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"They shall not be ashamed that wait for Me."



When the Watchmen first rode up, they were a nebulous thought. The fog surrounding them soon dissipated and one by one they came into view. I had to know more of these people. What was it like to be so close to the Garden of Eden and yet so far away? What was it like to be so blessed and yet so persecuted?


Determined to get answers, I tracked them down just before the noon meal in the great hall and requested a short interview.


Me: Bree, you are central to this story of Azriel. How does all this attention make you feel?


Bree lifts her chin and glares.


Rafe: (Smiling slightly and shaking his head.) She's not going to answer that.


Me: (Taken aback) Oh…ok. Would you like to tell me where you're from? Where were you born?


Bree: Here.


Me: (After a moment's pause.) Here as in Azriel?


Bree: It's in the book, right? (Her eyes narrow.)


Me: Y-yes. I thought you might want to…(taking a deep breath and watching her sword arm) Is there anything in particular you'd like the readers to know? I mean, your story is pretty incredible. You brought down SHE. Your presence in Azriel has benefited the people here greatly. (Bree shuffles her feet and glances at the ground) The Watchmen are all indebted to you.


Bree: (Quietly) I am indebted to them.


Me: (I wait for more but there's only silence.)


Wesley: (Stepping forward) We are grateful to have her back with us.


Rafe smiles at Bree and she returns it, briefly.


Me: Bree, do you have any plans for the future?


Bree: Drucilla is still out there. She must be brought to justice.


Me: Do you know where she is right now?


Bree: It's rumored she's taken shelter in Marsena. We will track her down.


The bell sounds. The midday meal is ready. Finn dips his head in a goodbye and leads the group into the hall. Bree turns on her heel and follows Rafe in. Just before she enters the door she turns to me and I'm struck by the resolve that radiates off her diminutive figure.


We live our lives in awe of those who do great things, as if they have some special magic that makes them larger than life. We fail to realize that these are men and women who live one day at a time just as we do. They have the same number of hours in each day as we do. The same gifts, talents and abilities. But they are legends because they choose to embrace the struggle, to take the narrow path and live their lives to the fullest. 


Bree: (Lifts her head. She has a final word for me.) Thank you.

She turns and disappears behind the doors.


My smile wobbles as I try to ignore the lump in my throat, the tears stinging behind my eyes.


The Watchmen Are Here.


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Finding characters

Writer's don't have magical powers. Using skills we hone and sharpen we weave tales of enchantment that pull you onto the page and leave you spell bound, but we don't actually carry wands or sprinkle fairy dust. We are highly imaginative but we can't actually pull characters out of thin air.


So where do our characters come from? You'd be surprised.


Yes, I did say we can't pull them out of thin air but it sometimes does work that way. I'm not talking in circles.


None of us exist in a vacuum. It can be something as simple a laugh in the next aisle of a grocery store. You don't see the person but in your mind's eye, a character takes shape. They dress a little bohemian, maybe. They are vegan, rather, they want to be vegan but can't resist real cheese. They prefer cats over dogs because they relate to the cat's air of smug superiority. But cats don't like them. Their apartment manager doesn't allow dogs, even as a consolation prize, so they opt for a gerbil instead. A gerbil that hates them. It sits in the corner glaring at them through malevolent beady eyes.


You see what's happening here? You've never seen this person, but an entire world is building around that one sound you heard for less than five seconds. A simple laugh. But what kind of a laugh is it? Is person who is hated by a gerbil the kind of person to have a carefree laugh?


This is the life of a writer. We take elements of the world around us and build on it. Characters take shape out of it. The vapid hairdresser who can't remember any of her customer's names but can fix any hair problem known to man. Have I met her? Possibly. Maybe a tiny piece of her is buried somewhere deep in my psyche and is waiting to come out and meet the chatty barista- who just happens to be pursuing her law degree. Oh wait, that was a move, right? Or close to it.


A writer absorbs their surroundings like a sponge. The smells of an outdoor grill, the soft coos emitted by a happy baby, the riotous color of a farmer's market. Your character sitting in the depressing diner? Where did that come from? Remember that trip to Phoenix you took years ago and had to make that stop?


Every experience gets stamped in indelible ink on our memories. It's then filed by an chaotically organized brain that stands ready to pull them out at the slightest whiff. 


Nothing is wasted. The six senses are always reporting, the brain always recording. Life is always happening.


This is where our characters come from. 






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