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Guest Post: Character Spotlight

Today’s blog is a guest post by Doug Solter, the author of Skid (which is free here) and the just released Skid 2: Rivals as part of his new release blog tour. So here’s a spotlight with a twist on his main character, Samantha Sutton.

Excerpt from the magazine article A Girl and Her Race Car by Emma Hobbs, assistant editor, Look Smashing Magazine.

The Berlin traffic rolled along the Friedrichstrasse, past a small cafe named the Little Elephant. The early afternoon sun casted a shadow across my wood table, courtesy of the large awning in front of the cafe itself. A gentle breeze played with the leafs of the flowers that add color to my table as a place setting.

I’m here to meet Samantha Sutton, a young woman of only eighteen years who races cars in that macho-infused sport known as Formula One, a glamorous world of men and their expensive toys traveling the world to race cars in between the party-like atmosphere of the international jet-set. The sport draws royalty, the ultra-rich, and Hollywood celebrities like moths to bright light. But inside this testosterone-laced world Samantha Sutton is quite unique. No, it’s not the obvious fact that she’s the only girl racing in Formula One. It’s the surprising fact that she’s beating all the boys in Formula One. With six race wins on her record, all within her rookie year, Samantha Sutton proved that not only can woman compete equally in the sport. They can win.

Samantha arrived late to our appointment wearing a short white skirt and matching shirt which listed all the racing team’s sponsors. Her short dark hair appeared slightly damp, as if still drying from a quick trip to the shower.

“Jeez. I’m so sorry. My other thing ran late and I was rushing to get ready for this. Huge apologies, Emma, seriously.” Samantha glanced over to her assistant, a girl who appeared just as young as her. “Do you want anything?”

Samantha ordered two coffees and a piece of cake in German, flavored with a slight Bavarian accent. We talked while waiting for their coffee. Samantha remarked about how busy her life has become since her first season in Formula One.

“Last season everyone ignored me until half-way through when I began winning races. Now it’s like, non-stop. It’s completely crazy with all the parties, fan events, sponsor events, racing the car, my love life—” The girl stopped herself abruptly. What about her love life? It caused me to wonder if a teen girl who is forced to grow up so fast can find time for boys.

Maybe not.

When Samantha received her coffee, we began the official interview.

“Why auto racing?” I asked. “What excites you about the sport, Samantha?

“It’s the rush of adrenaline I get from being on the circuit. Making the car dance around the turns and do what I want. It’s like standing on a mountain cliff and holding your foot over the drop, knowing that you could die if you took that last step. But for some reason, you know that you can hold it there on that edge and somehow not fall.”

“Is it safe to say you love taking risks?”

“Not on purpose,” she said. “Not if it means someone else might get hurt. But I can be impulsive sometimes and that’s where I get into trouble.”

“The pressure to win and be successful must be enormous,” I said. “How do you cope?”

“I eat tons of chocolate ice cream,” she grinned. “Just kidding. Um—I try to push all the negative thoughts away and focus on what I can do in the race car. Everything else I don’t have control over and I have to keep telling myself that. But I’d be lying if I said there were days the pressure didn’t get to me.” Samantha hesitated and took a sip of her coffee. Her thoughts lingered on the last portion of her answer.

“Does your family travel with you during the season?” I asked.

“Well, my sister Paige is here this season.” Samantha referenced her assistant. “But the rest of my family are still in Oklahoma. They have their own lives.”

I swirled what was left of my cup of tea and drank, the strong, tangy flavor a reminder of the girl sitting across the table. Even in this relaxed atmosphere there was a burning determination in her eyes. A fire or relentless energy percolated behind them. “Tell me about your normal day,” I said. “What’s your normal routine on a race day, for instance?”

Samantha swallowed her coffee and thought about it. “I get up early in the morning and do some light exercise, most of the time running on a treadmill. I eat a light breakfast and then I paint my nails.” She balks at my reaction. “One of my racing day rituals is painting my nails the color of my race car.”

“A good luck charm?” I asked.

“Exactly. So far it’s worked. I then go to the circuit and have a car briefing with my crew and we go over our strategy for the race. After that I will do a few interviews with the press. Before the race itself I’ll have a protein-rich lunch. Lot of carbs like pasta and roasted chicken. Plus I drink gallons and gallons of water all morning so my body is well hydrated. Also we do a driver’s parade around the track, waving at all the fans around the circuit. Eventually I climb into the race car and put myself into the zone and focus on the race.”

“Samantha, when did you first know that this is what you wanted to do with your life?”

“My dad got me started racing karts when I was ten. He already loved racing and I think he was disappointed that he had three daughters. Not to say that my dad didn’t absolutely love us, because he always did. But growing up, none of us were particularity interested in racing.” Samantha’s face brightened, as if reliving that moment in her life again. “Then one day my dad was watching one of his favorite racing movies called, Grand Prix. That day I was so bored I jumped on the couch and watched it with him. Something about that movie attracted me to racing and from then on, I would spend more and more time with dad in his make-shift garage he had in the barn.”

Samantha hesitated again, her eyes danced a bit in her head, as if the memories of her father were flashing vividly through the girl’s head. “Dad built me a racing kart and encouraged me to try it. I was extremely shy back then and I didn’t have any confidence in myself at all. But when I drove that kart, I felt alive and free. And I picked up on racing fast. Dad taught me how to drive and eventually he entered me in races. And I started to win a lot of them. Seriously, the boys would hate it when I showed up at the track. They didn’t want to race against me. I loved it. I knew that I wanted to do this forever because I loved how racing made me feel. I didn’t feel like that shy girl no one would pay attention to. Behind the wheel of a race car, I was someone special. People couldn’t ignore me. Plus I could feel good about myself.” She glanced up. “Am I rambling too much? I have a tendency to do that when I’m nervous.”

I asked Samantha a few more questions about her father. Samantha fidgeted in her chair and acted uncomfortable around the subject which I found odd since she talked about her father so fondly before. There was something about him she was hiding and I didn’t quite know what it was.

A young man walked off the street and into the Little Elephant cafe. Samantha’s sister Paige greeted the boy warmly and sat with him at the table adjacent to us. He wore his blond hair long and had a handsomely meek way about him. The young man smiled at Samantha.

The girl I was interviewing brightened like a fire doused with petrol. Her body language changed immediately. She gave the boy a wave and couldn’t take her eyes off of him. When I asked Samantha a question about dealing with her fans, she gave me a less than satisfactory answer. So I decided to confront the disturbance to our interview.

I held out my hand to the young man. “Emma Hobbs. Look Smashing Magazine. What is your name?”

The boy shakes my hand. “Manfred. Pleasure to meet you.”

A hunch entered my mind and I decided to follow it. “Please excuse my forwardness, but are you Samantha’s boyfriend by chance?”

Manny blushed like a rose and became unable to answer me with words.

Samantha emulated her bashful friend. The girl flashed a smile reserved for close friends sharing an inside joke or thought. “Well? Are you my boyfriend?”

Manfred smiled. “I don’t know. Are you my girlfriend?”

The girl and the boy stared at each other. Obviously having a conversation in their own silent language that no one else was invited to join.
Paige, the third wheel in this relationship, rolled her eyes. “Oh my God. Stop being such dorks. This reporter isn’t stupid. Yes, of course they’re together. Can’t you see my sister panting like a dog when he’s around?”

Samantha leaned over and whacked her sister across the arm. No doubt a leftover response from when they were children. “I don’t pant like a dog.” Samantha sat up in her chair and went back into professional mode. “I’m sorry, Emma. Let’s get back to the interview. Manfred—let’s say that he’s an important part of my racing life.” She flicked her eyes toward the young man. “I wouldn’t still be here if it wasn’t for him.”

I tried digging deeper into that statement. But Samantha refused to reveal anything more.

As I concluded our interview with a few questions about how she saw her future, Samantha relaxed as she sensed the end of our interview was soon at hand. She’s a pleasant young lady, but giving interviews to reporters wasn’t on her list of favorite activities to do on a warm Saturday afternoon in Berlin. I couldn’t blame her. I was eighteen once. Even though the race car driver who faced me treated our interview like a professional, the girl underneath the helmet and racing suit still wanted to be with her boy. Still wanted a taste of being young and in love on the warm streets of Berlin. She still longed to be a normal teenager.

But the one question I didn’t get answered was… after all she’s been through, could the racing star Samantha Sutton ever be a normal girl again?

If you enjoyed reading about Samantha and want to know more about the books and author, you can find Skid free at all sorts of ebook stores, including amazon.com and .co.uk and you can check Doug out on facebook and twitter or his own website.

And finally there’s a lovely rafflecopter giveaway for all sort sof goodies below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Character Spotlight: Mycroft Holmes

This is the first time I’ve tried to use a character created by someone else in something I want to publish. I’ve played around with other characters a bit, like a brief appearance of loki in some Marvel fan fiction I started (And really need to finish), but this is the first time I’ve taken another character and used it as not only a major character in my work but written from their point of view.

I feel a little limited in what I can say, because the first story isn’t out yet and I definitely don’t want to plot spoil, but I’ve added a few twists and taken one or two liberties with the characters, so they aren’t quite exactly how they are in the orginal stories.

Mycroft still works for the government, and pretty much is the government, but I’ve set my story in modern times, despite setting it in the exact same world Conan Doyle did and having it over a hundred years after. Evidently that means I’ve got some explaining to do regarding the characters living that long.

In the original works there isn’t much that’s said about Mycroft, which does give me some scope to elaborate on him. All we really know is that he’s similar to Sherlock, but even smarter. Although he’s also slightly lazy, prefering to get his brother to do most of his leg work for him, if he can. He’s also even less social, but nothing is ever mentioned of any potential relationships. It’s fairly safe to assume he’s never entered into a relationship (Sherlock never did) but as Sherlock likes Irene Adler, there may have once been someone for Mycroft to like and he may well be opposed to liking someone in the future. In the original stories he certainly doesn’t seem to object too much to Watson, implying that he can be won over in time.

This is pretty much where I have begun my story with Mycroft. I’ve assumed he works for the government in whatever capacity the government needs to run and has a finger in everything. He lives alone, but has staff/servants, as well as plenty of money. He dresses well and looks down on those intellectually inferior (pretty much everyone), but can be amused by them and come to see certain people as useful in his life, a bit like his brother. He’s incredibly loyal to his country, partially because he was born when people were very loyal and partly because they country has been shaped by him.

What would Mycroft be like if he fell in love? Well if you want to know that you’ll have to wait for a bit. He’s not going to fall in love easily, that’s for sure.

Character Spotlight: Ishtar

This lovely elf features in For Such a Time as This, one of my not so short fantasy shorts. It’s the third tale of Ethanar and although she seems like a very inconsequential elf, she’s actually a very important person in a line of elves and monarchs who shape the entire world through the ages. My favourite book in the Bible, Esther, inspired her and some of her tale.

Ishtar doesn’t think too much of herself. She starts off as a slave and is mostly just getting on with her life and trying to do a good job. She’s not unhappy but you wouldn’t really call her happy either. Most importantly she’s obedient and worked out at an early age that if she does as she’s asked, doesn’t complain to much and is polite to those around her she can get through life without too much fuss and attention being brought to her. Of course this is made easier by her owner being someone easy to work for but she still gives him no reason to be unsatisfied.

Her story is pretty much about life and the way it occassionally decides it’s had enough of things the way they are and throws a curve ball to see how you respond. That’s exactly what life does to her. It plants an idea in her owners head and events continue to transpire and attentions continue to be drawn her way until her obedience and aquisence leads her to the King and her new life.

Sometimes life just puts you in the right place at the right time, and coupled with the right attitude, magic happens.

Character Spotlight: Anya

Anya is the secondary/supporting character in the Sherdan series. Somewhere between a third and two fifths of the chapters in the Sherdan world are from her point of view.

Anya is probably the female character of mine I like the least (of the good protagonists anyway). I don’t dislike her, not by a long way, but I don’t get many warm fuzzy moments over her. I do respect her. Life for her in the first two Sherdan books isn’t easy. She gets tortured, imprisoned, almost raped and plenty of other stuff on top.

My biggest problem with her is that she’s religious, and yes I know I’m going to have to explain that. I don’t mean religious as in, believes in God, I mean religious in the sense of someone who believes in God and then acts a certain way because they think they are meant to rather than is actively trying to follow Jesus because of a conviction and emotion or belief in something born from experience. Sort of how we all brush our teeth, because we are told it’s good for us, we do it twice a day. Sometimes I forget to do it and I feel no guilt, I just do it because my parents said I was meant to and for the most part I take their word for it. There’s no engagement on my part.

For the most part Anya is like that. She has been brought up to believe in God and it isn’t until she’s tortured that she starts to work out there’s more to God than just doing what he says. Because of this ‘religious’ attitude to her faith she lacks in the ability to understand Sherdan and his problem with her way of life and the downsides of this form of Christianity.

Thankfully she gets better during the books. There’s still a bunch of stuff she will and won’t do but she starts to get a feel for the concept that she’s on a journey with God and she has a unique purpose she’s meant to work out with Him that involves more than just going to church and being a good girl. She has to think for herself, tackle big things and seriously think about loving someone who’s not got the same faith background as her. In short she has to decide what matters to her and what doesn’t.

While she’s trying to work all this out she sort of screws things up a bit with Sherdan. They love each other and I think that’s fairly obvious from mid book 1 but she’s a bit shocked by it and it presents her with decisions she never thought she would have to make. She also discovers that being a ‘good’ Christian isn’t always black and white. She doesn’t want to allow someone to have sway to potentially tempt her out of her belief system so she isn’t kind to him and then she realises she’s being judgemental, which is wrong as well. It’s tough to find everything you’ve spent your life believing is off centre and not quite know how you’re meant to be treating people.

As a result of these problems she yo-yo’s quite a lot between being nice to him and pushing him away from her. It isn’t until book 2 where she realises it’s not right to shut him out because he doesn’t believe exactly what she does that she starts to allow him the respect he deserves. Although none of this is helped by how controlling he is as she’s well aware she belongs to God not to anyone else.

I think I’ll like her more as the books progress. I’m sort of hoping she mellows out a little, actually learns to trust God and allow Sherdan into her life properly so she can show him the good sides of her faith rather than all the sucky things that an imperfect faith can exhibit. Of course, he also needs to learn to trust her.

Character Spotlight: Sherdan

This is one of my special characters. I love all my characters but a few always stick out in my head and this is one of those. He’s my first male leading character and although he’s far from perfect he’s still one of my favs.

I have two books out with him in now and I’m putting together the plot for a third, which feels kinda nice. I really like writing sequels. I suspect I’ll get bored of the characters eventually but for now starting a sequel feels a lot like visiting old friends. I just pick up where I left off.

Sherdan comes across as a complete meglomaniac at the start of the first book. He doesn’t care who gets hurt in his quest for the greater good. Has people tortured on almost a whim and is more than happy to bribe people or even blackmail them to get what he wants. He also even plays God a little with his enzyme and the people he gives it to.

Despite all that though, there is a softer side, he just tries to push it aside, thinking it’s weaker. He’s a scientist who, until recently, bought into the idea that we evolve and life is purely survival of the fittest. Compassion, love and mercy are often considered to be weaknesses by people in those schools of thought.

However, I love throwing my characters curveballs and seeing how they react. Sherdan soon falls in love, as all my MC’s often do. This is a really good thing for him and softens him in all the right ways.

Through Anya he does also get challenged about the idea of a God and what that might look like as well, which is a new thing for him. Whatever he decides he believes in it starts making him think about what he’s doing and whether he wants the destination he’s heading towards.

Overall Sherdan is one of those characters people love, despite all his many flaws and imperfections. You just can’t dislike him, even though you know you ought to. And no matter what he does I think he’ll always be one of my favourites. Maybe because he’s my first male lead. He’s just… rather special.

Character Spotlight: Christopher

This is a character how actually appears in a lot of my works although he goes unnamed in several. He’s sort of like an Angel but has a brief time on earth as a Nepharil in Innocent Hearts. I’ve always been a little unsure exactly what I wanted to do with this character and it’s the reason he’s unnamed in so many of his appearances. If I want to decide that it’s a different character in the other stories I still can.

His biggest role is in Innocent Hearts and it’s where he is named and definitely flesh and blood. As a Nepharil he is a human with wings. The Nepharil were a group of humans who were gifted wings by Tanayth as a reward but they’ve since lost their respect for the creator of their world. Christopher is an exception to the rest of the controlling male dominated Nepharil society and does what he can to re-address the balance, while waiting for the right time to go all out to change his society.

This is mostly what Learning to Fly is about. He does what he can to help his niece and give her a strong position. He also helps Bronwen in The Path Home. Letting her go, despite his brother’s desire to kidnap the unfortunate half-elf.

At some point I’m hoping to write a sequel to Innocent Hearts and Christopher will be the main character in that sequel, making him my second male character to take on a male lead role.

Christopher has been the rock in Liza’s world her whole life, her teacher, mentor and the widowed husband of another Nepharil she had a lot of respect for so he’s definitely the gentle leader type.

In The Path Home a different side of him is seen. He’s the warrior in his golden armour with his large sword and quick reflexes. Someone not to be messed with.

All of these traits will hopefully be shown more in his sequel but that won’t be out for a while. It is still in the works though.

Character Spotlight: Wahanui Huatare

There are actually two characters with this name in my historical adventure novel, Chains of Freedom, so we’ll talk about both of them.

They both belong to the same tribe in New Zealand which is where they get their surname. Huatare is the name of the tribe and would have been the second name of every tribe member, although to them it was less like a surname and more like a tribal identifier.

Wahanui Huatare Sr. Is Kaihaitu’s father and the father of Wahanui Huatare Jr. Sr is already dead before the beginning of the book and forms the backstory but that doesn’t make him less important. The consequences of this man’s actions, teachings and death are felt throughout this story.

He’s a patient man with a thirst for knowledge that he tries to pass onto both his children. He spends a lot of time with Kaihaitu when she’s younger trying to teach her the many responsibilities of his role as tribal leader. He also hopes that by teaching her to learn and think that she’ll carry the tribe through to success in the future. On top of this he spends time teaching his son as well, although this isn’t really mentioned in the book.

There’s plenty of love between Wahanui and his partner in life so his kids grow up in a loving atmosphere and this gives both children a confidence as adults. He obviously dotes on his children, acquiring the two capuchin monkeys for Kai as her coming of age present and making an effort to spend time with them despite how busy he’d have been.

And this brings me to Wahanui Jr. He’s much more like his father than Kai is but with her being the eldest and the only one fully trained when her father dies Kai is allowed to take over the leadership if the tribe. Through her mistakes and the things she learns her younger brother goes on to be a great leader. With her as an advocate of the peace that can exist between the English and Maori cultures.

This is one of those moments where I get to point out some of the research I did. Wahanui Jr is based upon a real person of the same name (pictured to the left), who led a great tribe of Maori and helped bring peace between the natives and the Red coat soldiers that flooded the land. He even sailed to England and spoke to Queen Victoria about the matter.

We don’t really see much of this character in the book as it’s his younger years but it does make it easier to get an idea of what happens next. It melds nicely into the history of the time, where more and more English settlers came and the Maori culture had to suddenly share their land.

Character Spotlight: Cathal

For this character spotlight I thought I’d focus on my dragon, Cathal. He’s one of the two POV’s in the short story Wandering to Belong. As usual I will try to keep spoilers to a minimum but if you’ve not read the story you may wish to before reading this.

Because the story mostly focuses on Aneira and the goblin horde I didn’t get to provide very much of a background on this character and in truth I’m not sure I entirely know it all. Cathal has a very closed personality and knows his own mind well, but that’s pretty much to be expected from the fact that he is the last dragon alive that he’s aware of and he’s lived a very long time.

He’s the sort of person/creature to ask more questions than he answers and to keep a watchful eye on things around him, interfering when he deems it necessary but not before.

As detailed in the story with Aneira he has some magical abilities the standard human doesn’t. He can gift the dragon form ability on to anyone he desires, although this has a limited use (not stated in the story). While he uses it to give Aneira the home she’s always wanted and ensure neither of them are the last of their kinds, the gift was originally given to dragons so they could find mates among whichever race they wished. Although it doesn’t state it in this story, this was done by Tanayth, to try and ensure they didn’t die out.

Over the many years on this planet they’ve turned all sorts of races, including elves into dragons (yes I do plan to tell some of those stories at some point) which is why Cathal can also heal others and has some resistance to the poison the goblins use. Elves have been gifted certain powers by Tanayth as well.

Cathal is several hundred years old in this book and unless I change my mind really is the last of the dragons. I mostly want them to be in the past when it comes to the majority of fantasy stories set in this world so I’m limiting them somewhat. Otherwise I’m going to end up with one very all powerful creature.

Character Spotlight: Alexander Hayes

Also known as Captain Hayes, this is the male counterpart character in With Proud Humility. As I said with the last one of these I did. If you haven’t read the book already it might be worth checking it out at the above link. I will try to keep spoilers at a minimum but the point of these blogs is that they are extras to compliment the books I write.

With Proud Humility is the first of my published novels and the basic idea popped into my head while I was in the shower one day. The initial section that came to me was the meeting between Hayes and Marie and then the bit, a couple of months down the line when they are on the island and there’s that big decision moment for Hayes that he’s forced to make by the villian. The story and characters sort of grew out of there really but I think I owe the inspiration to a couple of people.

I’d decided that I wasn’t really going to write any more not long after I got to Uni and it wasn’t until a friend called Dan asked why I stopped that I realised I didn’t really know why. I’d always loved writing and nothing had changed.

Captain Hayes

Hayes was soon making himself known and sharing space in my head and while I was getting to know him I realised he was a bit of a cross between Jack Sparrow and another friend of mine called Dylan (who happened to be pretty good friends with Dan). Although, he ended up a lot more like Dylan and a bit like Sean Bean by the time I’d finished and less like Jack Sparrow.

Dylan, Dan and me played and MMO called Puzzle pirates (featured right) and Dylan was our Captain, which is, I suppose, where the resemblance came from. But Sean Bean is definitely who I’d want to play him if Hollywood ever decided to turn my swashbuckling epic into a film.

When I first had Hayes in my head I thought he was going to be my antagonist and Vane would be a very minor character but as I explored the characters further I realised he would have this major turning point where he would choose something good over something evil and I couldn’t condemn him to the depths of evilness.

Despite this book being almost completely written from Marie’s POV I always seemed to know what Hayes was thinking, even when Marie didn’t. I probably knew him and his ambitions and goals better than I did her. Something about this character just spoke to me.

He had seen a lot of life before ever meeting Marie and seemed quite happy doing his own thing and being his own boss. His crew adore him and know they’ll fare well, get paid well, and have plenty of adventure along the way. Like Marie he wasn’t entirely happy with the way his social class worked and didn’t respond well to the expectations of his parents. This led to him leaving home and buying his first ship at an early age.

I don’t think Hayes and Marie really realised it themselves, but this probably led to him falling in love with her. She was everything his mother wasn’t. She bucked the trend, did what she wanted and although she infuriated him for not just falling in with his plans, she also proved she wanted similar things to him. To be free to be herself in a social class full of rules and regulations.

Hayes is one of those sorts of people that’s able to adapt to anything. He thinks fast and nothing much fazes him, except being disobeyed, so he’ll be pretty calm and collected no matter what happens.

He’s got boundaries (evidenced by how un-harshly he treats Marie about half way through the book) but he is willing to sacrifice a few things to reach his goals. Probably because he understands the rules are different in 19th century Caribbean compared to 19th Century England. The Caribbean is cuthroat and only the strong survive.

Oh and on top of that he’s an excellent sword-fighter. Well, you’d kinda have to be wouldn’t you? With all those ship to ship battles and the boarding that would be required. Thankfully sword-fighting was something any respectable gentleman could learn when growing up and it was considered to be the height of fashion to wear the cutlass when going about England. One of the few useful things about being in the first class. Although, he takes this a step further when he teaches Marie but he did it as much for himself as her. It was his way of saying he also didn’t agree with society and it’s ridiculous rules, which was the one major thing Marie and him have in common.

Character Spotlight: Bronwen

I thought I’d spice up my sharing blogs a bit. For ages they’ve been excerpts from my books or other creative endeavours. I’ve never really written anything especially for these blogs, just showcased something I’d already made. I’d like to try something new in every other sharing blog, so once every 24 days roughly I thought I’d do a character spotlight. I may also do a few location spotlights but they won’t be so regular.

All my stories are character driven so for me the most important thing when starting work on a new idea is getting to know the characters involved. Sometimes this can take a while and I can have imaginary people floating around my head for ages. Occasionally they come back after a few months break with some fresh information but mostly I sit down and chat with them during the planning and plotting stage of each book.

When I first started out as a writer I wrote a lot of this information down and even did interviews but as I get better at my craft I’ve been doing this less. Now I just chat to them and let them unfold a bit more as I write.

One of the characters who came to me quite suddenly, let me write her story and then left again without even much of a goodbye was Bronwen. She’s the main character in The Path Home, one of the shorts in Innocent Hearts.

In this blog I’m going to put the spotlight on her, who she is, why she’s where she is at the start of the story, plus anything else I think you might like to know about her. This is going to talk about aspects of the plot and things mentioned in the story, although I will try to keep spoilers to a minimum it may be better to have read The Path Home first. If you’ve not and would like to, you can pick up an ebook copy of her story and Learning to Fly for just 77p here

Bronwen

At the start of The Path Home, Bronwen is alone in her small cottage, upset and packing to go on some kind of journey. I don’t really fill in a lot of her past in this short. I never really intended to as in my head there was always going to be some kind of novel sequel. Almost two years later I still have no idea what that sequel would really look like, so I’ll start with some more backstory of hers.

Bronwen is half elf and half human. Her mother was the elf side of things and her father, human. She’s grown up with both parents in her cottage (Probably a lot like this cottage <– by Thomas Kinkade). To start with she had a pretty basic home life, with the exception of few visitors and no other people living nearby.

The lack of major social interactions coupled with the fact elves live a lot longer than humans means she’s not as emotionally mature as she should be for her age. Although I never specified her age in the books, she’s about seventeen, maybe eighteen but she acts more like thirteen. A very lost and alone thirteen.

Being in a house so far from other civilisation does kinda beg the question why. Unfortunately, Bronwen herself doesn’t entirely know. It seems to have had more to do with Dad than Mum, as Mum regularly went to visit her kin in the elf city Invareph, to the north of home.  But neither of them ever explained it to her and before she had thought it might be good to ask they were both dead. Needless to say there’s obviously something about her past she needs to find out and I imagine it bothers her that no one can explain it for sure.

Bronwen had been feeling restless and not quite satisfied with being at home ever since her mother died. Before then her mother would satisfy her vast curiosity with a few odd tales and letting her see the ornate elvish jewellery she had. Her Dad, out of the pain of losing the woman he loved, closed up and never told her anything. As such Bronwen’s curiosity grew worse and worse.

Before the story only two things have stopped Bronwen leaving home. Her love for her father. He does dote on her and is fiercly protective, maybe a little too protective. Also her inability to survive. Mostly because her father is so concerned for her she’s never been out in the wilderness without him. She’s never had to hunt for food and can only cook a little and knows very little about surviving for more than an afternoon out in the wilds.

When her father dies too she finds not only are her two reasons for staying put gone but she has no choice but to leave and find others if she wants to survive. Fate pushes her out the door to go find her mother’s people, just like she’s always wanted.

It’s the only thing she’s ever really wanted, to go to Invareph too and be surrounded by all the other elves her mother told her about. And like all good stories, in The Path Home, that’s exactly what happens by the end. Some other stuff happens along the way and it’s not all plain sailing  but by the end, she’s achieved what she set out to do.

So there’s Bronwen and what I know about her so far. Maybe she’ll visit again sometime. If anyone has any more questions about her feel free to put them in the comments below and I’ll see what kind of answer I can give.