The Authors’ Oracle Questionnaire

This questionnaire was developed by Angela D’Onofrio:

There are 22 questions, one for each card of the Major Arcana.   If answering all of them at once is too time-consuming or daunting – or if you feel  that the post would be too lengthy – please feel free to break it into as many installments as you wish.

0. The Fool: Which of your characters is the most intuitive?  The worst decision-maker?

Well, Rhodes, to be honest. He can read people like a book, and although he has excellent judgment, he allows the fact that he can do something cloud whether he should.
I. The Magician: What character, location, or object has the most positive influence in your story?

In a very insane way, it is a character who is only named once, and that is Thi Stokes. Heather is so selfless and giving because of her mother, and she has no idea how alike they are. The reader will learn in Two Guns.
II . The High Priestess:  Do any of your characters have very strong beliefs?

Touching upon the Magician question, Heather is a firm believer in the moral imperative, to wit: Do unto others as you would have others do unto others.
III.  The Empress:  Who is your biggest supporter?  Give them a little love, here.

I have a *huge* support network, so naming just one is impossible, and could inevitably be wrong.
IV.  The Emperor:  Do you outline or plan?  (You know … plotter or pantser…)

Yes, I am a firm believer in outlines. I’ll outline the novel – in part or whole – and if I’m about to tackle a complicated scene, I will outline the scene as well. HOWEVER, I do not feel overly beholden to the outline. If my characters begin to act erratically, I will go with that until it gets too insane.
V.  The Hierophant:  What do you feel is your most valuable piece of writing advice?

Lisa made this for me:

VI.  The Lovers:  Which of your characters follow their heart?  Is it for the right reasons?

None, and I think that is very important. They all hold back some essential part of themselves, which makes their fates that much more painful. To some extent, everything they do is “too little, too late.”
VII.  The Chariot:  Tell us about the first “darling” you ever “killed”.


I’m horrible to my characters. The first one I had to kill that I did not go in knowing I had to kill was the protagonist (but bad guy) of my ill-fated first novel, Will Stratford. One of my beta readers said, “I feel like you hit me in the face with a shovel.”
VIII.  Strength:   What do you feel your greatest creative strength is?

Creating well-rounded characters. Usually because I rarely jump in using a blank slate. I almost always have a model. You can tell which characters I don’t have a model for.
IX.  The Hermit:  Can you write in coffee shops or other busy places, or do you need quiet?

I can! It works much better with headphones, though. When I have quiet, I tend to get distracted more easily.
X.  The Wheel of Fortune:  Do you have a set routine or schedule?

No, but I think I would benefit from one.
XI.  Justice:  What’s the biggest consequence that your main character will have to face?  (If it spoils the plot, feel free to be vague.)

Everyone dies. Everyone.

No, I’m kidding. Or am I?
XII.  The Hanged Man:  What must your main character be willing to choose between?

That’s a tough one. Heather has to choose between losing everything or losing everything.

I’m serious.
XIII.  Death:  What do you do after you’ve finished a project?

Start another project, duh. If I don’t dive into something else, I begin to suffer from anxiety again. One must feed the demons one way or another.
XIV. Temperance:  Please share your best tested & proven tip for balancing writing and “the rest”:

*chirp… chirp… chirp*
XV.  The Devil:  Everyone has a nasty habit they can’t shake.  What’s your main character’s?

She’s very proud, guarded, and even aloof sometimes. She does not forgive easily when she is wronged. It prevents her from doing something that could have made her happy – at least for a short while.
XVI.  The Tower:  Have you ever had to scrap an entire project and start over?  How did it feel?  Were you frustrated, sad … relieved?

Sad. Always, always sad. I’ve done that with several projects, but two will haunt me: The Fool’s Tale, which was actually a screenplay, and Afflicted, my zombie-esque dystopian novel. In both cases, I had amazing concepts and no idea where the story was going to go.

Someday, my pretties. Someday.
XVII.  The Star:  What is your favorite part of starting a new project?  New notebook smell?  Getting to know the characters? Building the plot?

I love building the plot (by outlining), but I also love fleshing out my character. It feels almost like carving clay.
XVIII.   The Moon:  What’s the biggest lie that your main character is telling themselves?

“Everything is gonna be alright…” (rock-a-bye… rock-a-bye…)
XIX.  The Sun:  Do you have any themes, symbols or objects which come full circle in your work?

The Phoenix – and it was completely by accident! I swear! It just – just happened. But there are several “phoenixes” throughout the series, some the reader know about – such as Rhodes (duh), and some they do not.
XX.  Judgement: Do your characters get what they deserve?  Why or why not?

*bites lip* Yes and no.
XXI.   The World: At what point did you know that you had to write this project?

Oh, God, you had to ask that.

I confess, I am a relentless fangirl, but it wasn’t immediate. Ever since it came out, my friends from college have told me to watch HBO’s ROME, that I would love it. But I never did. I picked up both seasons from Wal-Mart for $20. Best money ever spent.

I reach Caesar’s assassination, tears are streaming down my face. I have been emotionally ravaged by this TV show. Then Marc Anthony, played by James Purefoy, walks into the senate and finds Caesar dying, surrounded by bloody murderers. And the expression on his face stops my heart. The intensity captured in just a few seconds of nothing but facial expression impressed me to no end.

I thought to myself, “I need to write a character for this guy.”

I had no idea who he was. I had gotten to the end of the season without noticing him all too much, and he won me over with maybe 3 seconds of screentime.

And thus was Avery Rhodes born, and the rest you can buy on Amazon.



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