Two Worlds. One Future.
Welcome to the October 31st stop on the blog tour for Emissary by E.B. Brooks with Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.
Author Guest Post
The Astrology of Characters
One of the most useful and enjoyable tools I’ve learned to use for character design and development is astrology. As a model for personality and psychology, astrology (I use Babylonian astrology since it’s what I’m most familiar with, but any system would work) has an incredibly vast and deep-rooted body of literature to draw on. It’s fairly common knowledge in the Western world: most people would be able to say what their Sun sign is, for example.
And because we’re dealing with fictional characters here, there’s not even a debate over whether astrology offers “real” utility!
So what do I mean when I say I use it for character design and development? Let’s start with design, using my main characters for Emissary, Ewan O’Meara and Treanna (Tree) Rothchild, as examples. Sun signs are a good place to begin, since people understand that is supposed to represent one’s outward personality. Ewan’s an adventurer in a world that allows people to die and respawn as many times as they need, so Sagittarius (who lives and dies by bold leaps and decisions) is a natural fit for him. Treanna is secretive and slow to trust, and her anger emerges in violent bursts. That makes her a classic Scorpio. With that in mind, their birthdays are straightforward to put in place: December and November, respectively.
But Emissary is a story about two worlds, and that makes room for another key sign for each character to have. In astrology, the Ascendant is the sign on the eastern horizon at one’s birth, and like the Sun sign, it describes a person’s overall nature. Unlike the Sun, which gives outward appearance and expression, the Ascendant gives one’s true, real self, qualities only recognizable by people who really take the time to know them. In Emissary, Treanna’s world is the perfect choice for such signs to manifest, and Ewan and Tree both show signs that add extra tension for them. For Ewan, the Sagittarian adventurer becomes a Piscean dreamer, someone who’s looking at things from an angle beyond the real world. That gives Ewan a lot of difficulty, as he attempts to prove himself and his worldview to everyone he meets. For Treanna, the Scorpionic mystery is revealed as a Leonine princess in her own right, because in her world, or rather, the Centre in which she lives, she wields an inherited authority that puts her at odds with anyone who disagrees with her stances or methods. Most of the people in her world would readily say arguing with Tree is an unpleasant experience, but Ewan has the resiliency and impulse to do so, especially when defending what he thinks is right. In astrological terms, the pairings of Sagittarius/Pisces and Scorpio/Leo are both square aspects (because the signs form a right angle on the zodiac wheel), the most charged and tense aspects possible. But moving across worlds, the Sagittarius/Leo and Pisces/Scorpio aspects are the most harmonious: trines. And sure enough, despite all the tension and fighting Ewan and Tree do with one another, they each have a strong sympathy for the other. Just maybe not in the current situation. Tree as a leader values Ewan as a brave hero; Ewan as a dreamer can empathize with the deep emotional scars that drive Tree.
The fun need not stop with initial character design, though! Emissary is the first book of a quintet, and every character grows and changes throughout. In astrology, this growth can be expressed by “progressions” where one’s initial signs move forward along the zodiac, adding new layers to existing traits (but not replacing them). For Ewan, the Sagittarius/Pisces progresses into Capricorn/Aries, as Ewan grapples with the world Tree shows him and all the hard work it takes to survive, and he makes a name for himself, becoming (in)famous in the Centre for it. Treanna’s Scorpio/Leo progresses into Sagittarius/Virgo, which furthers her own sympathy (and tension) with Ewan as she reveals the bold choices she made in the Centre, and she takes the successes born from their work and does the hard, patient work of managing the result. Their tensions and sympathies still drive them, but their experiences give them a richer base.
For an epic tale, though, the tension can’t be simply between the two leads. Fortunately, Emissary’s villain, the so-called Diamond Lord, provides the perfect complement to Ewan. The Diamond Lord’s identity is a secret, but unlike Tree’s Scorpionic need, his secrecy is a Geminian game, taking glee in manipulating others. He is meticulous, patient, exacting: all Virgoan traits. So where Ewan is Sagittarius/Pisces, the Diamond Lord is Gemini/Virgo. All four signs square or oppose the others, resulting in the single most charged formation in all astrology: the Grand Cross. All four signs are mutable in quality, and this bears out because the fundamental conflict between Ewan and the Diamond Lord is one of how to change the world(s). Does one take the risk of trying to improve things, or does one guide it all to a merciful death? When the tension is resolved, the world is changed forever.
There you have it! Astrology provides a wildly fun framework for characters and relationships. And while I can’t prove it, I suspect other authors have used this, consciously or otherwise. Try picking a story where characters’ birthdays are given, and see how well they line up. Look for other Grand Crosses of different qualities; what would the central conflict of a fixed Grand Cross be? A cardinal?
Thank you for reading. I’ve only touched the barest bits here; there’s a ton on elemental qualities that would easily take up another blog post! If you’d like to learn more about astrology as a system, I’d highly recommend Parkers’ Astrology, by Julia and Derek Parker.
About the Book
Emissary Quintet Book One
by E.B. Brooks
Published 18 April 2020
Genre: Science Fiction
Page Count: 444
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
Ewan O’Meara is no stranger to death: in recent months, he’s found his way to limbo at least once per week, much to his parents’ concern. It’s a necessary price for getting experience to become the greatest adventurer his homeland of Veridor has ever known, but the overbearing Veridian Church has him pinned down, soaking him for the penance gold to unlock his stats each time he respawns. And because the Church’s ancient war put an end to both the godlike Gems and the epic quests they once bestowed, Ewan has no better alternative.
That is, until he encounters a young woman fleeing arrest from the Church’s soldiers. At first glance, Treanna Rothchild needs it: she’s clueless about Veridian life. But she has other skills that defy Ewan’s understanding, and she knows things. Unsettling, seditious things the Church wants kept secret at any cost.
And she’s in Veridor to raise an army, to fight an enemy only she can see.
Risking both life and soul, Ewan follows Treanna where no Veridian has ever been and there is no respawning. But for him to have a chance at making a real difference in the strange, harsh world she reveals to him, he must first come to terms with it. Especially as he and Treanna discover how much it has in common with Veridor—and how much they depend on each other to survive.
New-adult science fiction, wrapped in gaming and fantasy around a hopepunk core, Emissary is an immersive, thought-provoking adventure with a little teen romance and a lot of heart.
The other party wasted no time splitting off, and before long, Ewan was stumbling down a broken street with Tree and Nathan, its surface pitted and cracked into a ghastly parody of Whitehaven’s cobblestones under the dusty sky. Sand trickled across it, ushered on by the stiff winds; it stung Ewan’s cheeks where the mask didn’t cover.
They kept an eye out for anyone else in the ruins, but it was painfully obvious to Ewan that there wasn’t anything alive in this place. Hadn’t been, for centuries.
The sand crunched underfoot as they made their way, but more trickled past to pool up against the husks of hundreds if not thousands of small metal carriages lined up along the crumbled sidewalks, apparently abandoned long ago. Most of them had frames so pitted and rusted through that Kate wouldn’t have bothered with them, and their broken wheels held only scraps of some mix of metal and rubber, an older and less durable version of Gertrude’s treads.
Overhead, the dull sunlight cast its usual yellowed tinge on the skeletons of buildings, taller by far than anything Veridor had to offer. Their steel bones, also stained red with rust, swayed ominously in the winds, threatening to join their less fortunate brothers, already toppled across the ground to block the party’s way here and there. Half-emptied window frames groaned as the wind blew through them, a haunted echo of what must have been a city bursting with activity before everyone left and the sands came in to patiently bury it all, an inch at a time.
About the Author
E.B. Brooks lives in the southeastern USA, where he splits his time between writing, research, and homesteading. He enjoys building fictional worlds, real houses, and landscape models, but he’s most at home with his wife and children, and their many, many pets.
One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $25 Amazon/BN.com gift card.a Rafflecopter giveaway
|Sept 26||Momma Says: To Read or Not to Read||Sept 28||Kenyan Poet|
|Oct 3||Sandra’s Book Club||Oct 5||Literary Gold|
|Oct 10||Readers Roost||Oct 12||The Writer’s Blog|
|Oct 17||Kit ‘n Kabookle||Oct 19||Sybrina’s Book Blog|
|Oct 24||Beyond Romance||Oct 26||Gina Rae Mitchell|
|Oct 31||Westveil Publishing||Nov 2||The Avid Reader|
|Nov 7||FUONLYKNEW||Nov 9||fundinmental|
|Nov 14||Fabulous and Brunette||Nov 16||Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews|
|Nov 21||Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!||Nov 28||Author Deborah A. Bailey Blog|
|Nov 30||A Wonderful World of Words||Dec 5||Ilovebooksandstuffblog|
|Dec 7||Dawn’s Reading Nook||Dec 12||Author C.A.Milson|
|Dec 14||Straight From the Library||Dec 19||Hope. Dreams. Life… Love|
|Dec 21||Our Town Book Reviews||Jan 2||The Faerie Review|
|Jan 4||It’s Raining Books||Jan 9||Wendi Zwaduk – Romance to Make Your Heart Race|
|Jan 11||travel the ages||Jan 16||Long and Short Reviews|
Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.