Reign of Magic was tricky to write for a lot of reasons, but mostly because of the sheer number of characters you meet and see. Of course the Summit made things extra difficult–almost every couple in the series appeared in it, and since it was told from Angelique’s viewpoint she obviously had a very different experience in greeting them. She also interacted far more with the mages, bringing in another component of the Summit that the Timeless Fairy Tale readers never got to see.
I think one of the personally most difficult characters to bring back, however, was Rothbart. He only appears in two scenes in Reign of Magic, but readers of my Swan Lake retelling know that he has a very tragic story. He’s actually a lot of fun to write. Between his cynical mind and bluntness, he’s prone to dropping some pretty painful insults on the likes of Liliane and Suzu. But I also enjoy his character because he does love underneath that charade of his. He loves deeply and without boundaries, which is why he chooses the end that he did.
As an author, it was unexpectedly painful for me to send Rothbart off a second time. I can’t even exactly say why, except that it made me sad for him again. (Which proves what a sap I am. I am sad for an imaginary person I made up. Le sigh.)
I had more fun with the likes of Princess Astra of Baris. Fairy Tale Enchantress readers got to see her as a little girl in Apprentice of Magic, so it was a lot of fun to bring her back into the story as an adult. (Although when I first wrote her into Apprentice of Magic I wasn’t nearly so cheery due to all the backwards math I had to do to make sure her ages lined up since I knew she would appear later in the story. Ugh.)
Lovelana is another character I brought back. But while I can confidently say she didn’t enjoy the experience I certainly did. (I always like messing with my characters and shaking their beliefs, muwahah!)
But even with all the characters I brought back, you also get some new people–like the smuggling sisters from Farset, the head librarian in Ciane, mages like Glaze, and more.
I enjoyed writing Glaze because of the change in attitude she has towards Angelique, and both the smuggling sisters and the head librarian and her pages were entertaining because of the sass in their temperaments, but one of the sisters in particular, Neely, meant a lot to me.
I made a short post on Facebook about this, but Neely is named in honor of a Champion from our community: a lovely and funny lady named Kimberly Neely, who passed away this summer.
Kimberly was a long-time Champion and friended me on Facebook ages ago. Even though we mostly interacted on my author page, I always loved seeing her Facebook posts on my timeline because she had the best sense of humor and always posted things that made me laugh even when a book was giving me trouble, like Reign of Magic did.
I never got to thank her for that. Or tell her how much I valued the cheer she spread in our community whenever she chimed in to a conversation.
So brave but sassy Neely is the best sendoff I could think up for her. Thank you, Kimberly, for all the laughs. I hope Neely can make other Champions laugh on in your honor.
And that is all for today, Champions! Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day!