This is our last batch of deep dives into characters, and we’re hitting up our main protagonists: Rigel and Leila!
When I first designed this series, I knew Rigel was going to be a challenge. I mean, the guy tries to kill Leila the first times he sees her. Ingratiating him to other characters, much less you Champions, was going to be a difficult task.
Moreover, I needed Rigel to be believably competent to the point where he was almost scary, but then I needed him to believably switch to helping Leila. The tension of the story would be terrible if he easily switched sides, and if he started the series by siding with her that was going to make the whole thing of him trying to kill her totally fake. And Rigel needed to be the one to try to kill Leila because it would make for interesting romance–which is a real fight for me–and he was my best source of clues for hinting at who was ultimately responsible, which I badly needed!
To make it worse, Rigel wasn’t a talkative character! Killian is charismatic and totally willing to carry on a conversation, which makes it easier to show out the different facets of his personality. Rigel–silent with a penchant for looming–was the exact opposite. This meant I had to show more scenes from his point of view so readers knew what he was thinking and, more importantly, I had to make every sentence he spoke and every physical action he took count on about five different levels.
It’s a huge deal when–during their wedding–Rigel steps up to protect Leila. But it took pretty much the entire book to set up for that moment so you’d be able to understand how crucial that change was.
I wanted Rigel to fall in love in a way that was different from my previous male protagonists–particularly Killian and his love story with Hazel. That was partially what inspired me to make him an assassin–the idea of taking this silent assassin and mashing him with loveable Leila and watching the sparks fly made me actually excited–instead of petrified–to write their romance.
Hilariously, the hardships with Rigel became the very thing that made him fun to write: his subtleties. The way he can tell the glooms and shades apart and will pet them, the fact that he listens and hears Leila when she’s up late at night and fighting an emotional battle–he shows his character and his love in a hundred tiny ways. And while that was daunting at the start of the series, by the end I was having an utter blast dreaming up all of his minute actions.
Plus, I love a good villains-to-lovers romance, so I was destined to like our taciturn hero!
Fierce, blunt, and hilarious Leila is undoubtedly one of my favorite heroines I’ve ever gotten to write. Her sarcasm combined with the general obliviousness of the fae–and their horror at her playfulness–made her a dream to write.
She tumbled onto the scene because I wanted to write a modern day heroine who didn’t want to be queen and was so different from her people she was practically alien to them. I knew it would make for some great laughs, and I also knew that in order for the fae to be “saved” just as Hazel and Killian have begun whipping the vampires and wizards into shape, that the fae needed someone who wouldn’t back down but was also kind enough to listen.
And that is Leila’s true power. Yes, she won’t take death threats sitting down, or let her nobles push her around, but she’s willing to forgive, and she can be kind. That’s why she accepts Chrysanthe’s friendship–and Chrys pays her back tenfold. It’s why she loves the night mares even though they look like something that stepped out of a horror story–and again, they pay back her love tenfold.
While Leila’s sarcasm is the flashiest part of her personality, it’s her kindness that makes reclaiming the Night Realm possible. The Night Court would never have shown up for a queen who only belittled fae and did whatever she wanted. But they would die for Leila because she’s strong enough to stop the infighting, and soft enough to forgive them.
For example, even though she hates socials and does everything she can to decrease spending, she knows those events are important to the fae, so she makes sure they happen. (On a much more reasonable budget, but it’s the thought that counts!) And while she resists tea for almost the entirety of the series, her loyalty to her people is what makes her break and try tea–and she’s rewarded because it turns out her people decided to try coffee because of their loyalty to her.
Leila is all about opposites coming together. She’s human and fae; sarcastic and soft; strong in magic but weak in her own realm; intelligent but ignorant in a lot of fae ways.
There won’t ever be another heroine quite like Leila, but I loved her story, and I can’t wait to watch her keep growing as the Magiford stories continue.
That’s all for today, Champions! I hope you enjoyed our character studies. We still have a few more themed posts to go through–I hope you’re having as much fun as I am! Until next time, have a beautiful day!
I absolutely loved this series. I sorta started with Leila and Rigel first, and just finished Hazel and Killian’s trilogy this morning. So much fun! My kids said they haven’t heard me laugh this much with a book series in about 2 years. So THANK YOU! It was a much needed fun mental break after taking care of 3 COVID patients. 😀
I also love that they are clean romances, and could pass them on to my teen without worry. Can’t wait for the next book. We are now debating how to say Rigel’s name. RI-Gel, Rih-gel, or RE-Gul. We looked up the meaning of their names, and very clever choices.
Can you share please, what you found? I found that Rigel’s name is pronounced RYE-jel, but the only definitions I found said the name was Arabic in origin and that it means “foot,” in honor of the brightest star in the Orion constellation. By clever choice were you referring to how he’s seen as a kind of star because of his wings’ pattern?
Yes, for a moment I was stumped when I found out what Rigel meant. I’m all like, . . . foot? why does his name mean foot? But I think the star and wing pattern may be a reason. Please share, Karin!
Leila and Rigel are the best. Sometimes I read books that just feel really formulated, like the author didn’t put in a lot of work getting personalities developed. I love your books because you can see the effort you put in to them, and they are 100x better for it.
Geoffrey Ferris says
I love all of the books of yours that I have read, but the Leila stories are still my favourite and I think very close to being my all time greatest love.
This post was really cool, Leila and Rigel are 100% one of my favorite couples. Kitty you don’t need to worry about the romance! They both fit together like they have been made for each other! I really can’t imagine Leila with anyone else and can’t imagine Rigel loving anyone else! And I agree with Skye’s comment, Dion was the suitor of Leila utterly, completely UNWORTHY of her. I shiver everytime I try to imagine Leila with Dion! To think she almost chose him as her consort! Rigel would never have fallen in love with Leila. Leila would have found it much more difficult to survive far without Rigel, and Dion would have got more crazy for Skye, and ultimately everyone would have been really unhappy. BUT GOOD FOR ME, THAT YOU DONT LIKE LEAVING PEOPLE UNHAPPY, KITTY!!!
This was a fun post. It was fun to hear about how your writing process was with Rigel, he was such a complex character so it was nice to hear your muse behind him. Lelia…. IS AMAZING! Sorry for the all caps there but it’s true! Leila is a heroine who does things not because she wants to, but because they NEED to be done. It was also nice to see that she wasn’t someone who saw everything in black and white like Hazel ( Not that it means I don’t like Hazel, I just think it meant that Leila was able to handle her situation better with a shades of grey perspective).
Now on some other notes, can’t wait for the next book in Angelique’s series! While I do feel bad you had to go through a very long writing process for this book Kitty, I am really excited! Still predicting what species the main character will be in the next series in Magiford (my bets on either a wolf shifter/werewolf or a dragon shifter 🐉)
All in all, thanks for a great post Kitty!
I LOVE these characters!! Beautiful job writing them! 😀 I laughed, I cried, I cheered . . . so GREAT! 😀
Absolutely loved this. Thank you. Rigel is one of my favorite heroes so I loved the insights on him.
Even if Rigel was hard to write when it came to romance, you pulled it off beautifully. If you ask me, scenes with the hero’s perspective are the best. In RoM, I actually skipped parts during the rereads to find the chapters in Evariste’s point of view. And Leila is definitely a memorable heroine-she’s awesome! The night court is blessed to have her as their monarch.
I did the same!!! The parts from Evariste’s perspective are awesome!! (I also do the same for every book that has chapters from the male characters point of view)
I totally agree! Scenes from the hero’s POV are my favorite!
Me too! I reread Evariste’s Dream parts and parts with Liliane as well skipping the rest of the book! I actually have bookmarked Evariste’s parts so I can reread exactly them with less effort trying to look for his parts, which are too less
yes! I specifically hunted down the dream scene where he tried to kiss her, and the scene after that where he’s annoyed. Honestly, he needs to be himself around angel before he expects her to open up-not change himself. Sorry evariste, but angel doesn’t exactly fancy blonde, charismatic men who are overly positive and annoying (we learned that with Lucien and Aldebert). hint: be yourself. But to make him feel a bit better, I think angel sort-of-maybe-might love him but not know it? Evidence- It’s said she likes his hair and smile (sunlight on flower beds reminded her of his hair, and the heat reminds her of the warmth of his smile). Plus, she hates his ‘wretchedly’ warm hugs. WARM! Idk why, but it seems all the women in love think their hero is very warm. And I can’t exactly chalk warm smile, very warm hugs, and being reminded of hair up as friendship/loyalty. But that might just be me jumping to conclusions-besides, they do still have another three books to go through until their HEA 😉
Evariste’s point of view parts are also totally adorable showing his love for Angel! So totally cute!
In the section about Rigel it mentioned something about having to write a lot of parts in his perspective…. and personally I LIVE for those chapters/parts!! I love reading things from his perspective, as his outlook on life in general is so different compared to Leila’s. (and also Killian’s and Hazel’s)
(Now completely off topic) I CAN”T WAIT FOR THE NEXT SERIES!!! I also can’t wait for the next Angel book… especially because if the timeline adds up how I’m expecting it to a lot will happen.
Also, does anyone know what the next Magiford series focuses on??? (well… who and what race that is)
Reminds me . . . I just had the worst nightmare ever last night- I was admiring the beautiful cover, minding my own business, about to flip the page so i could read the first chapter . . . and then a screen popped up saying that there was a bug in my kindle, and couldn’t read the book. WHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYY??????!!!!!!!!! I woke up and nearly cried in a mixture of relief and anguish when i saw the date. I mean, yay!my kindle doesn’t have a bug on the day of the release!! But NO!it isn’t summer 💔😭!! Oh well. At least there’s harry potter book club today!
Forgot to mention-talking about ToM
THATS THE WORST!!!!!!
One time I had a dream that Evariste was free… (why are my dreams filled with stuff from books all the time!?) and when I woke up I was devastated to realize it was a dream..
Random thing: When RoM came out I stayed up super late (early???) to read half of it and was super tired the text day but still finished it 😉
I may or may not have done the same thing with Queen’s Crown 😁
I have a hard time picking favorite characters. There are so many amazing ones! But Leila and Rigel are definitely in the top 5 pairs for me. I laugh so hard everytime I read the books!