Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Oh, Trevain! What a mighty complex fella you are...

I have fragments of half-written novels scrawled in every notebook and saved in every folder of every computer I have ever owned. There must be some reason why Drowning Mermaids was the first novel I ever actually managed to complete--a reason more profound than it just being the correct time in my life to facilitate such a project. Now, it certainly was the correct time: I had just graduated, and for the first time, money wasn't tight to the point of being a noose around my neck. But I really believe that the main reason that I was compelled to write the Sacred Breath Series can be summed up in one word:


Yes, my middle-aged crabber, Captain Trevain Murphy. I'm not saying that I'm rabidly in love with the man (he's not quite my type--too nice) but more than any character I've ever created, he has the ability to constantly surprise me. Everything he says and does feels so real. When I was writing Boundless Sea, I often had to pause and throw my hands up in the hair, and shout at my computer:

"What are you doing, Trevain? What the hell are you DOING? This isn't like you!"

I would send chunks of the story to my beta-readers as I completed it, just so I could complain, "Do you see? I can't believe he did that!" They would respond, in confusion, "Um, but didn't you write it?" It's hard to explain how detached and distant I felt from the work while being completely immersed at the same time. Trevain really seemed to just reach out of the laptop and force my fingers to do his bidding. He forced my whole brain to coexist with his for a few minutes. This character is strong.

An annoyingly common experience I have is for someone I knew in my previous life (a non-reader) to try and make the effort to read my stories to impress me or be kind. But non-readers have very strange ideas about novels. The most irksome question I generally receive is: "Are you Aazuria?"

For heaven's sake! People can be so superficial. First of all, no one is any single character precisely. Even if my novel was an autobiography (which it is not, sadly--I could drown in my bathtub if I intended to) I would expect the portrayal to be distorted. Secondly, just because she has long dark hair (above water) and generally looks similar to me, does not mean she is me. Especially in the beginning when we have not yet really met her-- the whole narrative is from Trevain's point of view. If I'm writing someone's thoughts from their perspective, I am trying my darned hardest to get into that person's brain and be him for a moment. Male or female. Whether he or she looks like me or not.

And when I'm being Trevain, I sometimes feel challenged to the point of being uncomfortable. I love that feeling! I have so much respect for this character and his continuous effort to do things the right way. Why is it that good intentions always seem to sabotage a person? Vachlan doesn't care either way about doing the right thing, but life seems somehow easier for him...

If you're reading Drowning Mermaids, here are a few questions you might want to consider:
    • Does Trevain seem more influenced by sound or sight?
    • What are his ideas on the limitations of the body?
    • Do the women in his life comfort him or cause conflict?
    • What is the real reason Trevain wants to learn sign language?
    • At his lowest moments, who or what guides him back to strength?
    • Is his world based more on physical or mental power?
If you've already read the story, and especially if you've completed the series, you probably understand the reason for many of the hints and subtle undertones that are present in Book #1. At this point, as I write Book #4, I find myself reflecting a lot and trying to figure out how to climb my way out of the deep hole I've dug for myself. =) But it's a rather lovely hole.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on any of the stories.
Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. ;-;

    This was a really entertaining post Nadia. You remind me that even though I love V Squared and they are so much fun that the Good Man Trevain deserves his appreciation too...