Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Guest Post: Augusta Blythe and Ravenstoke

Today I'm extremely pleased to have author Augusta Blythe take over the blog to talk to us a little bit about the characters from her young adult urban fantasy novels Winterborne and Ravenstoke. Welcome to Supernatural Snark Augusta!

On Plundering and Pillaging Other People or, in Simpler Terms, Character Inspiration

A friend recently emailed me after reading my latest book, Ravenstoke–“I can't help but play the who-is-this-character-based-on game." That comment definitely got me thinking about my characters from her perspective. She obviously saw some familiar folks lurking in the shadows of my characters. There was only one character I could think of that was a thinly veiled version of a person in my life. The character of Gran in Winterborne (Ravenstoke’s predecessor) was based on my own grandmother, who died in 2003. (As an aside, some reviews of Winterborne referenced the horrible and verbally abusive Gran and it made me laugh. Although the real Gran was quick with a tongue-lashing, her remarks were more entertaining than abusive.)

Well, Gran doesn’t make it into Ravenstoke so had I sucked the souls of people I know without realizing it? For the most part, Loie and Mia are their own people. There’s a little bit of me sprinkled into both characters. Otherwise, Loie is, in Winterborne anyway, a composite of all those awesome girls in the world with inexplicable self-esteem issues. The ones you want to throttle for not seeing how wonderful they are. New guy Cian was inspired by a blend of Darren Criss (Blaine from Glee), Flynn Rider from Tangled (sorry, but I have a 4-year-old daughter and I watch that movie a lot), and Hugh Grant’s smarmy character in the film version of Bridget’s Jones’s Diary. The character of Pippa (not Middleton) was inspired by a woman I read about in a home and garden magazine. And no, the actual woman did not keep a stockade of weapons in her secret cellar…that I know of. As for Mr. Winterborne, in one of the books I make reference to Orson Welles and that’s a true reflection of the inspiration. I picture him as this room-filling man, in spirit as much as size. His personality sucks all the energy out of the room and he feeds on it. He’s like a black hole. Secondary character Bethany Bright has a bit of Rachel from Glee in her, but without the Broadway aspirations and definitely without Lea Michele’s amazing voice.

That’s about it for plundering, pillaging, and inspiration. All the other characters are their own people. I guess I could ask my friend whom she had in mind, but I think her question is really a reflection of how and why we read in the first place. We like to get lost in a story, sure, but we also like to identify with or relate to one or more of the characters. As a result, we may see ourselves or other people we know in those characters and that’s simply the beauty of books.

Thanks so much for stopping by Augusta! More information on Augusta, Winterborne, and Ravenstoke can be found here:



In Winterborne, Loie and Mia's seventeenth birthdays brought more drama and surprises than they ever expected. Now, in Ravenstoke, they are adjusting to the aftermath and struggling to keep those newfound powers in check. When Andreas is called away to England under mysterious circumstances, a new guy is sent to Salcey Ridge in his place. Cian is smarmy and cocksure and Loie wants nothing more than to unleash a hellhound on him. Unfortunately, Cian isn't the only complication in their lives as the girls must also contend with the reappearance of Mr. Winterborne himself and Loie's most dreaded fear of all - a part in the school musical. Can the girls survive the rest of junior year unscathed?


  1. Great guest post! I think it's impossible to not plunder characters from real life inspiration, whether consciously or unconsciously. Real people are how we shape our view of the world.

  2. I think it's easy to create some characters after people we know, some good traits they have or even some weird habits. I think it's natural!
    I really liked this GuestPost! :))

  3. I love it when characters are inspired by other people or characters (like FLYNN RYDER! <3 Tangle is my absolute favourite Disney movie!)! It makes it easier to relate them to me. :) Sometimes I connect how characters behave to myself -- like how they might bite their thumb nail when they're nervous and pinky nail when thinking (St. Clair!) -- and sometimes I can't help but smile and think that they remind me of a friend or family member LOL. x) They're still definitely their own people, but good characters have to be inspired by something, right? :)

    Awesome guest post, Augusta! <3

    P.S. Isn't Glee awesome? x)

  4. I heart Augusta...:D I just finished Winterborne and really liked it!!! Ill have to start Ravenstoke here soon.

  5. These books are new to me. I would think it's almost impossible not to have some real relationships seep into a work of fiction.

  6. Alison - I agree, I think it would be difficult not to subconsciously observe character traits in the people around me and work them into my characters:)

    Danny - I think so too! Plus, it makes the feel real when they do things or have quirks we can recognize in ourselves and others.

    Mimi - You are adorable:) And I love reading and realizing a character has a nervous habit I have myself. It just draws me in deeper to their story:)

    Tina - Oh yay! So glad you liked it:)

    Jennifer - Couldn't agree more, I think it helps us as readers to connect with them:)

  7. Flynn Rider is adorable! You shouldn't be ashamed of mentioning him. :) We all heard of the advice saying, "Write what you know" and it's impossible to not be influenced by the people in your lives. While the characters might not be exact replica of people we know they do share a lot of similarities.

    Great post!

  8. I can't imagine not pulling people I know [or watch for that matter] into any character I would create but I think it's the whole conglomeration of people into one character that makes them often so unique!

    I love that she pulled one out of a Homes and Garden catalog!

    Great Guest Blog! Thanks for being here and Jenny, thanks for hosting!

  9. Great guest post from Augusta! It's interesting to hear about the aspect of characters. I love hearing about who one of my favourite charters in a book might be based on, especially if I can relate to them easily. :)

  10. I think it's interesting when characters are inspired by others (real or fictional). I'm interested to see what Gran is like--I'd probably find her sharp tongue amusing, too! Great guest post; thanks! :)

  11. Rummanah - He's totally adorable. That was a cute movie and I totally wanted the horse with the attitude:)

    Kristi - I probably should never write a book, I'd inevitably write a character based on someone I know and wouldn't change much about them and then they'd know it was them. Fail.

    Sam - I love getting behind the scenes posts about how authors write, it just makes me happy:)

  12. Lauren - Me too, it just makes reading more interesting to know some of the history behind the characters:)

  13. I love animated movies yet I still haven't watched Tangled. *makes note to self to do so*

    I love reading about where authors get their inspiration from. I think it's impossible to not put a little of yourself, the people you know and your experiences into a book. After all, how else are readers going to relate to the characters and experiences if they don't sound believable?

  14. Ha ha Flynn Rider, my daughter is watching Tangled as I type this. I always wonder if characters are based on people in the author's life, I especially wonder that when I read Stephen King. It was interesrting to read this post and gain some insight. Thanks for sharing.

  15. When I'm writing, I think I borrow from people I know, but not so anyone would notice except for one character. Her name is always very close to the true name of this person and she very like her in many ways. It's my way of getting back at her. Of course, if I ever thought I was going to send it to a publisher, I'd have to change the name completely.
    How does Taylor Swift get away with it???


  16. I like the sound of Cian, even if Hugh Grant's character sure was an ass, but Flynn Rider, aye I liked him

  17. Yes, I do think we automatically try to relate characters to other people. Or in my case, other characters. But I think it's a good thing, that's how we get to know them (or at least think we know them).
    I still need to read these as I've had Augusta on a couple times... I MUST READ FASTER!

  18. I LOVE Darren Criss! And I think it is so fun to learn when authors put a little bit of themselves in their characters.

    I love seeing pieces of myself in a book character, or traits I wish I had. I'm constantly falling in love with book characters, to the point where I wish they were real.

  19. Oh, I don't know these books! Thanks for bringing them to my attention, Jenny!!

    ALSO --> I LOVE FLYNN RIDER. Huge cartoon crush. It's true. <3 <3 <3

  20. Love the first book and so I need to read the second one! Loved the post!

  21. Zahida - It's a cute movie, if you like animated films you'll enjoy it:)

    Heidi - I want the horse and the lizard from the movie. They can live in my backyard:) I did a paper on Stephen King once in high school and there was a ton of information on how his experiences with his father (who I believe abandoned him and his mom if I remember correctly) led him to write The Shining.

    Heather - Right? And Adele. They both write about very specific people. Gotta love em:)

    Linda - Hugh Grant is almost always an ass, but he plays that part so well:)

    Candace - I agree. I always comparisons when I'm reading even if I don't realize I'm doing it. And I need to read faster too!

    Missie - I wish book characters were real too. I think I'd be friends with a lot of them. And then I would tackle and grope others ;-)

    Asheley - You're welcome! And who doesn't love Flynn?

  22. Savy - So glad to know you loved book 1!

  23. I love when I read a book, and there are things about the character that freak me out because they're so similar to me. Those tend to be my favorite characters, because... well, I love myself. lol

    This sounds really good, just based on the description of the characters. I'll have to check out the 1st books.

  24. Art is life. Makes sense characters bits would come from your experiences. Otherwise they wouldn't read as real. It makes it easier to connect with the character as well. Great post!

  25. I think writers do tend to pick and choose from everyone around them, including pre-established fictional characters (like Flynn from Tangled!). Great interview!

  26. I'll have to read the books to see if I can any of the characters resemble their inspirations :)

  27. I love the post; it's really interesting! And that's cool seeing where the inspiration for your characters came from! LOL, and inspired by Tangled? That definitely has me intrigued. ;)