Rising Calm (Rising Calm #1) by Haley Fisher
Age Group: Young Adult
On Cara Weaver’s first day at her new high school—merely the next in a long line of new schools—she meets two senior boys: James Sable and Crispin Calaway. They’re new too; they’ve been at the school just longer than she has, and they’ve never made an effort to reach out to anyone. Until she comes. When her friends find out, they’re awed. But Cara can't shake the feeling that there’s more to James and Crispin than the two are telling.
As the days go on, everything at her new home seems to be going better than it has in any of the previous cities she’s lived in. She loves her friends, gets a job at a bookstore, and even starts to spend more time with Crispin and James. She’s happy. But all that begins to change when she comes to realize that the two boys she’s becoming close to are hiding something. It’s then that she knows her unexplainable wariness of them has been justified all along. But she keeps it a secret.
Days later, when a stranger accosts her outside a small shopping center, Crispin and James arrive just in time to help her. But they seem know the attacker. And instead of running him off, Crispin and James take Cara away, for her own protection.
With little explanation, Cara is told that she’s important and that she can’t go home until the boys have sorted some things out. In the meantime, Cara’s world is being turned upside down as she finds out that there is more to her life than she possibly imagined.
I think I should preface this by saying that I am and have always been a huge reader. I honestly cannot remember a time when I didn’t love books. They have always been a hobby and a passion of mine. That being said, all those books I have read and reread: I know why I liked them. I know which characters I felt for and cared about and which drew me in, which I wished I knew in person, and I also know which ones I didn’t like and why. All those were things I couldn’t help but keep in mind while I was shaping my own story.
So let me start with Cara. There are a lot of book heroines out there that I am quite simply irritated by. The kinds of heroines who make it hard to reread books because you care less about them that you do the secondary characters. I was very aware of that when I was writing. More than anything (possibly more than I wanted a fantastic first book), I wanted Cara to be likeable. I wanted people to root for her and care about her and feel for her.
They could shake their heads at her foolishness, or tell her while they were reading that she needed to get her act together, but I did not want anyone to be put off by anything she did. I wanted her to be strong. I wanted her to be human, but a good human down to the core. Not all her decisions are good ones, but no one’s are. Not everyone handles everything well, but some people handle most things well.
People cry, they’re scared, they’re reckless, but they balance it out by being clever, good, and curious. They’re flawed, but willing to learn from the past. That’s all I wanted in her. Those things, hopefully, made her relatable.
Secondary characters are a little harder. Making them just as human without having them dominate the story. Crispin and James obviously get the most page time next to Cara, so they were the next two characters that I spent the most time shaping. Humor is always important in characters just like in people; if someone can make me laugh, I like them pretty instantly. So I thought the same thing with characters: if they can make a reader laugh, I think the reader will give them the benefit of the doubt.
So I tried to sprinkle humor through their actions, but the fact that Crispin and James are knowledgeable about what’s going on and are the ones explaining the new world to Cara and the audience means that readers have to take them seriously, too. Both things work in their favor (I think). The way they explain everything and how much they are willing to tell also goes a long way in showing their personality, so hopefully that is part of what helps readers understand them.
Jade and Max and David and Sophie were a little harder. Sophie was the easiest—just give her the little kid personality people love. She can grow and learn and mature as the story goes, but readers tend to know what to expect from nine-year-olds. For the other three, as an introduction, before we get to know them better and see them more fully, I gave Jade, Max, and David simpler, more one-track personalities.
Jade is the girly, outgoing, uninhibited girl who can do what she wants without fretting about it. David is the jock with a good heart. Max is the more individual, laid back, okay-with-the-background type. From there, to keep them interesting, I gave them conflict. David isn’t sure he wants to be the jock anymore. Max has a crappy life at home. And Jade has a father in the army.
All and all, I think writing characters is a matter of knowing what you like in the people you like, and what dislike in the people you don’t get along with. Knowing those things makes it possible to write them. And from that you can create characters that have those good and bad traits and make readers like and dislike them as you want them to. Just be sure to keep them human.
I'm Haley Fisher, a college student in Kansas, and I've just signed a contract with a company called Silver Tongue Press to publish my first book!
For as long as I can remember I've been an avid reader and an aspiring writer, but the step toward actually getting a book published is an enormous one for me. This is a big deal. And, as I've been told, the next step to being successful is getting the word out that my book exists.
So, though it's not in print yet—it's coming out February 14th—I'd love for people to keep an eye out for Rising Calm. It'll be the first in a series of books about a young girl who finds out her life and her fate are far bigger than she ever realized. At the risk of giving too much away, the most I can tell you for now is that there is magic, prophecy, new worlds, and a cast of characters who I love to write.