Friday, September 7, 2012

Bringing A Gargoyle to Life - Dianne Hartsock

Bringing a Gargoyle to Life

We all seem to love the magical, fantastical creatures of fantasy. But how does one breathe life into such a being, have him step from our imagination into reality and be accepted by a reader?

In my m/m erotic fantasy ‘Philip’s Watcher’, my hero Adrian is a stone gargoyle on the walls of the castle, guardian to the young heir Philip. To involve the reader and make Adrian’s part more believable, I began with Philip. I wanted to gain sympathy for the young heir right from the start, so when he accepts Adrian the reader would also.

Philip turned his head, hoping to catch a response to his outrageous statement. The stone remained cold, and a fey mood came over him, desperate.

“You remain silent?” His gaze swept the heights of the castle. Dozens of statues stared down at him or looked out over the land his family protected. He laughed, and it sounded bitter to his ears. Rain pelted the castle and struck his face, and Philip railed against a fate he had no control over. Was he a mere puppet in this war for power? He had seen his family killed one by one. Would he be next?
In defiance, he climbed up on the balustrade and opened his arms. The storm seemed to increase in fury. Rain pounded against him, the wind seemed bent on pulling him from the wall. He shouted and shook his fist at the sky.

“If I fell, Gargoyle, would my Watcher catch me?” Rainwater poured from the spouted demons on the towers down to the valley far below. Mother had said he had a Watcher, a protector given to him at birth, but he’d never seen him. Never felt his presence. Alone, bereft, Philip wondered if he shouldn’t step off the edge…

At once a blanket of warmth engulfed him. He was cherished, guarded, needed. And beneath that he sensed love, deep and pure.

“Come down.” A voiced thrummed inside him, full of fear. Philip climbed onto the balcony and stood with his back to the storm. He hung his head, ashamed of the childish, dangerous act.

After this, I wanted to bring Adrian from stone into living flesh. I really wanted to keep away from the flash and glitter of movies. So I had it happen without magic at all, but by a ‘gift’ all watchers possess, part of their nature.

Adrian waited, his stomach churning with worry while the storm passed overhead and dwindled into the south. When he was certain Philip wouldn’t return, he rose from his crouch and stretched his arms to the sky. His black wings spread out behind him with a soft rustle.

He ran a hand through his thick hair and drew a breath, weary to his bones. Nothing had gone right. Jonathon shouldn’t have died. The fact that Philip and he had warned him of the danger in leaving the stronghold didn’t make the man’s loss any less tragic. True, those who would spread darkness in the world had brought the war to their doorstep by threatening Philip’s life. But Jonathon should have seen through the ruse and remained in the castle where his power was the strongest.

Adrian’s brow furrowed. Should he have gone with Jonathon, spoken with the wise woman? Silva had strengths of her own. As a child, Adrian had been cautioned against her magic, but he had come to respect her abilities. And she had always been kind to him, an orphaned, lonely boy. Would she be able to help him protect his darling Philip from this dangerous, unknown enemy?

Adrian touched the deep scar on his face and remembered the warmth of Philip’s fingertips. He followed the scar down his neck and left pectoral and trembled as he imagined Philip’s hands on him, their bodies entwined, urgent. He smiled sadly. “Fool, such happiness isn’t meant for you.”

So now we’ve seen Adrian become a living, breathing male. But have we engaged the reader, brought this gargoyle to life for them? I decided to make him as flawed as the rest of us, insecurities and strengths, joys and heartbreaks. A person we can relate to.

He caught his breath as wind rustled through the treetops, reminded of the day he’d sworn his life to Jonathon. They’d stood on the castle’s high walls in the sunlight while the breeze lifted his dark hair, cooled his hot skin.

“These are perilous times, Adrian. We need your strength,” Jonathon urged.

Adrian stared into the distance, his heart in agony. He was only seventeen! Young and fit, with the first taste of love lingering on his lips from his night with Jaimin. “You ask too much—”

He stopped speaking at the cold light in Jonathon’s eyes. The frosty tone of his voice sent a shiver through Adrian. “There’s light and dark in the world, my son. My clan has chosen to stand against the darkness, but we need Watchers to ferret the vile ones from the shadows and to keep our young ones safe. Do you count your life above the needs of the world?”

Ice dripped into Adrian’s heart. Jonathon had taken him in as a child when his parents died of the fever that had taken half the village. A black year. Adrian owed his life to the man. He bowed low, his dark hair sweeping the stones at his feet. “As you wish, lord,” he murmured while his heart broke for the life he would never have.

My story, Philip’s Watcher’ is about two young men caught up in a war neither is prepared for but find the strength to succeed in each other.

Philip’s Watcher


Darkness is spreading in the world with only the powerful Agenor family to oppose it. In the guise of a stone gargoyle atop the castle walls, Adrian has protected Philip, the young heir, sine birth, watching him grow from childhood into lonely adult hood.

When the clan chief, Philip’s father, is betrayed and murdered by those he trusted, Adrian resumes his human form to better safeguard Philip. As lovers, they fight against the darkness, but will their strength be enough to stem the dark tide sweeping the land?

In this battle for power, there can be only one victor.

Dianne Hartsock


diannehartsock said...

Thank you so much, Honoria, for having me as your guest today!

Ivy Bateman said...

I love the imagery in this excerpt! This book sounds amazing and very imaginative!

diannehartsock said...

*waves* Hi Evy, thanks for stopping by! :)