While writing the books, it’s a fact that surprises many that some things in them aren’t planned. Conversations, for me, frequently go in the wrong direction and have to be dragged back on course, but the decisions of characters tend to be something I stick with. They’ve made a choice and I have to respect that, even if I didn’t see it coming until I wrote it. Experience shows that it’s often something that works out well because it’s come naturally – Doranei and Zhia being the prime example. Doranei was going to be a very much secondary character until Zhia started flirting with him and I’m very pleased with how it turned out, their relationship being very important now in my mind.
I mention it because I’ve recently been mailed by each of the fans who got an advance copy of Ragged Man, both of whom made several comments and one of those was about Xeliath. It occurs to me that of the characters who surprise me, making decisions I hadn’t planned and sending the books in new, fruitful directions, they’re more likely to be the female characters. It’s not something I’ve really considered before, but it’s a curious thing to ponder. In this overtly male, militaristic world I’ve built, it’s the women who’re not conforming and by that adding greater depth to proceedings. I’m not drawing any conclusions from that, I’m just noting that it’s interesting.