WARNING!!! MAJOR SPOILERS! IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE BOOK YET, DO NOT PROCEED!!!
I’ve read The Orphans of Haven and An Empire of Ashes. Now I actually have to go back and read The Story of Raiya as I didn’t know that was the first book… Oops!
I wanted to ask you a quick question. Qira seemed like a central character throughout these stories. You clearly put a lot of thought and time into developing her. Personally, I found her to be a very strong, independent character that rose to whatever diversity she faced. I really liked her more than any of the others you’ve written.
My question is what made you decide to have her sacrifice herself like that? When I saw her return in An Empire of Ashes, I was thrilled to see that she’d gone from a smart yet naive dragon girl to an international celebrity and world leader. Then, after all that build up, she dies during a battle with Alexei. As I’m also working on a book, I wanted to know how you came to the decision to give off someone so significant. Was that always the plan or did you come up with that as you went?
Thanks for the question and I’m really glad you liked the story!
Let me just say that I’m overwhelmed by the response I’ve gotten to Qira’s character. I get a few emails from people who really liked her and either just wanted to say so or ask to find out more about her. I didn’t expect this for a character that was largely originally kind of a damsel in distress that evolved into more of a staple character.
All right, let’s get down to business. First, killing Qira off was an obvious decision, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. It was my original plan to have Qira just do a cameo like I did with Raiya and Jagger in the previous book. However, as before, her role evolved beyond that and she took on more of a mentor archetype. I actually had to be careful as she did sort of pull focus in a couple scenes. Once she became the mentor and close friend, I knew that for my main characters to continue on center stage, Qira would have to exit. However, I didn’t want it to be just an unceremonious scene where she just walked away.
The decision to kill her off came to me because of her situation. Consider… Qira had lingered for over 200 years without the one she loved the most. Despite the smile on her face, she was in a constant state of agony that she had managed to subdue with her empathic abilities. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the pain was gone. She still suffered greatly. She only had a few pictures of Radley, her biological connection to him caused her constant pain, and because of that, despite always being around people, there was always a sense of isolation about her.
Imagine having to live with that for 200 years. Seems kind of cruel, doesn’t it? Well I knew I couldn’t suicide Qira, that’s simply not her way. I wrote that character to cherish life in all it’s forms to the point where she actually forgave the man who murdered the one she loved rather than kill him. It was only under the most extreme of circumstances that I even had her kill anyone. She’s typically regarded as a pacifist. In that way, suicide would have come off as extremely hypocritical. Plus she had a mission. She wanted to create a world where dragonkind and humankind could live together in peace. Until she could show that world to Radley, she had no intention of dying.
From the beginning, I thought this was cruel. We know that dragons in Drakin live to be thousands of years old. The ones that were born on Earth likely have a shorter lifespan, but because none of reached old age, we simply don’t know how long they live. With all that in mind, I had to find a way to end her suffering. So what we my options?
Resurrecting Radley? That would require either a time machine or some kind of new science fiction that would push things a lot further than I wanted to go. I wanted some believably to remain and stories tend to fall apart once the concept of time travel is introduced. My hat goes off to anyone who attempts to tackle the subject, but it always leads to a plethora of plot holes. I’m good with that.
Again, suicide was off the table.
So my options were either to find Qira another mate, which her character already refused to do, or kill her off. The decision was tough, but fairly obvious. Qira had taken on what I called the Obi Wan Kenobi Complex. I wanted my new characters to grow independently of her, while giving her an honorable exit. What better way to accomplish that then to have her willingly sacrifice herself in battle to save an innocent child?
In the end, this was my way of giving such an epic character an epic exit. Granted, she didn’t live to see the world she’d worked to create, but she laid the seeds in place that would grow into that world. Then I had the last of her remains laid to rest with Radley so that she could fulfill her promise to find him again.
This really was the best I could do for her. Qira lived a tortured life, to not only find out that she was the daughter of a dragon that was responsible for heinous war crimes, but to then deal with the fact that Radley, the man she loved the most, killed him in a fit of rage. She wasn’t even afforded the right to be mad at Radley for it as he was one of the children affected by her father’s crimes.
If all that wasn’t bad enough, she imprints on Radley just before he dies. I knew I couldn’t just leave her future uncertain after all of that. She needed a way out. This really was the only logical decision for her.
Part of me was considering having her survive An Empire of Ashes in order to complete her story in another book, but again, that would have prolonged her suffering. I am, however, considering going back and attempting to write more about her, in terms of going into her background and how she picked up the pieces and eventually became a senator.
However, that story has kind of turned into a paranormal romance where it’s not clear whether Qira was in communication with Radley’s spirit, or just dealing with hallucinations as the result of her traumatic experiences. I’m not sure about whether or not I’m going to keep going with it. We’ll see.
For now, though, I hope this answers your question. Thanks so much and I’m super thrilled you enjoyed my books!
Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
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Catch you on the flip side!