Designing the devils

Connie has been working on designs for the seven devils, who are mentioned in both “The Storyteller” and Blackdog as a legend of the world that provides the basis for many stories, all beginning, “In the days of the first kings in the north …” The devils, or devil-conjoined wizards, except as they appeared in “The Storyteller” and Blackdog, were only very vaguely sketched in my mind. I knew certain things about them, but not much, except of course in the case of the ones who were central characters. Connie, though has had to draw them for a couple of scenes in the manga looking back to Moth’s past. This meant she had to know what they looked like, and what that really means is, who they were, where they came from both in the world and in their past. She could have just made something up, but that would have ended up conflicting with later stories set in the Blackdog/Moth world, and we both felt it was important to get it right, so that the manga would agree with future books. Last winter I sat down and wrote up a description of each devil, covering both what part of the world they (or the wizard who provided their human host) came from, how they might dress, what they looked like so far as hair and eyes and complexion, and simply thinking about that made me think more about what had shaped them. This turned out to be really useful, as I started working on the next book. It started fleshing out (hah hah) the characters physically, but more importantly, psychologically. This is particularly interesting for the antagonist of the thing I’m working on now; Connie’s design caught her worrying, passive creepiness to perfection. There’s one, destined to appear later on, who remains very mysterious, even to me. I’m eager to see what she does with the hints that are all I have about him.

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About KV Johansen

The author of Blackdog, The Leopard, The Lady, and the forthcoming Gods of Nabban, epic fantasies from Pyr, I also write for teens and children, including the "Torrie", "Warlocks of Talverdin", and "Cassandra Virus" series, and the "Pippin and Mabel" picture books, as well as a couple of short story collections and two works of adult literary criticism on the history of children's fantasy literature. I have a Master's degree in Mediaeval Studies, and read a lot of fantasy, science fiction, and history. Blog at thewildforest.wordpress.com
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