Friday, September 11, 2009

Sunday Scribblings Prompt: Tattoo (and Werewolves)

This week's Sunday Scribblings prompt is: Tattoo.

Those of you who've read 13 to Life in its abbreviated format (the upcoming debut novel hits shelves in 2010 from St. Martin's Press) know I cannot--can-not--pass on this one. Why?

I'm a research fanatic. I'm very happy making up all my own stuff, but frankly, if there are ways I can twist reality into something different, I'm there! I even told my editor one day about a Cold War document I stumbled upon regarding the paranormal research the USSR was engaged in years back. It sported "the prettiest question mark in the world"--a question mark placed in the right spot on the form to raise serious questions about what sort of research was being done at a particular location (and proof something was).

So when I stumbled across traditional information suggesting that werewolves were born with a mark in the shape of a saber on their shoulder, I salivated. A saber, huh? The Tsar was pictured with one and sabers were common in the traditional Russian military. Ah. So I could connect my werewolves to the Russian military...

In 13 to Life the mark is revealed in a game of basketball and the students debate if it's a tattoo or a birthmark. Also, in the world of 13 to Life, the Russian mafia embrace the idea that they are symbolically werewolves (men who appear just like anyone else but are powerful and deadly adversaries when crossed), having themselves tattooed themselves with the mark. Tattoos are very important and specific in the Russian mafia--you can read a person's life in their ink.

In book 2 of 13 to Life (in front of my editor right now--cross your fingers, please) a new tattoo shows up, marking some characters in a very different way.

And then, in book 3 of 13 to Life (which I'm fast drafting now--you can see my progress on my word count meter in the margin) there is one final tattoo that shows up and twists things around once again for my characters.

I play with symbols, words and meaning a lot in my novels (yes, I totally nerd out) and tattoos are a natural merging of language and art so it's a natural choice for me. ;-)

Read more Sunday Scribblings (and join the madness ;-) at Sunday Scribblings.


Elaine said...

I'm all about the ink, so I think it's really cool you've made these connections and put so much thought into it. Can't wait to read the book when it comes out. :-)

Saoirse Redgrave said...

Thanks, Elaine. :-) I love that old phrase about "wearing your heart on your sleeve" and I think the ink a person invests in is like that-- it says a lot about them and always fascinates me which tatts someone shows the world on spots clothing can't really hide and which ones are carefully hidden from view except at far more intimate moments.

Sheila Deeth said...

Sounds like that ink makes a neat twist to tie things together.

songofsea said...

Sure a lot of research gone in this...Interesting.Thanks for sharing.
Eagerly waiting for the book now !

Saoirse Redgrave said...

Sheila and SongofSea,

Yep, I did a bunch of research regarding tattoos, the paranormal (since I'm writing werewolves) and the Russian culture (which has fascinated me for years).

Hopefully it comes through the way I want in the series. :-)

Thank you all for stopping by and commenting--I appreciate it.

Heliotropism said...

What an interesting twist to an already interesting story!!

Saoirse Redgrave said...

Thank you, Heliotropism--I hope it makes the series that much richer for my readers! :-)