Gabrielle Bisset

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Blood Betrayed's Hero: Saint

When I began sketching out ideas for the second book in the Sons of Navarus series, I knew I had to make the hero someone very much not like Vasilije, the hero (so to speak) of Blood Avenged.  I wanted a male who was deeper than his predecessor.  That was a definite.  I also needed him to have a back story that reflected that.

It took me a while before Saint was fully formed as a character.  Physically, I knew exactly what he looked like.  That was easy.  The moment I saw the pic below, I said (I think out loud), "That's Saint."

In a world of bodies, this image represented the idea I had of Saint perfectly.  Hard, pushed to the limit, and cut up.  In fact, out of all eight of the Sons of Navarus, Saint is the best built.  Ramiel is bigger, but Saint is the one with the hardest body. 

Now that I had the physical idea of him set (all the way down to the very short hair Saint has in the book), I needed to flesh out why he was a man who pushed his physical limits.  Thus the back story was born. 

Saint was turned on the battlefield at the Battle of the Somme in the First World War in 1916.  He was a young man in his twenties named Declan then, and he and his brother, Teagan, were turned by two vampires, Kir and Vasilije.  Declan had always been his brother's protector, even promising their mother when they left to go to war that he'd watch over his younger brother. But that changes when Vasilije makes Teagan one of his favorites, and Declan is left on the outside with a sire who cares little for his vampires. 

Some of the most enjoyable non-romantic writing for me in Blood Betrayed are the scenes between Saint and Vasilije.  There's a lot of dislike between the two men, and their scenes particularly show Saint's feelings toward the man he calls the "Romanian." 

And then there was the reason Saint was given that nickname--his refusal to sleep with vampire women and instead go exclusively with human women.  To some in the vampire world, this made Saint a traitor, but to others, he's just odd.  The name Saint is meant to be an insult, as if there was something wrong with him because he won't sleep with vampires.  But readers will find that much of what makes up Saint is wrapped up in that choice to avoid vampire females. 

When I sent the book to my editor, I'd already heard from my betas about how much they loved Saint, some even more than Vasilije.  I told her that I was concerned, however.  Vasilije had been such a strong character, and I was worried readers wouldn't be able to move past him.  As a great editor does, she reminded me that it wasn't my style to write eight men cut from the same Vasilije cloth.  Then she was quiet for days about Blood Betrayed and I thought, "Uh oh.  She loved Vasilije (and I mean LOVED) and she doesn't like Saint. That's not good."

A few days later she sent back the book with the message, "I didn't think you could write a hero who I could love more than Vasilije, but you did." 

I freely admit I fall in love with every hero I write.  Hell, I've fallen in love with a villain or two.  And I'm sure I'll say something similar to what I'm about to say in the future about Terek or the other Sons I'll write, but as I write this, I can honestly say there isn't a hero I've written who I like better than Saint.  Sure, Vasilije is hotter than all hell, and Amon from Destiny Redeemed is incredibly sexy as he's almost as powerful as a god.  And I can't forget Nikolai, the smartest hero I've had the pleasure of writing.  But there's something about Saint--that soul inside him that can't forget the past and tortures himself for the mistakes he made so long ago--that makes him irresistible to me. 

I do love me a brooding man.