I’m a long time reader of the urban fantasy genre. I love the idea of the supernatural colliding with the mundane in our world. However, when I decided to write the Hall of Blood and Mercy trilogy, I knew I wanted my various supernaturals to come in slightly different flavors than the usual kinds you read about. Twisting long-held genre tropes/beliefs usually provides the best humorous content, so I decided to really focus my efforts on the secondary characters in this trilogy.
So let’s talk about a few of those people!
Celestina Drake is a vampire—and not just any vampire, but the First Knight of the Drake Family. She’s deadly, gorgeous, and powerful. But when I was designing her role, I puzzled out what would it be like to be the second-in-command of someone like Killian. I concluded she would be overworked, have no free time, and lack opportunities to make deep friendships. These are all problems Killian has, so it’s pretty natural that they’d be reflected in his top vampire.
After pinning down those problems, I asked myself, ‘How would this affect Celestina?’ And it was then that I realized she would be starved not only for friendship, but for anything at all relaxing.
And thus, her desire to experience spa-style pampering for the first time in her very long life was born! I had so much fun playing up this aspect of her personality—it makes a great foil for her raw power that she hides 99% of the time, and it’s a very unlikely hobby for a vampire, which gives me plenty of chances to play up the humor in her, as well.
This also played into a trope that I generally don’t like–the idea that two women obviously have to be at odds just because the boss guy is interested in one of them. My disdain for that common plot device made it so I wanted Celestina to go out of her way to welcome Hazel. (What did she have to lose? Because of Hazel Celestina was experiencing free time for the first time in her life!) Even beyond that, I wanted Celestina to become Hazel’s friend.
As humans, we need friendships. Friends support and encourage us. They make us laugh, and won’t hesitate to tell us like it is. I wanted to create a set of urban fantasy characters where this kind of friendship could bloom–because even kickbutt heroines need friends to help dust them off and get back up for the next fight.
Which brings me to the next point! It was also really important to me to express the warmth of Celestina’s personality, as well. The traditional vampire is classically very cold/unemotional. And while Celestina is serious when the occasion calls for it, she’s also welcoming and very charismatic, which is crucial for her role as First Knight. Think about it, if the Drakes only had Killian and Josh at the top, things would be reaaaallllyyy different. Even from a leadership aspect her warmth is important to balance out the Family.
And if I also deeply enjoyed undermining the classic vampire with her sparkling disposition, weeeeeelllll maybe that wasn’t entirely accidental. 😉
Up next we have Josh Drake! Josh was loosely inspired by a friend of mine (who, yes, has a thing for collecting weapons of all kinds) but I specifically twisted this character to go against almost every vampire trope in existence.
It starts with his name–Josh is probably the most non-vampire name you can get–and continues with his entire persona. He’s not as tall, and doesn’t appear to be as deadly as the other vampires.
He’s well versed in all weapons from guns to swords to martial arts, but doesn’t hesitate to use them in ways that might seem…unusual. (ie: the infamous potato chip bag scene.) However, unless he’s serious, he has the intimidation factor of a sad kitten. I purposely did this because 99% of vampires in fiction books are super intimidating, and are usually so deadly they frighten everyone in the area. Josh is the opposite in that people tend to underestimate him–except his Family, obviously.
I also wanted to make him a different sort of weapons lover–because I’ve seen tons of characters in the variety where they respect their weapons and take excellent care of them. So I decided to make Josh more on the end of a person who loves his weapons, but especially loves to buy and use them! (For ANY purpose.)
He does have the sort of melancholic persona a lot of vampires are presented with, but instead of being “wistful for days past” or “jaded by present times” I gave into the sarcastic delight of my heart and made it so Josh soulfully predicts death around every corner, and unlike Killian, he practically looks forward to his demise.
What do you think, Champions? What other secondary characters in this series intrigued you? 🙂