I don’t consciously model characters on real people very much. I’ve never been particularly comfortable working with characterizations that I haven’t created myself, which is why I’d probably be lousy at licensed fiction for established universes.
That said, there are traits that will tend to be attached to people who achieve certain types of success. So when you’re writing a character that’s following a particular path, you’ll find that those traits will tend to follow along with the traits you associate with personalities you’ve studied or envisioned.
I’m no historian. I don’t have a library of primary source documents and a half-finished thesis resting on my drive. I’m just a hobbyist, somebody who tends to read at least a couple of history books a month and loves learning new things about the past. So when I looked at Warpworld somewhere during the process of the rough draft for the second book in the series, (coming next Spring!), it was a historical comparison that came to mind for the male protagonist of the series. Segkel Eraranat, to me, is something of an Alexander figure. Not entirely — remember he wasn’t created for the parallel, Alexander is just who he reminded me of. Seg will never, in the entire series, get accused of being a military genius. He is, however, possessed of a burning ambition and, (most notably in the first book), sees absolutely no reason why his pursuit of this ambition should be impeded.
Therein lies another crucial difference between the two — environment. One could never call Alexander’s home environment nurturing or gentle, to be certain. But it was an environment that supported his ambitions. Conquering the entirety of Persia? Hell yes, that’s the sport of kings! In the end what limited Alexander was the exhaustion of troops who’d been marched to the end of the known world with no promise of when, if ever, they’d be able to return to their own land.
On the other hand, Seg Eraranat’s People do not reward boundless ambition. Daring is appreciated, to a certain extent. But ultimately the People prioritize the survival of their society above all other things, exacerbated by the fact that the imminent threat to their survival is directly assaulting them daily. The Storm directs the World far more than any individual or group could ever dream of doing, and every action the People take is done with one eye cast back at the lurking doom awaiting them.
Warpworld touches on that conflict. It lays the foundation for a broader examination of how dynamic individuals act or fail in such circumstances and, as the series goes on, becomes an exploration of the meaning of freedom as well as morality in extremes.
Also there is romance and things blow up.
In short, it’s going to be a hell of a ride. Come for the book, stay for the series.
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