Book II

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Novel Inspiration: Characters

Published February 27, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

Here are a few of my selections from my Novel Inspiration board on Pinterest for the cast of Rising Shadows. Later on I’ll create a Novel Inspiration page on here, so check back periodically, because I might change some of the cast and keep adding new photos for your pleasure. There are plenty more where these came from, so check out my Pinterest link on the left to see what else has been floating around in my head. 😉 One of the perks to being an author is that I get to spend hours looking through pictures of gorgeous scenery–and people–on Pinterest and get to call it research! Remember that I love to hear from you! If you like what you saw or have some opinions of your own, shoot me an email at ashleytownsend.author@yahoo.com

Sarah Matthews:

This overall look. Heart-shaped face, blue eyes, arched brows, just a little tanner.

novel inspiration, Sarah blond

This girl’s wavy hair and color.

novel inspiration, Sarah

William Taylor:

Derek Theler is exactly how I imagined Will: chiseled jaw, 6’5, wavy hair (though Jason Behr’s color, on right), and great blue eyes. Oh, yeah, and he’s bult like a truck. That doesn’t hurt my image of Will.

novel inspiration, Will novel inspiration, Will hair

Karen Ashmore:

I thought this girl was just gorgeous and totally reminded me of Karen with her hair and fair skin, though her face is a little more round and babydoll-ish in my head. And she could seriously pass for Sarah, as well, with her blue eyes and face shape.

novel inspiration, Karen 2

Lilly Matthews:

Totally Sarah’s little sister! This is pretty much exactly how I pictured Lilly.

novel inspiration, Lilly

Seth Jones:

I could definitely picture Armie Hammer playing Seth, literally the boy next door. Armie is really funny and charming and friendly, and he has this great, easy grin that is 100% our favorite farm boy. A little more red in his hair, and ta-da! Seth Jones, ladies and gentlemen!

novel inspiration, Seth

Allan Miller:

Oh, yes, we love to hate him, people. Chris Pine has that same cocky edge that I imagined for Allan, Will’s not-so-faithful assistant.

novel inspiration, Allan

Thomas Greene:

He was probably one of my favorite back-story characters to write for Rising Shadows. After watching Tron:Legacy, I could definitely picture Bruce Boxleitner playing Thomas. He’s handsome, kind, has salt-and-pepper hair, and is a good enough actor to do Thomas justice.

novel inspiration, Thomas

Gabriel Dunlivey:

Blek, blek, and blek at that name! Not at all an insult to this guy, whose name I can’t recall at the moment, but he kind of reminds me of Gabriel, though this guy is less slovenly.

novel inspiration, Gabriel Dunlivey

And now for some characters you have yet to meet! Beware teensy spoilers!

Damien Lisandro:

Oh, you handsome devil, you! I saw this picture and actually changed Damien’s scruff so that it looked more like this. The Lord Lisandro completes my favorite type of triangle as old alliances fall away and new ones begin in the sequel to Rising Shadows. I had to throw in a Spaniard for my sister Katie, and I think you’ll really like him too!

novel inspiration, Damien

Jade:

Yep. Just Jade, as of now; I can’t reveal too much yet! She and Will have a past that is a bit of a mystery, and the scene involving her was inspired by Florence and the Machine’s “Heavy in Your Arms” (you all know how obsessed I was with that one!). But this younger version of Penelope Cruz is totally how I envisioned Jade.

novel inspiration, Jade

Mr. Emerald:

Will’s newest assistant. I’m trying to decide if the name I have for him will work in the book or if it needs to be altered.

novel inspiration, Todd

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BOOK II EXCERPTS!!!!

Published January 29, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

Yes! I finally got around to getting some snippits from book II of the Shadow Trilogy together for your pleasure. Just a little random taste of what I’ve been working on, and I’ll probably post some quotes and excerpts from the sequel and Rising Shadows in the future, too. Enjoy!

Chapter 4: Calm down, Matthews, she chided herself. You’re being ridiculous. She turned around and began to jog down the narrow street toward the main square. Glancing over her shoulder as she moved, she ran straight into something hard. Strong hands gripped her upper arms to keep her from toppling backwards and pulled her close, over compensating for her lost balance. Sarah had to lean back slightly to look up at the man who held her, and the action caused the hood to fall back. Her breath caught in her throat as she looked up into Will’s startled blue eyes.

Chapter 11: “Well, my lady,” Damien said smoothly, still appearing comfortable and unaffected by her silence. “Now it’s your turn.”

Sarah eyed the Spaniard warily. “My turn for what?”

He leaned forward and lowered his voice, golden eyes gleaming with mischief. “It is your turn to tell me who you really are.” 

Chapter 19: She waited in the darkness. Nothing. The absence of noise was more ominous than the ones Sarah had braced herself for. She shivered at the cold wind that whistled softly in the tunnel directly ahead. It moved toward her, curling through her hair and touching her body with icy fingers as it brushed past. A whip snapped somewhere down the way, and she started. Her breath caught when she made out the faint sound of the lifeless, almost inhuman moan that rode on the breeze coming from what she imagined must be the torture chamber. Sarah felt chilled to the bone at the hollow sound of someone too weak to cry out and stood frozen in wide-eyed horror.

Chapter 22: Swallowing the desire to express her confused feelings about him, Sarah said, “I want us to be friends.” She was relieved when she didn’t stammer over the words.

Will’s chest swelled with air, and his lips parted as it escaped his lips in a shaky breath. His nod was almost imperceptible. “As you wish,” he said. Then he launched himself over the ledge. Sarah’s eyes widened in alarm, and she ran to the window to peer down at his retreating form as he quickly scaled the walls of the castle. With shaking fingers, Sarah closed the window screen to keep out the cold that seemed to have found its way into her bones. Now she was alone in her new home with the necklace and the single rose as her only companions. Her breathing was the only sound in the room—that and three words that played themselves loudly in her head: As you wish.

Chapter 32: Guilty sorrow tightened Sarah’s chest. She tore her eyes away from her hands, which had been covered in blood moments before, and looked up at him. He was watching her closely, eyes searching her face. “But it’s my fault she’s dead,” she whispered brokenly.

His expression softened. “How could it be your fault your friend was killed?”

 “Because the arrow was meant for me.”

Chapter 35: Will surprised her by pulling her into his arms and holding her tightly against his chest. But even as he held her close and told her everything was going to be all right, Sarah couldn’t shake the feeling that a storm was coming, and if they couldn’t fight it together, it was going to tear them apart.

Creative Control.

Published January 15, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

I don’t know about you, but I have always loved creative writing—thus why I became an author!—especially since it was the one thing that I had total control over as a kid. Even as I grew older, the biggest draw to writing was being able to create without any outside influence, which was also part of the reason why I kept most of my work a secret for so long. Then when Kirkdale Press picked up “Rising Shadows,” I knew I would need a lot of outside help—this was no longer something that I could just do on my own. However, it was actually very encouraging and insightful to bring others into the mix, getting their opinions as readers to help edit and shape the book into something more than what my eighteen-year-old hands could manage. But it was still mine. Hate to make a Lord of the Rings reference, but I was a little like Gollum (if that’s even how you spell it), all “My precious! My precious!” Maybe not that creepy, and I have more hair on my head, and I don’t have a hump, but I see now that that’s where my head was at.

Anyway, as I write the sequel, I’ve been looking for that same inspiration and encouragement. But about halfway through the story, I kind of got stumped. I mean, I knew exactly how I wanted it to end and a few scenes in between that would fill in the gaps. But I was stuck at one point in the writing process, trapped in this boring hole of filler I had dug myself into. I honestly wasn’t used to getting creatively stuck, since I had written “Rising Shadows” on a whim and managed never to write myself into a total dead-end. Hoping for the best and knowing I had to try, I attempted to force myself out of the pit of a storyline that was going nowhere, having no way to get to this fantastically dramatic and fascinating ending that I had envisioned for several months. But it felt forced, and I knew I was getting nowhere.

Maybe this is just me, but have you ever tried to get God on your terms and fit him into your schedule? Guilty! So I kind of told God, “Hey, I’ll ‘give’ this story up to you.” Months later, I realized that under the guise of letting God inspire me, what I was really thinking was, “I’m going to let you touch the corner of this page, but I still want to hold it, and if you could inspire me and give me the perfect segue between scenes while still maintaining the guidelines I’ve already established and taken the time to plot out, that would be super.” I honestly was not aware of how hard I was still clinging to and relying on my own mind to get me through, because if God took total control, then I would no longer be in the one holding the reins—what if He completely messed it up? (I know, I know. Silly thought) I plucked along for a few more weeks, waiting for God’s “inspiration” that would get this sequel on the best-seller list, earn me international fame in the literary community, get me the rights to the movies they want to turn the trilogy into, etc. Because I was going to make it on my terms. . . . Wow. Reading that makes me realize how ridiculous my assumptions were, and, well, “me, me, me.”

Epiphany time! After writing and rewriting the same scene over and over and still managing to get absolutely nowhere, I paused in my writing and suddenly thought of a verse I hadn’t considered in a while: “It is better to trust in God than to put your confidence in man.” I actually remember sighing and rolling my eyes at myself as I thought of verse eight of Psalm 118, knowing that God was very gently giving me a hint (thank goodness He does it gently and repeatedly, because I can be a little oblivious and headstrong sometimes). Though I sort of begrudgingly told God in that moment that I could no longer do this on my own and really needed His inspiration, my heart was in the right place, and I was finally ready to let go. I’m sure I can’t be the only one who has trouble letting go and letting God take control, even when we know He’ll be gentle. But I took a deep breath, walked away from my laptop, made a cup of Joe, and returned to the writing board more clear-headed than I had been in weeks. As hard as it was for me, I chose to scrap that scene and start afresh, suddenly inspired with a totally new idea for the next two, four, and then twelve scenes. I wasn’t inspired all at once; some came on pretty gradually or built upon the others, and sometimes I had to exercise faith and walk away for a few days to clear my head. But I am ridiculously excited to tell you that the sequel to “Rising Shadows” has been completely plotted out and is nearly twice as large and inspired as Book 1! I’ve been trying not to jump ahead, but there have been some scenes that have come up so suddenly that I had to write a little something in the moment of inspiration. My Word doc kind of looks like a completed story that ends in a bunch of bold, italics, highlights, arrows, notes, and random scenes that I’ve arranged in a timeline. Haha. But to me it’s beautiful and makes total sense. Even though I loved working on “Rising Shadows,” I have been blown away with entertainment and excitement while writing the sequel. And now that I’ve let go, I have a much clearer picture of the special plan that God had in mind all along for this story, and I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I am LOVING writing it, which is also part of the reason why I’ve been a little neglectful to this blog. *grins sheepishly*  

Oh! And my amazing friends completed the “Rising Shadows” book trailer. I just couldn’t wait to share it, so hopefully it comes through! Check out the trailer and the book, and always, always feel free to contact me with your thoughts on the series. This is as much yours as it is mine!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNIzJ5OTul8&feature=youtu.be

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