A little over a week ago, I sat down with the President of Skullgate Media, Chris VanDyke, for an interview about my writing. One of the things he was curious about was the contrast between a few of my works. My short stories Rrekwe’m of Blood (Achten Tan) and Madness (Under New Suns) are fairly dark in nature, both in themes and characters. My short Soar (Achten Tan) and my current WIP, Legends of Annun: The Godstones (Book 1 of the Sylex Meadowbrooke Chronicles), have more hopeful tones as well as a more innocent and good-hearted protagonists.
My answer was that I enjoy exploring the people on all sides of a story (“good” and “bad”) and discovering what motivates and defines them. But this isn’t the only reason I write such polar opposites.
Only a handful of people have had the chance to read Godstones, and Chris was one of them. However, if you have been following me at all, you most likely know a little about that work–the main character, Sylex (Lex) Meadowbrooke, in particular. Lex is a naïve and extremely empathetic character. She would certainly be classified as having a neutral good alignment. The only reason she doesn’t fall into a true lawful good category is because she is smart enough to question certain laws (or, in the town of Morbar’s case, decrees) that restrict women’s rights.
As I mentioned in my interview, when I started writing Godstones I had no idea what I was doing. I had no overall plot and no idea if the story was actually going to turn into anything. All I knew was WHO I wanted to write. I wanted to write a character for me; one that I could full-heartedly relate to. I don’t see a lot of characters that make me stop and go, “Oh, wow! She IS ME!”. Lex and I have a lot in common–she even was made to look like me. Like Lex, I grew up fairly sheltered and when I emerged into the “real world” it was disorienting. Throughout my life, I’ve experienced a lot of self-doubt about who I was because I didn’t really seem to fit in anywhere. Lex experiences something very similar when she leaves Morbar.
Some of you may be thinking right now, “This sounds more like a coming-of-age YA story”. In a way, you’re right, but I wanted to write about a character going through what some call the “new adult” phase, because I was one of those people who didn’t REALLY figure out who I was until my 20s. Heck, I still sometimes question who I am. I wanted to let anyone else out there like me to know that they aren’t alone.
My other stories may appear vastly different from Godstones at first glance, but in truth, they go hand in hand. All of my characters work through a crisis of identity in one way or another. I’ve already explained what I mean by this in SMC, but here’s a brief overview of my other works.
Sozi finds himself doing things he never thought he would thanks to Valla.
In Rrekwe’m of Blood:
Aislinn Rrekwe’m is a bit more subtle, but she is fighting to MAINTAIN her and her people’s identities. She comes off cold and calculated, but if you look close enough, you notice that she isn’t doing what she does because she’s, as her prisoner puts it, a “cold-hearted bitch”. She’s doing it because she truly believes it must be done in order to protect herself and her way of life. By no means am I saying I agree with her methods, but I can understand her reasoning behind them (good or bad). For the most part, Aislinn has no illusions about who she is and what she must do for her people.
Kevin Renner is a hard-ass UPA Marine who, like many men in our society today, has been taught to keep his feelings in check. When he contracts a musical infection that amplifies and unbridles emotions, he doesn’t know what to do with himself. He’s convinced he needs to keep up the façade of being “the strong one” and tries so hard to brush off or ignore his feelings as they grow. But when the woman he loves is put in danger… he finally snaps. It’s a story of warning in a sense–of what can happen to a person who keeps things bottled up for far too long. If he’d simply accepted his feelings (and true identity) earlier on and expressed them, perhaps this debacle could’ve been avoided.
In Legends of Annun: The Messenger of Darnath (Origins of Jaykiren Blackshield):
This is the backstory I mentioned in my interview that revolves around the assassin, Jaykiren (Jayk) Blackshield. I hoped it would be rather obvious by the title that this is literally a story of discovering one’s identity–of how Jayk became who he is when readers meet him in Godstones. This is by far the darkest story I’ve ever written, but also one of the most complex and (hopefully) eye-opening.
So, there you have it! If you’d like to find out more about my stories, check out My Works page.
Here is the original YouTube interview for those of you who missed it.
You can purchase both volumes of Tales From the Year Between from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Ko-Fi, or directly from Skullgate Media’s website.
Allison N Moore