• Fiona McIntosh: Voyager Author of the Month

    Fiona McIntosh was born and raised in Sussex in the UK, but also spent early childhood years in West Africa. She left a PR career in London to travel and settled in Australia in 1980. She has since roamed the world working for her own travel publishing company, which she runs with her husband. She lives in Adelaide with her husband and twin sons. Her website is at www.fionamcintosh.com.

    Her latest book, The Scrivener's Tale, is a stand-alone and takes us back to the world of Morgravia from her very first series, The Quickening:

    About The Scrivener's Tale:

    In the bookshops and cafes of present-day Paris, ex-psychologist Gabe Figaret is trying to put his shattered life back together. When another doctor, Reynard, asks him to help with a delusional female patient, Gabe is reluctant... until he meets her. At first Gabe thinks the woman, Angelina, is merely terrified of Reynard, but he quickly discovers she is not quite what she seems.

    As his relationship with Angelina deepens, Gabe's life in Paris becomes increasingly unstable. He senses a presence watching and following every move he makes, and yet he finds Angelina increasingly irresistible.

    When Angelina tells Gabe he must kill her and flee to a place she calls Morgravia, he is horrified. But then Angelina shows him that the cathedral he has dreamt about since childhood is real and exists in Morgravia.

    A special 10th Anniversary edition of her first fantasy book, Myrren's Gift, will be released in December!



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Evoking the Gods Part II: The astrology of Character Development by Kim Falconer

Author Kim Falconer

Author Kim Falconer

My main goal in developing characters is to make them authentic, consistent within their personalities and real enough to grow as the story unfolds. Terry Goodkind adds that his characters are created to express abstractions like freedom or intelligence. Both points overlap—authentic, grow, express ideas. But when characters come to life they have a mind of their own and are not always open to direction! This can be a good thing, as Traci Harding points out: My characters are constantly surprising me with their responses – making me laugh, cry, gasp! This is where the magic happens but how to get there? What makes a character real?

There are many answers but one of mine is Astrology! (Crash course here in Astrology 101) It is a great tool for making characters ring true. How? I give everyone a birth chart, a natal horoscope that I refer to like a map of their psyche. It gets me inside their heads. The chart tells me what makes them tick—their limiting beliefs, past patterns, core values and authentic goals. It answers questions about how they dress, likes and dislikes, how they act. Even more important, it can help me see where they will grow through the choices they make and the challenges they attract.

Take the rising sign or Ascendant—the sign that was on the eastern horizon at the moment of birth. It is a symbol of how we initiate things—journeys, fights, ideas—anything new. For a fun demonstration, consider how each rising sign would initiate sex.

Aries—Pounce. Usually little or no warning.
Taurus—Surprisingly sensual, though ardent. They selectively fail to hear the word ‘no.’
Gemini—Much talk before action. They seduce with words—sometimes quite eloquently.
Cancer—They retreat, you follow. Not opposed to emotional manipulation.
Leo—Beware of public places, unless you like such things!
Virgo—They seduce with atmosphere, candles, music, tantric manuals.
Libra—Wine, dine, listen and stir until there is nothing left between you but the erotic.
Scorpio—They seduce with their eyes. It takes 30 seconds or less and you’re a goner.
Sagittarius—They promise the world, and usually deliver.
Capricorn—They buy you things. Excellent taste.
Aquarius—They use the element of surprise—often surprisingly well.
Pisces—Enchantment. Their very being is an aphrodisiac.

With this small sampling it’s easy to see how astrology offers a model for character development and orientation. When the call to adventure comes, Aries is straight off the mark, sword in hand, where Gemini simply gets excited, asks questions and looks at maps. Astrology helps me write characters that ring true and that’s the sweet spot, the place where I close my eyes, watch the scenes and record them as fast as I can. If you want to know your rising sign, shoot me an email. Any questions or comments most welcome.

Kim Falconer

Read Evoking the Gods Part I: The Myth of Character Development

Kim Falconer’s first novel The Spell of Rosette is available throughout Australia from today onwards! Kim lives in Byron Bay with two gorgeous black cats. As well as her author website, Quantum Enchantment‚ she runs an astrology forum and alternative science sitetrains with a sword and is completing a Masters Degree. Her novel writing is done early every morning. Currently she’s working on additional volumes in the Quantum Enchantment Series.


11 Responses

  1. I think I can tell my rising sign just by your fun descriptions here, Kim. Ha!

    Love how you “watch the scenes and record them as fast I can.”

    SO looking forward to reading Spell of Rosette!!!

  2. I do the same thing, Kim. Mine is an imaginary world, but I set up my characters’ charts for the equivalent places and time period in our world. It’s eerie how accurate they are, but as in real life, my characters still surprise me:-)

    It’s easy to do astrology “after the event” – she’s fallen in love with a Capricorn? I didn’t expect that…Oh, right, Venus in the fifth sextile Saturn in the seventh! But of course, if I’d read the chart rightly in the first place I wouldn’t have been trying to pair her up with a Leo! However, her Mars is in Leo trining her Sag sun so she’ll probably end up with the right guy – it’s just going to take longer than I expected:-)

  3. Holy Astro Moly Satima! You do this too! Fantastic. Finally I have someone to talk to about this rare yet insightful branch of astrology.


    And you can watch the transits too–which I am sure you do. She’s all happy with her Capricorn? What happens when he get’s Pluto over his sun? Maybe that’s when the Leo rides up!

    Thank you for posting. I’d like to hear more about your Astro-character-development. We could run a workshop in this!

  4. Jeannette! I answered you but the msg seems to have vanished!

    You CAN tell a person’s rising sign by how they initiate sex, though I don’t think you’ll see that in any textbook.

    Always good to have your voice here!

    Thanks for dropping by.

  5. I like the sound of Aries! Kim, have you read the Zodiac trilogy by Vicki Pettersson? I think you’d like it. The first book is called The Scent of Shadows.

  6. I like the idea of Virgo rising more myself! lol

    I haven’t read Pettersson yet but Stephanie told me about her some time ago. I think she’s doing a novel for each of the 12 signs? That’s a lot of Las Vegas! I best get started reading. 🙂

  7. Wouldn’t it be interesting if it were possible to reverse engineer your characters’ charts to find out when and where they might have lived? Or do you actually start with a birth time/location?

    Thanks for sharing part of your process. It’s so interesting! “I close my eyes, watch the scenes and record them as fast as I can” – too cool! Do you know where the plot is headed when you start or does that evolve or change along the way?

    BTW – Sign me up for a Virgo/Scorpio combo pack!! Maybe, if I close my eyes…. 😉

  8. Virgo/Scorp combo does sound enchanting! I always thought dating services would benefit from the astrological perspective. 🙂

    What an interesting idea–to see when the character’s chart actually occurred in time and space. I don’t pick ‘real’ birth times and locations because inevitably they will start to remind me of a chart I’ve read or a person I know. I don’t want too much merging on that level.

    The story both evolves and changes along the way! Even when I think I know where the plot is headed, the characters surprise me. I get excited every morning to write–to find out what’s going to happen next! 🙂

  9. I seem to remember there was a dating service in Sydney a few years back that used astrology to match people up.

    You know, I never have run transits on my own characters’ charts. Neat idea – might be a good way to overcome writers’ block. Yes, definitely a workshop in there somewhere:-) However, I did once put up a chart for another writer who was having trouble getting to grips with a character. All my friend knew was that her MC was a Cancer (I think) and 37 years old at the time of writing, so as it was a contemporary novel it wasn’t hard to pick a date, put up a chart, interpet it and do a year’s transits. The writer happily went on with the book, basing the story around what she now knew of the character and her current circumstances.

    Yet even within the writing community, some people are very dismissive of astrology. Their loss, of course, because it’s quite the most useful tool, I think, for understanding yourself and other people, whether those others be real life friends or imaginary ones:-)

  10. I am an idiot. (Actually, I’m a Pisces, which might explain it…) The link in my sig line to date has been leading to the wrong blog, so I’ve fixed the typo that caused it. This one should lead to the one and only genuine Satima Flavell blogspot.

  11. Satima, you are a treasure. What a great idea to use transits as inspiration in the face of writer’s block. That’s a whole other workshop in it’s self! Love the Pisces lateral thinking!

    Thanks for directing us to your correct blog!

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