Those who have read a number of the monthly posts that delve deeper into the characters in each of my books already know that the first of these posts started way back in February. But what’s true about these characters is that there are so many of them, with interlocking little relationships over the (now 10!) books, that discussing just a few of them is like scratching the surface of one of those gift cards where you peel off the silver to see the redemption code. But—well, if you’ve ever owned a gift card and I have to say they are one of my favorite things—after all that scratching you find something you really want to see!
Anyway, the two characters highlighted for Victoria: A Tale of Spain today are the protagonist, this brave young girl who’s sort of a classic heroine in a picturesque setting like 1600s Spain. And of course the villain, King Felipe, who is set against her, and who grew from the idea of a similar character in “Millhaven Castle.” Like Lord Timson, he summons a girl to his castle to protect his throne and plans to set her up. And like Lord Timson he has his work cut out for him.
Victoria is the next-to-youngest of 6 daughters of a Spanish duke. It’s a family very, very much full of girls under the semi-watchful eye of their parents. One sister has run off to get married and the oldest sister kind of has a supervisory position at times. So it’s a bit reminiscent of Pride and Prejudice in terms of the family dynamic and this dynamic is extremely important to Victoria. It's her family that’s in danger and she’s the one who ends up finding a solution. She’s an innocent, spunky girl who proves pretty resourceful when this situation opens up in front of her.
King Felipe is the villain with a 100% chance of failure. And what’s fun about him is that he’s like a real person who's quite insecure. He’s not particularly handsome or interesting although he was born in high circles of life and he’s actually very aware of it. His hysteria over some long-buried factoid about the throne comes from his lack of confidence as a person and whether he deserves what he has. He’s also bad at scheming—fortunately for Victoria and her sisters. But he’s a really funny character and makes the plot zip along once he shows up halfway through.
And there will be more updates.
This is the third installment in the In a Nutshell series of blog posts, which takes some of the central five characters from each book and explores them in a bit more detail. Since the two Palladia books are in a series, I’ll explore them in one post. But there were originally 10 characters discussed regarding these books. So I’ll do five and bundle a couple of them under a shared function in the story.
Sidney shows something that’s important to remember about City of the Invaders—most of the real story takes place behind the scenes and in corners adjacent to the main plot. Sidney's actions in the story embody this truth as he does not appear until the final chapters, but it turns out he has orchestrated the outcome the whole time. He has almost no lines, but what he does say is really terse and to the point. Because he's now in charge, there's little need to say more, and there's a formality and elegance to the way he speaks as he drops in to say hello to these kids he's about to move out of their world into his. 😊
Consuela is vital to the companion story, which is named after her. We are shown few women or girls among the Invaders and they are described as near crime and often not respectable. Consuela appears at least somewhat attractive and has enough useful skills to get hired by a wealthy retired lady and blend in with her boss's friends. Her backstory isn't really known in the book other than that where she came from entire houses could have the same monetary value as the dresses given her by Miss Plummer! But her past actually includes a hidden link to Sidney.
Bruce and Mocha are two teenage starlets who bring the social world of the EC into each book. Although neither of them speak much, what they do say is the center of the scenes in which they appear. Mocha enjoys perfecting and cultivating her creative talent, while Bruce is more action-oriented and holds his own when shooting erupts during a stage performance. He has put a lot of investment into his life in the theater, even if he thinks it's somewhat boring, and others can rely on him to come through.
Miss Plummer appears at first to be mostly a plot device who brings with her a group of friends. These friends believe she does not see them because she does not stop them. As they bubble on the surface, all are too quick to assume they know things about the others—whether Amy really wants them to visit Mocha, whether Rena is really interested in books, and whether Rachel sees more than she pretends. But they don't know much about their elderly benefactor, as is shown by her strange move to make a confidant out of a street girl. Like all the EC, her relationships with the Invaders can be subtle.
And there will be more updates.
This week I’m continuing the monthly In a Nutshell series, in which I explore a few of the five central characters for my books in more detail. Facets of Fantasy was the second of my published books so it's natural to discuss it early on. And since its three component stories complement each other in multiple ways, one character from each story deserves a mention when examining the whole book.
Ferdinand in "Halogen Crossing" has upset the central character Cassie because he killed her parents. It all goes back to an ancient artifact owned by the rulers of Ferdinand’s city. POV matters because we hear things only from either Cassie's viewpoint or her cousin's. The culture stemming from the artifact in the city certainly isn't great and it influenced Ferdinand because the people here were very serious about what they were doing. But Cassie's country, Medosa, is extremely tribal and primitive and the artifact came from there in the first place. The link between Ferdinand and Cassie becomes a deep one and likely to show back up in his life after the story ends.
Lord Andre in "Jurant" is also a bit tricky and he may be shown differently from what he’s really like. This is due to the story being told from the POV of his grandson, Don, who views him in a very angsty way because he blames Lord Andre for a death in his family. All the teenage characters are hard on Lord Andre, but he is at least somewhat misunderstood. Julie was not necessarily perfect even though she died and Lord Andre’s poor relationship with Don is based on bad communication rather than malevolence.
Violet in "The Amulet of Renari" inherits a necklace with special properties and finds there’s a ruined city and an ancient prophecy mixed in. Once she gets stuck with that necklace and it looks like the world is coming to an end, she rises to the challenge. She isn't very friendly and doesn't have a lot of personal interest in the mission entrusted to her. But she thrives on action and communicates quite a bit in her own way, although others think of it as just a buzz of Violet's voice in the background. But in spite of their importance, the people of Renari need her to deal with that artifact while they feud, get lost, and complain. And when it comes to doing that, Violet's quite specialized.
And there will be more updates.
Pleasant Fiction in an Age of Noise
I write peaceful stories with happy endings. When I started writing, I wanted to write the kind of books I like to read. I wanted them to be upbeat and friendly books that make you feel like you're being whisked off on an adventure with friends. And there's also a purposefulness in that because many stories already written miss out on a great deal of what people experience every day.
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