Welcome to Teen Fantasy author Aurora Peppermint, who’s here to celebrate the release of her new book from Harmony Ink Press, Behind the Tales, book two in the Knowledge Effect series.
It’s probably not an exaggeration to say there would be no Beneath the Scales, and, therefore, no Behind the Tales, without the character of Hal. Martus is definitely an interesting and complex character, he definitely captured my interest. But just writing about his adventures, committing crimes and providing for his sister, while providing some depth of character, probably would have provided far too stagnant a plot for it to fully capture my interest.
As a writer, and also I think for the story and characters themselves, as well as the audience, we all really needed that catalyst of Hal and his own complicated backstory to get us started and help steer the ship where it needed to be. I certainly did and, while I had snippets of Martus and Elsaben, sometimes while working on other stories, or sometimes just when thinking about other things and having them pop up in my head, it wasn’t until I started to think about, recognize, and see scenes of Hal that I actually started to put pen to paper for the story. Or, in my case, fingers to keys.
For being a dragon, turning into this big beautiful creature, Hal had always at first appeared to me as what he was at his heart. Which was a sweet, shy, mild-mannered, oftentimes even scared, young man. And, from the very beginning, I also recognized that he, like Martus and Elsaben, was completely alone in the world. I started to press further into his character, figuring out well, why was he alone? Where were his parents? Were they dragons too? Or was this some kind of curse? A peculiarity even within the magical world?
It became clear to me very early that he was an orphan not because his parents didn’t love him, because they had abandoned him, or even because of some natural disaster. No. A war was what had torn his family apart, and despite the fact that I knew his parents were good people, fighting for what they believed was right, I also knew that they hadn’t earned any accolades from their positions. Hal was never a hero’s son.
Once I had pretty much figured out how dragons fit into society, I separated that part of Hal from him almost entirely. Obviously it still affected him, being much of the reason he chose to isolate himself and why he was in a battle between accepting who he was and trying to push it down for the protection of others. However, he had a personality independent of that, in many ways the polar opposite of the roaring, crushing dragon he sometimes became.
What was he interested? Books was something right away that I knew Hal would love. When you spend much of your time alone, and perhaps you don’t know many people, stories and characters can make you feel like you’re still living the life you want. In Hal’s case, I knew he would connect with stories of great heroes, immune from any wrongdoing, and would wish he could be in their shoes. But I also felt Hal would have a connection with books of logic and information. This is how I figured out he would love things like map reading, and gardening later on. If he had read about these things and perhaps gained some skills, studying maps and practicing some amateur herbology when he was alone all that time, I was sure he would be equally as interested in putting these things fully into practice.
I knew Hal would be sweet, I knew he would love having a friend in Martus after not having anyone for so long. But I also knew it wouldn’t be so easy for him to trust and love. Their relationship would not be a whirlwind romance. As much as I would love to shove them together and yell at them to kiss, I know it just wouldn’t be in character for Hal. Having never experienced something like romance before, barely even something like friendship, he would need time to come around to his new family, and time to start to recognize and embrace those feelings. Luckily, I have plenty of time to write this out.
Please enjoy this coloring book page of Hal done for me by August Li!
About the Book
Martus understands the desire to forget the past. After all, until recently he stole to support his makeshift family. His boyfriend, Hal, has a history of losing control over his dragon transformations and causing destruction neither of them likes thinking about, and even his little sister, Elsaben, is struggling to harness her magickal gifts.
But personal issues must be pushed aside when Martus’s wealthy patron hires their group to find her son, the legendary hero Fitzy. Is he in trouble or just sick and tired of the burden of fame? Perhaps his estranged sister, Mel, can help them track him down.
An already difficult mission becomes an uphill battle when their demons refuse to be ignored. Even Mel is keeping secrets, and all of them are about to discover that forgetting the past won’t stop it from catching up at the worst possible time.
About the Author
Aurora Peppermint writes sci fi and fantasy young adult books and is very friendly, she promises. Aurora Peppermint is a teenage girl with a real passion for spaceships. For a long time, she wanted to be the people on the spaceships, and she still does, but now she’s thinking it isn’t so bad to be the one making them. Her dream job is Ghostbuster, and her second dream job is what she’s doing right now. She is a huge fan of anything involving or centered around the word ‘chocolate’, and you can usually find her baking something somewhere in New York. She has a small, tight-knit group of crime fighters who read her books and slap some sense into her when she’s been up for more than twenty-four hours. Most of the time she’s at a concert or convention or something else that begins with ‘con’, but when she isn’t seeing the world you can find her bouncing between Central Pennsylvania and Staten Island.