This is also about how one book became a series. That’s right. The whole Khekarian Series came about because ONE non-vital character took a turn I did not expect. That’s a big WOW. Seriously. How can so much come out of one little change, one little display of independence by a secondary character who simply came forward to be a little more interesting than bland?
Way back in the formation years (so long ago now, I’m not telling), I had in mind a psychological thriller/science fiction. It was a blood and guts thing, a story of oppression and sexual abuse. Hey, I was just a kid when I first concocted all this, it’s been with me a long time, so a little leniency, please.
Anyhoo, it was ONE BOOK. The Bad Guy was simply a monster on a killing spree. No one could stop him, those who tried, died. Nice and bloodthirsty. Aleisha was a victim of sexual assault just trying to survive and get out. So… apart from some sexual assault further along (and the Bad Guy’s focus is now elsewhere), the only thing that remains is her wanting to survive and get out.
The original might have worked, only I wasn’t getting anywhere with agents and publishers, which I took to be because I wasn’t politically correct and that I wasn’t allowed to have women as victims of sex abuse anymore (dang!). I didn’t at that time realize the publishing industry has gone to the dogs and NO ONE in the field dares take on anything outside their own box of “what works for them”.
No matter. Point is, I couldn’t sell it (it was blinking hot, too). I thought it was a problem I had to fix. So I fixed it. The change came about in stages.
First I brought forward some aliens and the Chiddran were born. The Bad Guy became a Khekarian with the idea of adding a touch of the unknown to the psychopath. The alien-natives came into being, but did not yet come forward. Thain was a long way off.
Then this happened: Morragt was a storekeeper, just a guy in a shop Aleisha visited. I made him Chiddran to add interest, and his shop was a shop of trinkets and interesting things.
Out of the blue, with no warning whatsoever, Morragt “saw” something about Aleisha. I liked it, thought I should run with it, but then he saw that she was a seer, too. I wasn’t so sure about that. Where was this going? I nearly put the brakes on. Finally deciding that I could rip out the whole thread if it didn’t shape up into something interesting, I went ahead. So, Morragt developed into a great seer, and Aleisha turned out to see things, too, to glimpse things ahead.
At this stage, I ran the whole manuscript as it was by a professional editor, who rather liked this aspect of the story. She found it intriguing, which helped a lot because I was very nervous about the psychic aspect in a sci-fi. She enabled me to see it was okay (she also thought I did a fantastic job with the sex and the action, but I digress).
Meanwhile, Morragt, the Chiddran seer, gave me his concerns and the Khekarian-Chiddran war came into existence. From there, the Khekarian psychopath became a prince of the realm, simply for reasons of power, and later grew a brain (hey, it happens).
The sexual theme went out the window, although there is still sex (and some sex abuse) in there, but Aleisha’s psychic skills – for what they are worth – came on more strongly, giving Sturn a reason to want to keep her.
I like the plot now. It now has a complexity it did not have before. It is not depressing, but still has excitement. I prefer Sturn as a quieter, more menacing and intelligent villain, rather than the thug that he was.
I like Sevi, too, who didn’t exist at all in the earlier version but is indispensable now. I truly cannot imagine the series without her.
So, from Morragt refusing to be a regular merchant in a quiet little town, I got the seer, the Khekarian-Chiddran war, Aleisha with psychic skill, Sturn as a prince with a brain, Sevi and Khekarian Imperial Armed Forces (KIAF), and four books in the series, with an expansion of at least two more.
Not bad for letting a character run free. See? That’s why I like to let them loose occasionally.