The Dragon’s Fire Series spans 800 years in the first five books, and once I’ve finished Ten, my readers and I will have traversed sixteen centuries of Caledon’s history. The decades or longer between each title mean that, whenever I start a new story, I’m usually starting with a fresh cast.
But occasionally, a timeline overlap allows me to bring back a character I’ve worked with before. Joseph Callahan played a villain in Three, but stars as the hero in Eight. Adrian Zandor appeared in One and Seven (and Five, in a way). James Grenleigh has parts in four different novels.
Book Nine, The Apothecary’s Daughter, presented a perfect opportunity to include some characters from previous books, since the story overlaps with Book Three, Myrhiadh’s War. You’ll be seeing James Grenleigh, Myrhiadh Eathain, Andrew Bramston, and the Praeceptor, while Sara Keelan, a minor character from War, takes on the lead role. I’ve enjoyed working with some of my old friends again.
Reusing old characters can be more challenging than creating new ones. Old characters are set in their ways. Without a believable motivation for change, they need to respond the way the reader expects them to, regardless of circumstances.
The writer must recall the character’s mannerisms and individual quirks. A difference in time between stories might mean he is now a child or an elderly person. His history and future must connect to the current events.
James Grenleigh’s role in Nine is overshadowed by circumstances described in Three. I could never forget what was driving him, or he wouldn’t have rung true with readers. His relationship with Andrew Bramston, whom he has only newly met face to face, is a peculiar mix of friend and enemy. Leaders of nations recently at war and negotiating the joint ruling of a defeated foe, James and Andrew’s interactions require a distinct level of tension while still being cooperative.
But old characters are good friends. The writer knows them, and familiarity is helpful overall, even if they challenge the framework of a new story with their history.
Creating new characters is a complex process, but if they’re consistent and believable, anything goes. Sara Keelan had a seven-page role in Three—minor enough that I could shape her for Book Nine with only a few rules to follow from the earlier title.
Book Nine is available now, and it details the new adventures of some favorite characters. After that, Book Ten will see the return of several characters from previous books, and I’ll be throwing my good friends into some unimaginable situations. We’ll see how previously developed personalities respond when everything around them changes completely!
Stay tuned. I’ve got lots in store for Caledon yet!
Check out my interview with blogger Fiona Mcvie! https://wp.me/p3uv2y-75n