Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tip O'Day #433 - Surprise!

Guest blogger Edward McKeown on how your characters can catch you unawares.

The Fenaday Trilogy was a constant source of surprises to me. The first and biggest was that it was a trilogy. I set out to write one book, the story of as ordinary a man as I could plausibly use to accomplish the adventure I was setting before him. Something immediately became apparent; if he was an ordinary man, he would need motivation to leave his homeworld and plunge into danger and death.

He was not a professional hard case, a military officer or true mercenary, not a thug or an adrenaline junky. So why would he do this? The thing that struck me as being the most believable motivator for such sacrifice was love. His wife, a naval officer, had gone missing and his love for her was such that he would throw aside any security he had and search the stars as a privateer for her. So now we had Robert Fenaday, son of a wealthy merchant family, with the resources and know-how to start this adventure.

How would my everyman survive the adventures of Was Once a Hero, Fearful Symmetry and finally Points of Departure? He was not born to, or well-suited to the quasi-criminal world he was descending to. The answer came in the first of many surprises, a genetically engineered woman warrior named Shasti Rainhell. She was fleeing her past and her own homeworld. They would shelter each other, he with his ship for her, and she with her deadly skills with him. Together they would run the Starship Sidhe through its initial perils.

More surprises awaited me. Shasti demanded to be more than a sidekick. She was a powerful voice with her own realities. This demanding past became the backdrop to Fearful Symmetry, the second book. Fearful was a book of intrigue, adventure and self-awakening as Robert and Shasti sought to free themselves of their pasts so they might embrace a future that held each other.

But the past has a way of reaching out for you and some ghosts are not easily laid to rest. That gave rise to the third book, Points of Departure, which is due out later this year. As for that tale…well, no spoilers here. Hope you enjoy the work.

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