The hearing and seeing is usually fairly simple, though admittedly, I’ve read stories that have failed to do even that. But I find that overall, when reading a story, if all of my senses are not engaged--at least to some extent--that my emotions are not engaged and thus, I am not engaged.
As I mentioned, I give fragrances to others as special gifts. I have passed this tradition on to all three of my children. My son’s favorite is Acqua di Gio. My daughters have yet to settle on their favorites. I gave my new daughter-in-law Princess by Vera Wang for her wedding day. She says she loves to put it on now and that whenever she does so, she is standing in the dressing room she used on her wedding day, preparing for big event. (Mission accomplished!) I took her with me to the BEA show in NYC a week or so ago and we took a new fragrance along that we both wore and came to love—La Vie Est Belle by Lancome. From this time on, whenever either of us wear this scent, we will be reminded of a special trip together as we got to know one another better and she will forever be brought back to memories of her first trip to the big city.
Why all this discussion about scent? Well, a friend of mine recently read Oathtaker. She told me later that she could tell I had written it. Yes, she could hear me in some of the word choices and so forth, but that wasn’t it. What caught her attention was the significance of scent to the story.
In Oathtaker, there is a special group of people called the Select. When a member of the Select is born, he or she bears the mark of his or her birth and also sports a special and unique fragrance that is said to be as glory to the thrones of Ehyeh, the Good One. That scent dissipates sometime later, only to return after that person reaches the age of accountability, if certain conditions are met. The members of the Select in my story were, of course, given my own favorite fragrances.
The scents one will encounter in Oathtaker do not end with the scents of the Select. They are found in the smell of fresh creeping thyme in a goat pasture and emanating from a window planter that includes “an assortment of herbs at the ready for kitchen use. . . , [boasting] the citrusy scent of lemon thyme, the clean smell of lavender, the earthy scent of oregano, the freshness of mint, and the piney aroma of rosemary.” Readers will also smell the “flowers of every imaginable hue and scent” found at a market, the apple scent of chamomile tea, the heady aroma of nighttime jasmine that grows just outside the door of Sanctuary in Polesk, the smells of good food (I will have to blog some recipes one day), and more.
I hope when my readers come upon the smells in my story, that they will feel emotionally engaged. So, take a step into Oosa with Oathtaker to see, hear, taste, feel—and smell this new fantasy world.
For more information about Oathtaker, join me on my personal page at Goodreads (here) or check out other information posted on my website here.