I got tagged by Jori Mierek in a blog hop about favorite characters. I can’t say it was an easy choice, but I would have to say Althea from Prophet of the Badlands is my favorite by a smidge. Writing from Althea’s POV is fun because of how different the world is to someone with her upbringing. What is everyday and mundane to most people is full of magic to her. For example, old skyscrapers falling open aren’t buildings made by men, but giant nests constructed by unimaginable insects―because mere men couldn’t possibly have built something so massive.
1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
Althea is a fictional character in The Awakened series. She is painfully innocent, to the point of tolerating horrible treatment so long as she can continue to help others. Her world is one of harsh rules, where the strong take what they want unless someone stronger can stop them. She is able to control the energies within a person and speed up their rate of healing such that even the most grievous of wounds vanish in moments. For this, she has become well known, and everyone in the Badlands wants to own her.
I think she’s my favorite due to her combination of resilience, innocence, and compassion. Also, of all “powers” I’ve always been fond of healers. While I was writing Division Zero, I had Althea standing behind me tapping her foot waiting her turn. While writing Prophet of the Badlands, I had some plans in the outline about 65% of the way through that she rather didn’t approve of. When I hit that scene, she tapped me on the shoulder and shook her head. I wound up changing the story in a major way at that point, a tweak that rippled throughout the rest of the series. I am hoping her combination of inner strength, innocence, and plain horrible luck endear her to readers who (like I did) will want to reach into the story and pull her out to a safe place.
2) When and where is the story set?
Prophet of the Badlands is set in the year 2418. For the most part, the story takes place in the Badlands, which is basically most of central North America. Due to war involving cybernetic-enhanced gene-tweaked mutants as well as chemical/biological and small nuclear weapons, most of the interior of the continent has been abandoned. Modern cities line both coasts, but those who live in the middle are unaware of them, believing a curtain of fire marks the end of the world.
3) What should we know about him/her?
Althea is somewhere between eleven and twelve years old, and has been kidnapped over and over again since she was six. All she knows of her mother is from a faint story she heard of being abandoned at a small village by a lake. Her blue eyes emit bright light, a side effect of her Awakened nature, a visible manifestation of her ability to see in the dark. Her strongest psionic power is healing; she can command a person’s body to mend itself at a touch, sensing sickness and injury as distortions in the body’s “shapes.” Her second strongest power is telempathy (the ability to manipulate and read emotions). She is also capable of psionic suggestion, allowing her to force short commands on people, though she is far weaker (due to lack of practice) with that gift. Like most psionics, she possesses a degree of telepathy, able to listen to the surface thoughts of others, as well as communicate with a mental voice.
Since she was six, she has been repeatedly abducted by everyone from well-meaning villagers to marauding gangs. Everyone in the Badlands has heard the stories of the Prophet, and in a world without medical technology, they all want her to be theirs.
She has little reaction to the sight of gore, but cringes at violence–even balking at the idea of hurting people who keep her captive. She starts off desperate to help everyone she can while being terrified that one wrong move could turn the people’s adoration into hatred. Badlanders are notorious for their superstitions, and she tolerates captivity because she is afraid of how they would treat her if they knew she could do more than heal. Her reputation as The Prophet affords her a degree of protection, as those who hold her prisoner handle her as gentle as bloodthirsty marauders can―well aware of the legends which claim bad things happen to those who mistreat her.
4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
Not all of her “owners” are the same degree of cruel. When the story starts, she belongs to a group of primitive tribals who have come to trust her promise that she will not attempt to flee. She is allowed to exist among them out of her cage, and forms a friendship with Den, a boy a few years older than her who is also the son of the chief. Her gifts let her see through the gossip, that he only wants her for prestige-to have the Prophet as his pet-and she knows he genuinely cares for her. For years, she has gone through an endless series of abductions, not caring too much about being taken because she had lost nothing. When raiders take her away from the little village, she remembers what it feels like to hate being kidnapped.
5) What is the personal goal of the character?
Althea’s personal goal is primarily to help others. She doesn’t care what happens to her as long as she is able to ease the suffering of everyone around her. As the story progresses, and she develops emotional connections of her own, her goals change to one of protecting the people she cares about as she finds the courage to do so.
6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
PROPHET OF THE BADLANDS is complete, and will be released next year. Althea also reappears in other books in The Awakened series. Click HERE for more information on Prophet of the Badlands.
7) When can we expect the book to be published?
The current date for publication is April 27 2015.
I was tagged by : Jori Mierek
I’m tagging the following authors: (If you are up for it, post your answers to these questions and tag more writers.)
Evan Hourihan – (Bent, Time Lapse) http://ethourihan.com/