A Change of Luck: Writing Strong Characters and Addressing Important Issues

At long last, we are releasing the next book in the Chanmyr Chronicles! I’m sure you remember that I started writing In Luck’s Shadow– over a year ago! Okay, longer than that:) I had the best of intentions about getting it finished– but then.. the things happened:)

Also, I did a minor detour last fall and wrote Luck’s Pawn (will post about that in a moment;), because Kirrin became such a popular story and he had, and still has, more story to tell.

So it took me a bit to get back to In Luck’s Shadow. Then, in January, I realized why I was having such a hard time. The story had gotten so long that it needed to be divided into two books. A Change of Luck is the first half of the original book. And even still, it is over 100k words. Knowing how much story I have left to tell, I wonder how long Luck’s Shadow will be:)

But Diya’s story was so much fun to write. As a character, she is interesting and there is so much to explore. While she was born into the upper nobility in a prestigious House, she is a woman– in a culture where power belongs to the men (sound familiar?). Most of her life has been pretty “Lindsay Lohan” Kardashian in terms of the social parties and frivolity. She is well educated but has zero demands or expectations. Her only requirement would be to produce an heir for the House. She knew she would have to marry for the sake of her House… it was part of life. I don’t think she envisioned Hak’kar’s weasely son as the prospective groom though!

Thanks to this crisis- Diya is going to change the way she thinks about the world. I think that I tend to write my characters into corners, into crises, and then see what they do. I remember learning that the chinese word for crisis also implies opportunity. I like to take those pivotal moments and look at how they change the course of events. I did it with both Kirrin and Jedda. Now, it’s Diya’s turn. For her, it is a question of her place in society and if she will be happy in the expected role.

When I wrote Kirrin’s story, I already knew how his story ended. Borrowed Luck and Luck’s Pawn are simply filling in the blanks, after the fact. But I knew he was going to become a complex and dark character. When I wrote the scene where he assaults Miral, it was intended to show what happens when we take “bad advice,” The intended message was “don’t be that guy.” That was why it balanced out so well with Kirrin’s realization that he would be more successful if he knew more (about women).

Jedda was a kind of parallel to Kirrin’s choices– but don’t worry, I haven’t really delved into Jedda’s crisis moments and choices yet;)

Now, it’s Diya’s turn. For her, it is a question of her place in society and if she will be happy in the expected role.And I think these are still issues for us today, too. While I don’t intentionally set out to write about relevant issues, it’s hard not to find parallels to good characters.

With Diya, I think so much of her issues are relevant to the #timesup and #metoo issues that are front and center. Diya is learning that she wants to be respected, more than she wants to be admired or cherished. And Diya, being Diya– just may find a way to turn the world on its head, to get what she wants, and she does it by being smart!!! I think that’s a great lesson for anyone:) Stay tuned to see how painful her choices are going to be:)

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