m there in a heartbeat to make it happen. Now as far as being good at my job goes…cleaning is cleaning. I’m not OCD or anything, but I get the job done. I love being in the hospital because I am able to help so many patients there. Though there is one patient in particular I visit on a regular basis. My ten-year-old friend, Kirby, has Leukemia and there’s really nothing I can do about it, though I fight every day to find some way to heal him. He’s the closest thing to a brother I have, and I see him every day.
Marie: I see. So sorry to hear about Kirby.
So, what is your family like?
Hope: My mother was killed when I was ten. Shot in the chest, but not something I couldn’t have healed. I just didn’t get to her in time. It still haunts me…you know? She was right there just inches from me, and suddenly her spirit was gone. I don’t know that there are words that can convey to anyone the quiet, gentle strength or patient love that my mother held for me. Simply put, she was the best, and I couldn’t save her.
My father is wonderful, caring, understanding and one hundred percent overprotective. That has a lot to do with my gift, however. He doesn’t want anyone finding out about it because of the specific ramifications that would no doubt follow us wherever we fled to. The government would probably hook me to test tubes and monitor my brain for irregularities, and other people might use me for monetary gain.
I’ve heard it all before, and though I do my best to keep a low profile…well, I can’t help but do everything I can to end the suffering and pain of those that I come in contact with. That’s just the healer in me.
Hope: Clean, comfortable and homey. I’ve lived in the same house all of my life. A small two-story structure that has been my sanctuary. It has the usual things like family photos, well-used furniture and just enough clutter to obviously be lived in.
Marie: Do you have any hobbies? What do you enjoy doing?
Hope: When I heal someone, I tend to absorb their emotions and internal struggles. This can become very taxing for me personally because I have to let those feelings run their course before letting them go. The best way to deal with that is through songwriting. I try to convey those emotions through music, and then I usually go sing the song with a fun band I joined a few years ago at this café called Expresso. I’m not a bad singer or songwriter for that matter, and I enjoy the normality of it all.
Marie: Wow. It sounds like a great creative outlet for you!
So, what is your greatest dream, Hope?
Hope: Save everyone! I’m so sick and tired of running into people that are meant to die. I’m not interested in playing God’s role, I simply get frustrated, and almost feel guilty or worthless when I can’t heal someone that I feel should remain on the earth. I don’t like the limitations my gift forces upon me.
Marie: Yes, I can see how difficult that would be.
Let's try something else.
What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
Hope: I wish I could be normal. I would never trade my gift for healing in a million years, but every once in a while I just wish that my worries and concerns could revolve around things that are about as monumentally important as who is currently hooking up with who and which dress to wear for prom.
Marie: That makes sense.
So...who was your first love?
Hope: I’ve never had a first love, but today in school I ran into two new guys that have me feeling very confused. I’m almost positive I know one of them…Tie Hart is his name. I sense that he knows me too, but there is just something not right about the whole situation. I feel like Tie, and this other new guy, Victor, are waiting for me to do something or behave like someone they know. It’s eerie, and creepy and a little exhilarating.
Marie: Wow! That is strange. Now I want to find out the truth too.
So, what's the most terrible thing that ever happened to you, Hope?
Hope: I touched on the subject of my mother, and I really don’t want to talk about it anymore. Nothing more to be said, really.
Marie: Yes, I'm so sorry for your loss, Hope.
Let's try something else, shall we?
What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
Hope: I’m interested in a medical degree. I would have a legitimate reason to be closer to patients that way, and so my goal is to go to medical school. I doubt I will struggle with the classes or the work load, considering I know more about the human body and how it functions than any other doctor on the planet. I’m not trying to be egotistical here. I’m simply stating a fact.
Marie: Well, that's a worthy goal.
So, who is your role model?
Hope: My parents, though I wish I could be a little more like my best friend Angie. She is completely spontaneous and never thinks anything through before impulsively going off and getting herself into one scrape after another. She has saved me from my own serious self more times than I can count.
Marie: Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?
Hope: Nah. Who has time for that? If there are people out there that I don’t mesh with, I simply avoid them, but I usually spend all of my time with Angie, Kirby, my father and the patients at the hospital. Wow. I am so boring.
Marie: (Laughs.) Let's try another question.
What is your deepest desire?
Hope: I think I would love to be in love, and find someone I could share my gift with. I really don’t know how dating will ever work for me. I mean…how do I explain what I can do to someone who will most likely look at me as if I am a freak? What if they tell someone or turn me into the government? I want that kind of happiness, but I just don’t think it’s meant to be. I think about Tie, though. A lot.
Marie: (Smiles.) One more question...
So, what is your greatest fear?
Marie: Oh. I can understand some of your fears, but I doubt you're unlovable. Look at all you have done to help people. Who can't admire that?
Well, it looks like we're running out of time, Hope. Thank you for visiting us today.
Hope: Thanks for having me.
Of course! I wish you luck with everything. It was so interesting getting to know you. (Waves at her guest as she heads off the stage.)
Now, let's shift over and get the author's perspective. We have C.J. Anaya on the stage today! Hi, C.J.!
Author C.J. Anaya: Hey there. It's nice to be visiting.
Marie: (Smiles.) Welcome to Writing in the Modern Age.
We just got to talk to the heroine of your story, Hope. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?
Marie: All right.
So, what are your character's greatest strengths?
Marie: Wow. That is a huge responsibility.
What are her greatest weaknesses?
C.J.: She takes no thought for herself or her safety, and though I would also call this a strength, she is ruled by her heart in every facet of her life. It will bring her joy, but with that will come some serious heartbreak.
Marie: I see.
So, what are some of her favorite foods?
C.J.: Hope loves a good bowl of cereal and a yummy cheeseburger and fries from Expresso.
Marie: Well, I certain love all of those too, but not together! (Laughs.)
So, what's a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
Marie: Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
C.J.: Readers will love her. You can’t help but love someone as kind and caring as Hope. She has fire and a little rebellious streak when it comes to taking care of those she loves. What’s not to like about that?
Marie: (Winks.) I agree.
Well, now that we have a real taste of Hope, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.
What first gave you the idea for The Healer?
C.J.: I had this insane dream about a spirit trapped in a Japanese statue. It bothered me after I woke up, not knowing what had happened or why that spirit was there. I couldn’t let it rest until I had come up with a satisfactory answer, and by the time I did, I realized I had a pretty interesting story to tell.
Marie: Oh! Well, that's cool!
C.J.: A little of both, actually. I really have to have things outlined with note cards and every scene has to be listed. That doesn’t mean I stick to it, though, and I often find the story taking a turn I hadn’t planned on. I just go with the flow when that happens and don’t worry too much about sticking to the original plan.
So, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing The Healer or getting it published? What would you do differently the next time?
C.J.: I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, and so writing The Healer took a long time. When I joined a writing group and went to writing workshops, I received some excellent advice and pointers. I would recommend any serious authors out there to go join a writing group and begin taking creative writing classes in whatever genre you write in. Also, I have found that there are pros and cons to both self-publishing and signing with a publisher. I enjoy both processes and intend to continue doing both, but in order to find a publisher that’s right for you, it is important to do your research and see what kind of books they are publishing. Take a few classes on writing query letters so that you can get out of the slush pile so to speak when it comes to publishers and agents having a reason to request your manuscript. You can learn these things in writing groups as well or begin by Googling the process.
Marie: That's great advice!
Well, it was such a pleasure having you here on Writing in the Modern Age, C.J. We hope you can come back sometime! :)
Readers, I hope you all get a chance to pick up a copy of this awesome book!
Here is the blurb for The Healer.