From the Author's Heart
An Insiders View on Son of the Crown
The reoccurring themes and ideas that you will find throughout ‘Son of the Crown’ are there through no mere accident. Some tropes like forbidden magic are very common in fantasy genres.
I have spoken to a number of people throughout this project who have voiced an interest in what themes I have included. Some of these themes are explored through the lens of faith. It’s difficult to separate faith from a life lived … so I won’t even try. If you do not wish to read on … that’s fine. Do you need to have knowledge of this paper to enjoy my debut novel? Absolutely not.
If you wish to read on, I highly suggest reading the novel first. This paper will contain spoilers in the discussions
All characters need a flaw. When I first began writing this story, Kieryn and Jodathyn’s relationship was strong and untroubled. Kieryn was written as a wise, benevolent king much like Aragon from Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. Not to say Aragon didn’t have a tragic past, but I began to delve into Kieryn’s past and worked backwards to work out what type of man and king he grew up to be.
It might not be apparent at first, but Kieryn’s story is one full of loss and tragedy. Many of the character’s stories are. The loss of his mother at a young age and his father’s inattention left him alone to struggle with his grief. There are some short snippets in the story that gives some insight to Kieryn’s relationship with his late-father. Kieryn himself describes his father’s view of him as a constant frustration and disappointment.
Left alone to cope, Kieryn became a self-reliant man who seems to be unable to break the cycle of his own anger. He grew into a man whose temper is legendary in the castle. Kieryn knows this is a major character flaw, and he is frustrated by his own failure to rein it in.
Kieryn is also highly protective of his brother, Jodathyn, and his son, Prince Carvelle. Perhaps a product of losing his parents at a young age and two young stillborn daughters. He can be seen as commanding and unyielding.
Another one of Kieryn’s flaws is that he relies too heavily on his favoured lords. Even though he has taught his son, “A good king knows to listen”, those not in favour are not always listened to. Will Hartcurt’s warnings thus far have gone unheeded. At this stage of the story, Kieryn is beginning to understand how he has been duped. We are beginning to see Kieryn questioning his effectiveness as ruler.
Kieryn is not a paragon of virtue like Aragon nor is he a bad man. Look for Kieryn’s arc in book two and see how he reacts to learning more about the political state of his country.
Likewise, Jodathyn had flaws and failures that he has to contend with. Living under the shadow of a brother who is loved and adored, he struggles with feelings of jealousy. Deep within himself Jodathyn wants what his brother has – not the crown. But he wants to be loved. It’s a basic human need that he has been denied for much of his life. Jodathyn is so driven by this need he doesn’t see that he has a chosen family that do care very deeply for him.
If we go onto other characters. Orion can be a little self-righteous – a product of coming from a military family. He’s been taught the ways of honour from a very young age.
Carvelle is spoilt.
Theo can be lazy.
Nym and Illeanah are both judgemental.
Predictions, Prophecy and Loyalty! OH MY!
This is an interesting conversation all in itself. Instead of the tried and used method of creating a rhyming prophecy that is confusing … I went in a different direction. Why?
I can’t write poetry – it would just be cheesy (and bad)
A prophecy could potentially limit what Jodathyn’s power can do
I wanted to try something different. Jodathyn records what he remembers. He writes things down and illustrates pictures. His dreams can be quite confusing or clear. They can happen waking or sleeping. Jodathyn’s gift is not bound by a composed poem.
Guess what? I enjoyed writing the predictions a whole lot more using this method.
There’s an interesting story of friendship in the book of 1 Samuel in the Bible, and it’s my favourite. And spoiler alert, my favourite Bible character is not David.
Basic run down of the story. King Saul, stuffed up, disobeyed God and so God looked for a king that would be more inclined to listen to his word. He sent his prophet Samuel to the house of Jesse, telling him the future King of Israel was there. God did not choose the eldest half a dozen sons, but the one that was in the field. David. The one no one thought much of (not even his own dad). Samuel anointed David.
Cutting the long story short. The Palestinians came. A great big giant of a man Goliath threatened Israel. David won favour and notoriety for slaying the giant. Many of you would know the story.
During his time at the king’s palace, David became very good friends with King Saul’s son Jonathan. The Bible says their friendship was like a close brotherhood. Now this could potentially cause a great big rift. Jonathan was the heir to the throne and David was anointed by God to take his place.
King Saul was a tormented man; his burst of anger was well known. One time in a fit of fury he threw a spear at David, who would play the harp to calm his temper.
Jonathan had a choice to make. He could side with his father and hand David over or he could remain loyal to David, even though it might not end well for him. I have a great admiration for Jonathan … he chose loyalty. He allowed David to escape his father’s anger … and once when David was on the run he went to him to give him encouragement. The thought to take David’s life never occurred to Jonathan.
Why did I tell you this story? Why is it important here?
King Hadryn’s reaction to his consort’s predictions was similar to that of King Saul. I think truly horrific in my story is that Hadryn was willing to harm a newborn child – his own child. Later in the series, Kieryn will reveal more about this situation. Hang tight!
Jodathan’s reaction is like Kieryn’s. Kieryn had the opportunity to walk away and let his baby brother be slaughtered. No one would have blamed a 14-year-old boy for not defying the king. Instead, even though it had been predicted Jodathyn would bring ruin and his own death, Kieryn decided to save his brother’s life. Throughout the novel you will notice places where pressure is being applied to Kieryn to rid Rama of Jodathyn. One of his advisers even suggests ordering his personal guard to murder Jodathyn in his sleep. Kieryn is horrified by the idea.
David is like Jodathyn. I have plans for my boy Jodathyn. He does have a plan and a purpose. He has a destiny. But that’s all I’m going to say on that topic!
Family & Friendships
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
Another theme that runs strongly through Son of the Crown is the idea of family and friendships. Jodathyn may not feel like he has the courage or the fortitude to stand up to the powers that be, but he does. And it’s through his found family and friendships that he forges a team that is able to take on greater odds.
Each character in Jodathyn’s band has a different and vital role that they play. Not everyone is a sword swinger. Theo has information and the ability to scrounge up supplies. Even though he’s not sure about it, Orion has leadership skills. And dear Nym isn’t as ferocious as she likes to make out. Without her, Jodathyn would have gone mad in the prison ship.
Jodathyn might have a destiny but he doesn’t have to do it alone.
From whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:16
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. – Proverbs 17:17
Many of my characters have a choice. Are they to remain loyal or will they go their own way? Many choose to remain loyal even if they don’t benefit or the consequences for loyalty comes at a great cost.
Sometimes in life we face this choice. And it is up to us, how we respond.
Jodathyn could have left Prince Carvelle in the forest and fled to the coast. It would have been easier and
quicker. But we all know our boy would not leave Carvelle behind to die.
Orion likewise could have ignored Donatein’s pleas for him to go and find his master. He knows stealing form the king’s stable has the death penalty. He finds Jodathyn and helps protect Carvelle. Later Jodathyn asks Orion to look after Carvelle if something was to happen. Orion chooses to do that, deciding to return the prince to
Pallaryn even if it will mean he faces death.
Theo’s loyalty is a little more complicated. He’s travelling with Orion hoping to see his sister again. He will face further choices later down the road.
Likewise, Fydellah and Ruevyn’s choices could be the end of them.
Valt and Donatein died protecting Jodathyn. Donatein could have attempted to flee with Orion, but the old man decided that Orion’s chances of survival was better if he stayed behind.
Sometimes loyalty is hard.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
Women of Rama
In my obsession to write drafts, rewrite drafts and continue to rewrite drafts, I became addicted to adding characters. Unfortunately, I had to let go of about 25 characters in total. It was the right decision. In doing this I ensured that I got to know my characters better.
It also meant I had to think carefully about the types of characters and personalities in my story. I want to break down the women of Rama and why they are all very different from each other.
Here are some observations in the order they appear in the story. I think each woman is awesome in her own way. I wanted to have a variety of types.
What I love about Fy is her feistiness. She’s a highborn lady that has unfortunately found herself sold into slavery. Will Hartcurt rescues her in chapter two. What she’s been through, the betrayal the journey from Myryn to Pallaryn is terrible. She’s a strong personality, she’s resourceful and resilient. If you have read her short story she is well educated. She’s a smart cookie that has no trouble telling my fellas exactly what is on her mind.
Now, a very important question, she had a pet bird in her short story. Do I need to find a way of giving her a new pet by the end of the series? As I said very important!
I didn’t want to be like Disney and kill off all the mothers. Prince Carvelle was given a loving mother and King Kieryn has a devoted wife. To outsiders she might seem serene, calm and unassuming, but the Queen is so much more than that.
She doesn’t feature heavily in book one. But the thoughts of characters that know her well paint another picture. She is womanly and softly spoken, however she is one of the only characters that tells the High King off when it’s warranted.
Her husband describes her as a sword wrapped up in silk skirts and a pleasant smile. He quite rightly comments that anyone who underestimates her, is a fool.
Be assured you will be seeing exactly what Odelle Pallarus is capable of by the end of the series.
I wanted to show a mother figure that was ‘softer’ but had another side. We will be seeing the queen and ‘Mamma Bear’ energy. Do you know what? I loved Odelle’s softer side. Yes, her personality has been a comfort for the men in her family; her husband, child and her ‘brother’ Jodathyn. I can respect a woman that can love and accept a young man that is said to be the ‘doom’ of either her husband or child, or both.
Illeanah Whitoak was one of the original characters. Her personality traits and concepts were first built upon my feelings of myself when I was in high school. Yes, some of these characters are that old. She is how I felt during those teenage years. Smart, not conventionally pretty and not great with people.
It used to gall me when every single female character was good looking. I couldn’t see myself in them. Jodathyn might agree with my assessment of his childhood friend. I wanted to show that smart was awesome and it’s okay not to always fit in with your peers.
There’s much more to Illeanah Whitoak.
When I decided very early in the piece that Illeanah might not be the love interest for Jodathyn, I turned to Nym Torkelle. Then she opened her mouth.
Angry, abrasive and aggressive. Nym is our fighter. She is one of the most enjoyable characters to write. I love how she swears. Fortunately for Jodathyn and Nym, she came out more prickly than I first intended and then I just kept developing her.
Nym is strong. She’s a leader. But during the close of the novel you see some of those abrasive edges fall away. This girl knows how to get things done and she’s not afraid to be mouthy about it. Her quick tongue and brazen attitude has also allowed her to talk to Jodathyn in ways other characters have not.
In a strange twist of fate, she has become a friend that Jodathyn desperately needed. (And he for her). Nym Torkelle and Jodathyn Pallarus have to be the strangest combination of friends I can think of. When Jodathyn stepped out of the abandoned hut to face the dragon of Death and Despair, this was a turning point for their friendship. Where Nym showed a disdain for him, Jodathyn repaid her with kindness … when Jodathyn was at breaking point, Nym offered her comfort and encouragement.
Am I finished with the woman folk of Rama? NOPE! There’s two more major female characters to add to the mix and guess what, they are different again. I won’t give you their names yet, as I might change my mind (again).
There are also some minor female character Jodathyn and crew meet along the way.
I hope you have enjoyed reading Son of the Crown. Please, if you are able, leave a review on my Goodreads or Amazon pages.