I've been tagged to take part in the My Main Character blog hop by John Ayliff, author of sci-fi novel Belt Three (coming from Harper Voyager next year). I'm really looking forward to this book being released – it sounds brilliant! If you missed John's behind-the-scenes introduction to his main character, Jonas, you can read it here.
The idea of this blog hop, as the name suggests, is to say a little bit about a book's main character. Yet I have a slight problem with this when it comes to Darkhaven. Because the truth is, Darkhaven doesn't have just one or two viewpoint characters. It has seven. And it's not even epic fantasy!*
I know, I know. I should have my author's membership card revoked.
Still, if I had to play favourites with my characters (which I don't like to do, because it makes them cranky) I guess Myrren Nightshade would be top of the list. So let's ignore the mutterings of the other six and focus on him.
Back when I was playing with a bunch of ideas that would eventually become Darkhaven, I had Myrren down as the villain. In that version of the story, he was a murderous schemer who'd killed his stepmother in an 'accident' and was planning to frame his half-sister Ayla for their father's murder. The story was going to be about Ayla fighting to clear her name and slowly coming to realise that the brother she trusted was in fact her worst enemy.
But Myrren wouldn't let me do it.
Turns out, the real Myrren is much more interesting than that briefly considered moustache-twirling plotter. He's a man who has lived his whole life beneath the weight of parental expectation, but found himself unable to fulfil it – because he was born without the shapeshifter gift that is the defining feature of his bloodline and that gives the Nightshades the right to rule.
That unbearable pressure, that crushing sense of failure, could have turned him into a bad guy. Instead, he has fought to be good at everything else he does, in an attempt to make up for that one fundamental flaw. Since he was a child, he has learned to hide what his father would consider weaknesses – such as his dislike of giving orders or his adverse reaction to the sight of blood – and focus on presenting himself as a true Nightshade. Yet no matter how proficient he becomes at swordplay and tactics and the many other skills required of him as the firstborn son, his feeling of inadequacy lingers.
This dynamic affects every area of Myrren's life. He is heir to the throne of Darkhaven, but his father's bullying has left him ill-suited to that role. While his sister Ayla is willing to stand up to their father, Myrren remains anxious to please him. He stays in the background, convinced (and rightly in some cases) that he's being judged by everyone around him. Aside from Ayla, he feels totally alone.
But then – as Darkhaven begins – Myrren's father is murdered, and Ayla is the only suspect. If he wants to prove his beloved sister's innocence, he'll have to overcome his habitual diffidence and find out who he really is outside his father's shadow.
So, that's Myrren. If you'd like to find out more about him and Darkhaven then you can sign up to my mailing list here (and maybe win a copy of the book!) In the meantime, two more brilliant authors are joining in the blog hop …
Christi J Whitney is the author of Grey, a young adult urban fantasy, coming soon from Harper Voyager and available to preorder now! Here's a little bit about the book:
Sebastian Grey thought he was a fairly normal teenager.
He has great friends, decent grades, and even a few hobbies to keep him busy. Not to mention the fact that he lives a pretty sweet existence in the small town of Sixes with his foster brother, tattoo artist Hugo Corsi. Though Sebastian can’t remember much of his past, he’s determined not to let it dictate his future.
But when the beautiful and inexplicably irresistible Josephine Romany comes into town with her traveling band of gypsies, Sebastian realizes his world is nothing at all like what he thought. After a brief encounter with Josephine, Sebastian can’t shake a weird, overwhelming urge to protect her – not from high school cliques or teenage drama, but from something far more dangerous.
The more Sebastian resists the bizarre compulsion, the more he’s drawn into a hidden world of outcast gypsies, ancient superstitions, and tales of gargoyles. His foster brother appears to have answers, but suddenly Hugo isn’t talking, and Sebastian decides to figure things out on his own. Shadowy figures pursue him, secrets elude him, and with each passing day, Sebastian discovers he’s changing – transforming into something he doesn’t fully understand. Afraid of losing himself, Sebastian confronts his destiny head on. But is he prepared to accept the consequences of his actions, especially when doing so may change him forever?
Sammy H.K Smith is the author of In Search of Gods and Heroes, the first in a stunning new epic fantasy series from Kristell Ink. The book is available to buy now, and here's a bit more about it:
Buried in the scriptures of Ibea lies a story of rivalry, betrayal, stolen love, and the bitter division of the gods into two factions. This rift forced the lesser deities to pledge their divine loyalty either to the shining Eternal Kingdom or the darkness of the Underworld.
When a demon sneaks into the mortal world and murders an innocent girl to get to her sister Chaeli, all pretence of peace between the gods is shattered. For Chaeli is no ordinary mortal, she is a demi-goddess, in hiding for centuries, even from herself. But there are two divine brothers who may have fathered her, and the fate of Ibea rests on the source of her blood.
Chaeli embarks on a journey that tests her heart, her courage, and her humanity. Her only guides are a man who died a thousand years ago in the Dragon Wars, a former assassin for the Underworld, and a changeling who prefers the form of a cat.
The lives of many others - the hideously scarred Anya and her gaoler; the enigmatic and cruel Captain Kerne; the dissolute Prince Dal; and gentle seer Hana - all become entwined. The gods will once more walk the mortal plane spreading love, luck, disease, and despair as they prepare for the final, inevitable battle.
In Search of Gods and Heroes, Book One of Children of Nalowyn, is a true epic of sweeping proportions which becomes progressively darker as the baser side of human nature is explored, the failings and ambitions of the gods is revealed, and lines between sensuality and sadism, love and lust are blurred.
* Don't even ask how many viewpoint characters my epic fantasy has.