Thursday, October 25, 2018


As writers, we’re always eager to explore backstory and on the lookout for new ways to enrich characterization. When beginning my new release, PRINCE OF DREAMS, 4th in the spin off House of Terriot books and #14 (!) in the over-arcing By Moonlight dark paranormal shapeshifter series, my well was fairly dry when it came to getting to know Ophelia Brady, the heroine for my youngest Terriot prince. I knew the premise, had the meet cute from an earlier book but I didn’t have a handle on what would make her unique. Sound familiar? The answer was too simple. It was written in the cards. Literally! 

As one of the many teens fascinated by the otherworldly, I’d explored card reading on the periphery (I still have my The Tarot Revealed by Eden Grey purchased in the late ‘60s) and my interest rekindled through critique partner and later my Tell-Tale publisher, Elizabeth Alsobrooks/Fortin who used to do spreads for me whenever we’d get together (and still videos them for me!). Arwen Lynch was a delightful guest in one of my Haunted Halloween Open Houses several years ago, and I followed her weekly three card readings for my astrological sign (Gemini, of course!). I’d gotten to know Tarot expert and Professional Joy Seeker (don’t you just love that!) Arwen Lynch, loooong ago through RWA’s FF&P loop. When Arwen put out the call for authors willing to do a video reading to help launch her book Mapping the Hero’s Journey with Tarot: 33 Days to Finish Your Book, I forced myself (being phobically camera shy!) to volunteer. I can safely say that experience half wrote PRINCE OF DREAMS! 

During our on computer cam session, we explored what makes Ophelia tick using the Background Check spread outlined in her book. Basically, by answering questions ranging from family influences, childhood, best friend, first love, biggest secret and even criminal record (the legal assistant in me loved that one!) with the draw of a card, Arwen interpreted the card’s meaning for my heroine and I ran with it as it applied to my book. It was amazing! See for yourself:

When I sat back with the notes I’d taken, Ophelia Brady came to life in rich detail with a full-blown life before page 1, motivations and a cast of supporting friends and family. From that point on, with its in-depth exploration of the Hero’s Journey, Tarot interpretations and various spreads geared toward specific answers, Arwen’s book became a must keep handy for me alongside my growing collection of decks.

Arwen recently provided a program for my Mid-Michigan RWA chapter, delighting members with her sassy wit and keen intuitive nature while surprising them with spot on comments on their characters. I took advantage myself to ask what new something I could bring to my WIP with a hero and heroine who’d been together since 2010 and through just about everything. Her answer will provide just the shakeup I need for Max and Cee Cee in RISE BY MOONLIGHT.

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I highly recommend the addition of Mapping the Hero’s Journey with Tarot to any writers’ tool box when it comes to plot building, character development, and getting from page one to page end!
Nancy Gideon on the Web


Diane Burton said...

Thanks so much for introducing me (and the rest of the Mid-Michigan RWA chapter) to Arwen Lynch. After the meeting, I bought her book. Just that little bit (2 hours) listening to her gave me so many ideas for my stalled WIP. I have my Tarot deck and ready to get back to that story. While I don't believe in the occult per se, I do like the cards for jogging the Muse into revealing my characters.

BTW, Nancy is visiting my blog today as part of her tour for PRINCE OF DREAMS. I loved that book!

Arwen said...

Thanks so much for this mention. I loved chatting with you and with the MMRWA women.

Maureen said...

Great post! I'm fascinated by Tarot cards. I don't have any, but I'd never considered using them to stir the muse. What a neat idea.

Cara H said...

I love the paranormal/otherworldly angle myself. No matter how I try, it always crops up in my writing in some fashion!
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