Heidi Cieciura Day 5


(First published on Holding up the Mirror)

After nine months of excruciatingly hard work, the new novel has finally passed out of my
hands, and is making it in the big wide world all by itself. I find releasing a book a moment
that comes with mixed emotions. Elation, excitement, anticipation, anxiety and most of all
sadness. I've reached the end of a long, emotional journey with friends I bonded with along
the way. The relationship a reader forms with the characters they read about, or a writer
forms with those they create, is every bit as real as the relationships we forge whilst dealing
with living, breathing people.

Rachel Nuwer's article: The Psychology of Character Bonding: Why We Feel A Real
Connection to Actors explains the phenomenon of bonding with fictional characters
brilliantly, it's well worth a read, and had me going Ah, yes. Now I understand. Basically,
readers, and writers, invest a great deal of emotion (and time) in reading a novel (or watching
a film) in the same way we invest emotional energy and time in cultivating friendships.
Empathy and Sympathy - emotions we experience daily in our real lives - Nuwer tells us, are
key to the way we respond to fictional characters.

Howard Sklar, from the University of Helsinki attempted to show that despite there being
differences in how readers respond to real-life people versus how they respond to fictional
characters, the psychology of both shares important similarities. I use reader and writer
interchangeably, although the experience may very well be more intense for the creator of a
work. As a voracious reader too, I know certain characters, Will Trent created by Karin
Slaughter for example, resonate with me beyond any of the books I've read with them in, but
my own characters - Hunter, Jesse, Toby K - they're like my children (and I have several real
ones so I know what I'm talking about). I am responsible for them and their journeys and
when a leg of their journey comes to a close, it's like a chapter in my own life has ended and
of course that sense of loss, of grieving for something I have lost, affects me when I scan the
last few words for typos or bad spelling, and flip the last page over onto the pile. It rushes out
of me, that sense that THIS IS OVER.

When I sit down to start a book, I have already spent several months - if not years - with the
characters I am going to write about bobbing around inside my head. I have laughed with
them, cried with them, worked out how to make their lives harder, before trying to make it
better. They have grown into fully fledged beings in their own rights and, although I know
they aren't real, for all intents and purposes, to me, they are. When I reached the end of The
Obsidian, just as I had done when I reached the end of the first novel Affliction, I felt an
overwhelming sense of loss, as if a good friend - or friends - had passed on. Even the bad
guys I grieve for, it is common in my household for someone to laugh about how I can't let
my bad guys go. People say writing is a lonely endeavour - and for the most part, it is - but in
some ways it isn't. I've made lots of friends and I can't wait to experience the next leg of their
journey with them - and hopefully, with you.

You can get access to all of Heidi’s books at Author Central

You can check out Heidi Cieciura's official author website

Her blog: Holding up the Mirror

Or contact her on twitter @heidicieciura

You can sign up for Heidi’s mailing list to be alerted of updates and receive a free DI Jesse

Rider novella entitled Butterfly. Just click here

You can email Heidi at heidi.cieciura.author@gmail.com

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