I am over the moon to be on the blog tour for Banished by Liz De Jager! Her debut novel will be published this week and I think you will all love it as much as I do. Liz is kicking off the blog tour here by revealing seven secrets about the book and the characters.
It’s really difficult writing this without giving too many spoilers, but here we go:
1. The opening sequence for Banished changed very little since I first drafted it. I loved the image of this girl, sitting in a park, talking to a very handsome boy. Outwardly it would seem innocent and sweet. You can tell that he likes her and you can tell that she’s flattered. But it’s all a ploy because really, she’s presenting herself a victim, so that she fight back and give him his dues.
2. I come from a huge family, I’m the youngest of six kids. My dad was one of eleven. So I’ve ALWAYS been around loads of cousins and nieces and nephews. But there was also this disconnect because I never actually got to know my cousins really well. When I conceived this idea of Kit joining this massive family called the Blackharts, I really portrayed what I felt going to visit my aunts and uncles. All these people whom I should know and yet don’t. It was very awkward and strange, even if we were family.
3. From the outset people assumed that Banished would have a love triangle. I mean, there’s Kit, my main character. Then Thorn, the young Fae Prince she rescues and then, later, they meet up with Aiden Garrett, the werewolf boy. And hey, two boys and one girl obviously means love triangle, right? No. I wanted to show how a girl can be friends with a boy and it can be a bit flirty, with lots of laughter, but it’s friendship. True friendship. Someone you can totally rely on to have your back in a battle. He’s the guy who drives you nuts because he’s got a smart mouth but because of everything you’ve been through together, the bond that binds you is stronger than romantic love. It’s a kind of family bond even if they aren’t actually family. And to me that bond is between Kit and Thorn and Aiden. But here’s the thing: it’s also between Thorn and Aiden. Aiden is constantly annoying Thorn because it’s just how he is, especially with his brothers. This means he sees Thorn as family and it’s kinda sweet and funny because Thorn’s grown up very differently to the chaos of the human world.
4. The fight sequences in Banished are very close to my heart. I love action movies. I watched a lot of them growing up and still distinctly remember watching Bruce Lee’s Enter The Dragon sitting in the garden with all my friends around me, the film being projected against our garage wall. I knew the fights had to be described well, for my own sanity. So I relied on Mark who’s had a lot of martial arts training but also I spoke to his swordmaster, David Rawlings from the London Longsword Academy - http://www.londonlongsword.com/page2.html - who explained to me how sickle fights worked and other little details like knife fights and such. Most of the fights I write about have been tried out. I have the bruises to prove it.
5. I use a lot of lore and mythology in Banished. I have an entire two bookcases dedicated to books on mythology and fairy tale lore and the occult. It’s something I’ve always been interested in and really, with bookshops like Foyles, Watkins and Blackwells on my doorstep, I’ve become addicted to buying them and reading them. My Fae are heavily Norse and Scandinavian influenced with smatterings of Celtic lore tossed in for my wolves and of course there’s a bit of antediluvian lore too. Basically, the Blackharts will use whatever lore they can find at their disposal and use it to figure out the cases they’re on. And so will I. Book 2 has more Fae lore and book 3 I’m hoping to pack full of Russian and Japanese lore.
6. When I met with my agent, Juliet Mushens, for the first time to talk about The Blackhart Legacy it was one of the scariest moments of my life. We chatted for ages and then we got talking about edits she’d like me to do. And basically we realised that one major player had to be written out of the book. I knew, at the back of my mind, that I’d have to do it but I needed someone tougher than me to tell me to do it. Juliet was adamant.
If we kept this character in…it would become his book and so, I went back home, terrified out of my mind and I deleted and rewrote huge scenes in which this character was pivotal. And, I hope it’s worked.
7. I have playlists for my characters, for certain scenes and general writing playlists. It’s such a Pavlovian response now that, if the music comes onto shuffle onto my ipod, I feel the need to stop whatever I’m doing and go and write. This can’t be a bad thing, right? Also: just as a teaser: Book 2 (Vowed) is hugely influenced by music. Just saying.
Thanks Liz for sharing your secrets.
Banished is published by Tor Books on the 27th February 2014
To find out more about Liz De Jager: