Well, threes of fans, since it’s a day ending in “-y,” I have to give you a brief update on the upcoming Ian Mac Roy novella. I’m going to push the release out into sometime in mid-July. While the story is done, I have had almost no time to edit it, and I need to build in a little time to actually format the e-book and get it ready for publication. Needless to say, I will not be able to do all of those things by next Tuesday.
(Note to self: Do not promise releases until the cotton-pickin’ story is close enough to done that nothing will interfere with it.)
Anyway, onward with a profile of a character I like more and more as I write: Brody Reid, gambler, general reprobate, and friend to Connor Mac Niall.
Character profile: Brody Reid
Brody is the current Duke of Heron’s Rest, a rather swampy part of southern Taura. He’s about the same age as Connor, and the two would have met each other very early in their lives when their fathers visited Torlach. I imagine there were several boys around the same age–including Braedan–all of them heirs or potential heirs to their fathers’ estates, all of them wealthy, and all of them a bit spoiled. While their fathers handled the business of the country as members of the Table of Councilors, these young men probably found all manner of mischief–and worse.
Brody’s father and Connor’s father were good friends, and because they saw the world in much the same way, they spent a lot of time together whenever they were in the city. The elder Reid was never satisfied at the official explanations for stripping Duke Mac Niall of his title, but his questions were met with stony silence or outright retribution. When it seemed that to continue pursuing the truth would damage his people, he finally retreated to his estates. Shortly after withdrawing from court, he became bedridden, and at last was left with no choice but to communicate with the court in writing. When Braedan took the throne, he pledged his allegiance out of simple expediency; he didn’t want to risk losing Heron’s Rest when he knew he was so close to death.
The younger Reid, Brody, is a rogue, pure and simple. He’s never met a woman he wouldn’t sleep with, he carries dice everywhere he goes, and he spends money as if he will never run out. He’s also handsome and quite charming. His older sister, Caellie, largely runs the estate in his absence, though Brody is the official heir. If it weren’t for his sister’s business sense, the estate would likely be bankrupt, because while he does love gambling, he’s not always very good at it.
“A lot of courtiers aren’t very good at cards. Sometimes they pay their debts with secrets.” – Unquickened, Chapter 12
“Never tell a gambling man that the odds are against him. Moths and flames, you know.” – Unquickened, Chapter 25
How It Started
I first came up with the idea for Brody when I started writing scenes of Connor’s return to Taura. Of course I knew that he would go to his home first, but eventually, he’d have to go to Torlach, and I started wondering who would be waiting for him there to fill him in on recent events. He had used the surname Reid as an alias when he worked as a farmhand in his youth, and I thought maybe he’d borrowed that name from someone who wouldn’t mind.
It wasn’t long before Brody Reid took shape in my head.
Brody is a gambler, a womanizer, and a hothead. He seems fairly useless at first, but he has a head full of secrets gathered through his not-quite-illegal activities. He’s also a decent fighter and acquits himself well during the battle of Torlach. While it’s been years since he’s seen Connor, the moment they are reunited, he picks up right where they left off, immediately suggesting they visit a brothel and find a dice game and more.
Of course, Brody discovers that Connor is a changed man–a fact that both mildly frustrates and intrigues him.
The problem with putting my main characters on a redemptive path is that I start to lose the fun character voices. Connor can still be roguish and snarky with Mairead and Maeve, and he may occasionally scold someone, but his redemptive path has led him away from casual obnoxiousness and toward a more staid, stoic leadership role.
Introducing Brody gives me a chance to put all the worst thoughts that Connor or Braedan may have previously entertained into the head of someone else with the same leanings. And Brody doesn’t really have a strong redemptive arc; he’s just a side character who gets to say all the worst things and bear no consequences for them.
In short, Brody is redeemable, but not now. For now, he’s just a fun reprobate.
The Joy of Side Characters
The fun part about side characters is that there are very few rules to contain them. They mostly exist to be foils for main characters, to run occasional errands or take messages to others, or to do big, audacious things when necessary.
The thing about Brody is that somewhere under his roguish exterior, he’s actually a decent commander of men and pretty good with a sword. He’s also remarkably loyal, and I think he sees serving Connor as a way to help redeem the Mac Niall name for good. It’s also possible that he figures the most likely duke to eventually rise to power in Taura when the invaders have been pushed out is Connor, so it’s best to stay on Connor’s good side. And for all his other faults, he loves his country and wants to save it from destruction.
Because I can’t resist a little romance, I have given Brody a romantic interest in Soultainted. She’s smart, strong, and beautiful, and it’s fun to have smart, strong women and roguish men argue and flirt on the page (more about her later). I don’t intend for this romance to go anywhere, but I suppose it’s possible that it could. Sometimes these side characters sort of escape into the wild.
How It’s Going
The more I write Brody, the more I like him as a character. I’d never set him up with one of my daughters or, really, any woman, but he’s terribly fun to hang out with on the page. In these final two books of the series, I see Brody playing a pivotal role in the events on Taura, but will he become a settled patriarch who’s ready to start a family for the sake of his estate? I’m not sure. I don’t know if Brody has it in him. He may have to leave Heron’s Rest to a nephew or something.
In the meantime, Brody serves as an outlet for all of the worst human impulses I can dream up.
Now I just have to try to control him…
Next week, I’m going to give you all an update on my goals and habits for 2023. Suffice to say there are some changes coming… Stay tuned…