Saturday, August 16, 2014

My Hero Has A Side Kick

Well the science fiction romance heroes do anyway. In my SFR's the heroes are usually Sectors Special Forces operators (the far future version of SEALs, you see) and they almost always have a sergeant working alongside. The sergeant is also a medic and all around badass. I have great respect for sergeants. My father was a sergeant at the very end of WWII (busted back to PFC for reasons he was proud of, regarding his men, but we won't discuss all that here.) My late husband was a Staff Sergeant in the USMC Reserves when he was killed (in a civilian accident).

Also, the sergeants are my little tribute to the character of the sergeant in the original 1951 version of "The Thing From Another World." (shown above) Crew chief Bob in that movie knew everything. He was the linchpin of the whole team (and is in the center of the photo).

I like the idea of a tight, two man team sent to deal with dangerous situations, watching each other's sixes.

In Wreck of the Nebula Dream, my hero Nick Jameson is on his way to be court martialled for the loss of his entire team, including the sergeant, on a mission gone really south. When the civilian ship he's on has its catastrophe (this book isn't referred to as "Titanic in space" lightly), his ad hoc team becomes one D'nvannae Brother (think deadly assassin/bodyguard serving an alien goddess) and one determined businesswoman who isn't waiting around to be rescued. Help her or get out of her way, you know? His team expands as they fight to survive and get off the ship. He also ends up shepherding an elderly alien woman, two small children and a Socialite girl who surprises everyone....I deliberately wrote Wreck of the Nebula Dream in classic disaster movie style, so that was the logic behind who forms the nucleus of passengers Nick cares about and tries to save.

Now in my Egyptian series, the plots focus much more tightly on the hero and heroine. The gods of Egypt take an active part in the action but I don't think Horus the Falcon or Sekhmet the Lioness would appreciate being labelled as anyone's side kicks. I know Renenutet the Snake Goddess wouldn't!

The series anchor character is my Pharaoh, Nat-re-Akhte, and through the different books we also catch glimpses of his Great Royal Wife Ashayet and his Chief Scribe, Edekh. While being far too grand to be viewed as a sergeant, Edekh is like Crew Chief Bob - he knows all, he takes care of everything before anyone else even realizes there's a need. Maybe someday I'll have a novel that calls for me to tell you more of Edekh's backstory. I have a whole court of characters ready to deploy if and when the plots call for them to take a bow.

We know from past posts here I don't plot in great detail before I dive into the writing, but I do usually know if there's going to be a "sergeant" involved! I write who and what the book calls for....there will be many minor characters perhaps, like the caravan master in Dancer of the Nile or the lady-in-waiting in Magic of the Nile, but they aren't significant-enough players in the action to be a side kick.

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