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From Character Interrogation to Novella: Talia's Story

I first wrote this story on July 26, 2022, during my writing group. We have daily prompts and exercises that help us build our skills and reignite our love for storytelling. Often, I have no idea where the prompts will take me or what they will reveal. This time was no exception. The prompt was 'Character Interrogation.' As I delved into my character, she revealed, 'I have my own story.'

At the time, I thought it was about the story I was writing, Prophecy Trilogy: Portal. However, fast-forward to November 2023, and I realize she (my character) meant she had her own novella. It’s a love story featuring her battle with love and affection. This novella, releasing on Valentine's Day 2024 is a first for me. It's the first book in the series not featuring the Chosen One, Tabatha, as the main lead. It also will be my first human-narrated audiobook, by the wonderful Tiana Holley.

Having an audio narrator has been a dream of mine. Working with her has been a fun and educational experience in the world of narration. I look forward to more collabs on the horizon!

The release day is a little far away, but if you want a sneak peek of Head Rush (available for pre-order), here's a teaser introducing the main character, Talia. This is the prompt 'Character Interrogation' that unknowingly stirred the creative wheels and began the process of exploring Talia's story.

Character Interrogation

I, the author, enter the room and take my place opposite her, my character.

Her eyes stalk me like a cat watching a mouse. I clear my throat and look at my first question.

“Okay, are you ready to begin?” I say, almost intimidated by her gaze.

Not missing a beat, she says, “A warrior must always be ready.”

Adjusting my glasses, I sigh. “State your name for the record.”

“You know my name. You created me.”

“Can you just answer the question?”

Silence as her eyes continue to assess me.

I sigh louder and write her name in the box: Talia.

“So, Talia. My first question is, why do you try to take up so much space? You’re a side character. We need to focus on Tabatha.”

The corners of her mouth shift into a smirk.

“You think I would fall prey to a weaker woman.”

“I’m not saying that.”

“You think I would shrink for anyone? I would not even shrink for Eli,” she scoffs.

“We’re getting nowhere. I’ll rephrase the question. Why are you aggressive all the time?”

Her eyes narrow and her shoulders stiffen. I feel beads of sweat form around my brow under her intense gaze.

“Aggressive? You think my boldness is aggressive? You see my strength as some weapon. You fool, it is my tool. It is not my folly that you failed to see how strong you created me. Build better characters.”

I wince and mumble, “Meanie.”

She folds her arms and settles in her chair.

I look back at my clipboard attempting to gather control of the situation when she speaks.

“You did not do well enough by me. You only let them see the mean side of me. There is more to me; I have my own story.”

“I know.”

“They don’t know!” she shouts back at me.

“Listen, you have to work with me. I’m new at this gig, and I’m trying. I think the reader sees you’re not all bad. I am sure they enjoy the scenes with you as a mother or wife. Those are your greatest moments in my opinion.”

Pulling her braid in front of her, she looks off in the distance.

Leaning back in my chair, I turn the clipboard over. “What do you want from me? Clearly you have taken control and have something to say, so just say it.”

She returns her gaze to me, softer this time. “I don’t want to be soft. Treated as some maiden that learns to submit her strength. I don’t want to be Tabatha. I want to remain Talia.”

It is my turn to smirk.

“I have no intention of turning you into a Tabatha replica, just like I don’t want Tabatha to become you. You both are to show the versatility and spectrum of strength and vulnerability. Neither right, neither wrong. My hope is that you’ll learn to be more vulnerable without trading strength.”

The timer beeps. 

Talia rises. I try to stop her, but she says, “That’s all for now.” 

Then silence.