If you're reading this, chances are you've seen one or more of my online posts about my recently released YA dystopian fantasy novella, The Firedragon, a precursor to the "Flynn Nightsider" series. You may even know that it's about a teen girl living in a dark future in which monsters have overrun the earth and those with magic oppress those without.
But here's a question I haven't really addressed: just who is Aurelia Sun, nicknamed the Firedragon?
She's a challenge, for sure. Both for me to write and for some readers to accept. When I first conceived the character, a girl with amazing combat skills trained to fight monsters since she could walk, I knew I was walking toward a trap. Characters like her are a staple in sci-fi and fantasy, and more often than not, they're flat stereotypes. They'll get a clever quip here and there meant to showcase their "personalities", but for the most part they lack any depth. Take away the super warrior skills and who are you left with? A boring shell.
I knew if I was to maneuver around the trap, I'd have to see her as a person and not a plot device. A flawed girl with thoughts and emotions of her own. Her basic backstory wasn't hard to construct - she's an orphan raised by the state and trained to be a weapon against supernatural threats - but how would that affect her personality?
For one thing, she wouldn't be very nice. Actually, not nice at all. She never experienced affection growing up, never learned the value of friendship, never found any value in treating others with kindness. Her world revolved around one rule: kill or be killed.
And because she was exceptionally good at what she was trained to do, rewarded and praised for her fighting prowess, she would be arrogant. Having been told that she's the best and proved it before powerful judges multiple times, she would naturally think herself better than her peers.
So many readers probably won't find her very likable at first glance. I've had plenty of people tell me that she's tough and awesome, but also plenty whisper that they didn't really like her. That's okay. Her peers don't really like her either, and she knows it (she doesn't like them either).
But despite her prickly exterior, she does have a heart. She might not care about many people, but when she does care, she cares a lot. Enough to do some pretty extreme things to keep them safe.
And despite her arrogance, she actually thinks very little about herself. She sees herself as a protector and a champion for something bigger than herself. While she does bask in praise when it's given, she knows that ultimately it's not about her, it's about the larger world.
Care to meet her? The Firedragon is only $0.99, and everything my publisher and I get after the online retailers take their cut is being donated to the San Diego animal shelter.
Download the e-book here:
Barnes & Noble