Tali Spencer: Dangerous Beauty

on Jan 25, 2013 by

Building a Character: Family and Faith

Thank you, Michael, for letting me visit today to talk about something near and dear to me: building solid characters. I like to start with what they believe in or hold dear.

All of us have built our lives upon something. When I created the character of Endre for my fantasy novel, Dangerous Beauty, I wanted to write about a certain kind of man: young, privileged, idealistic, completely devoted to his family, and a firm believer in his god. Endre challenges a great many things about his world—whether the earth is at its center, if mathematics can unravel the mysteries of the stars, if common men and women are not indeed the equals of princes—but he’s never needed to examine his family or his religion and he defends them fiercely without ever asking if they are worth defending.

Endre’s world crashes in when a war his family started ends with their captivity, exposing him to the conqueror’s world and ways and revealing much of what he believes to be false.

Faith and belief play important roles in the book. Endre’s religion matters to him. Religion matters to quite a few people and I wanted Endre to be one of them. He holds fast to his belief in the Prophets whose teachings guide his people. In his culture every person chooses a Prophet whose teachings they wish to practice, and Endre’s chosen Prophet is Orseme, who taught that god intends men to understand the world through science. Endre’s religion—as rigid as it is—supports his analytical mind and love of mathematics.

Problems arise, however, when Endre realizes he would rather be in a man’s bed—a very specific man’s bed—than a woman’s. His religion opposes homosexuality. So does his father, easily the most important person in his life. This awakening forces Endre to examine closely who he is and what he stands for.

What happens when choosing a lover threatens to cut you loose from everything you hold dear?

The world in which Dangerous Beauty unfolds is one being reshaped by conquest and a clash of cultures. The conquering society is pantheistic. Endre is free to worship his god, but so is everyone else in Uttor free to worship theirs. Uttor also has no problem whatsoever with homosexuality. Men associate with each other openly, sanctify their unions, and are an integrated part of Uttoran social schemes. Because of his upbringing and the continued influence of his family, Endre is both disgusted by Uttor’s openness and drawn to it.

I had a lot of fun with this theme. Endre is challenged on all sides while he serves as an unwilling messenger in his father’s scheme to escape—family and all—to another country. There’s a gorgeous, flamboyant Uttoran courtesan who would love nothing more than to be Endre’s first in everything. And the foreign prince Endre desires is a close friend and ally of the conquering emperor…a pagan who could reveal and ruin the family’s plan for escape.

Family and faith dance through the novel. They show up here… then go away for a while so they can rear their head again later on, often when critical decisions need to be made. I love creating moments when characters have to reach deep within themselves and unlock what they stand for.

Here’s one of those moments, from Dangerous Beauty:

Dangerous Beauty Final #2

Resplendence buy link: http://www.resplendencepublishing.com/m8/542-978-1-60735-623-3–dangerous-beauty-pride-of-uttor-series-book-two-by-tali-spencer.html

AllRomanceEbooks buy link: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-dangerousbeauty-1047317-143.html

Excerpt:

“Your father does not deserve you.”

Endre inhaled sharply, disliking Arshad’s brittle frustration and that his lover’s eyes looked like flint. “I don’t care how you, or anyone else, feel about him. He’s my father, and my king. I’m not going to be swayed about that and I’m not going to abandon him and my mother, or my brother and sisters, either.”

“So this—coming to Uttor to meet your brother, being with me—was just an intellectual exercise?”

Arshad was so much more than that. “No, I…I have never felt about anyone the way I feel about you. It’s like our souls won’t let go of each other. It’s not intellectual, not all of it. I can’t put it into an equation unless it involves my body and yours and probably some gods. Unfortunately, my god doesn’t have a lot to say about the things I feel, unless I count that six out of the nine Prophets condemn it.”

“But not yours?”

“Orseme is glaringly silent about sex. It’s one of the things that drew me to him.”

With a twitch of a smile, Arshad shook his head. “I had hoped, perhaps naively, that your body would convince you to abandon your faith, or at least the aspect of it that condemns what you are.”

“I am a product of my faith. But you will be happy to know I am now certain beyond any doubt that I like sex with men.”

“And with me?”

The accompanying deep laughter made him smile. He wished he could wrap himself in that sound.

“Especially with you.”

“But you’re leaving me—”

“Just for now. I—” What was he doing? He couldn’t promise to come back. Once his family succeeded in fleeing Uttor, he could never return. Doing so would cost his life.

Arshad looked up with a determined grin. “Then I will see you in two days, at your sister’s wedding to Gaspar. I’ll get you alone, somewhere, somehow. I grew up in that palace.”

Endre nodded, hating the lie. While Arshad stood and walked to the window to adjust the slats, letting in more light, Endre sat in the chair to pull on his boots. Had he really just coupled in this room? Lay on his back with this tall, naked man looming over him? The soreness in his ass and a mind filled with memories of shattering pleasure were proof enough that he had. He regretted the need for deception, the way it dictated distance where he wished instead to deliver promises and confessions. His feelings about Arshad deserved exploration.

~

Building a Character: Family and Faith

Thank you, Michael, for letting me visit today to talk about something near and dear to me: building solid characters. I like to start with what they believe in or hold dear.

All of us have built our lives upon something. When I created the character of Endre for my fantasy novel, Dangerous Beauty, I wanted to write about a certain kind of man: young, privileged, idealistic, completely devoted to his family, and a firm believer in his god. Endre challenges a great many things about his world—whether the earth is at its center, if mathematics can unravel the mysteries of the stars, if common men and women are not indeed the equals of princes—but he’s never needed to examine his family or his religion and he defends them fiercely without ever asking if they are worth defending.

Endre’s world crashes in when a war his family started ends with their captivity, exposing him to the conqueror’s world and ways and revealing much of what he believes to be false.

Faith and belief play important roles in the book. Endre’s religion matters to him. Religion matters to quite a few people and I wanted Endre to be one of them. He holds fast to his belief in the Prophets whose teachings guide his people. In his culture every person chooses a Prophet whose teachings they wish to practice, and Endre’s chosen Prophet is Orseme, who taught that god intends men to understand the world through science. Endre’s religion—as rigid as it is—supports his analytical mind and love of mathematics.

Problems arise, however, when Endre realizes he would rather be in a man’s bed—a very specific man’s bed—than a woman’s. His religion opposes homosexuality. So does his father, easily the most important person in his life. This awakening forces Endre to examine closely who he is and what he stands for.

What happens when choosing a lover threatens to cut you loose from everything you hold dear?

The world in which Dangerous Beauty unfolds is one being reshaped by conquest and a clash of cultures. The conquering society is pantheistic. Endre is free to worship his god, but so is everyone else in Uttor free to worship theirs. Uttor also has no problem whatsoever with homosexuality. Men associate with each other openly, sanctify their unions, and are an integrated part of Uttoran social schemes. Because of his upbringing and the continued influence of his family, Endre is both disgusted by Uttor’s openness and drawn to it.

I had a lot of fun with this theme. Endre is challenged on all sides while he serves as an unwilling messenger in his father’s scheme to escape—family and all—to another country. There’s a gorgeous, flamboyant Uttoran courtesan who would love nothing more than to be Endre’s first in everything. And the foreign prince Endre desires is a close friend and ally of the conquering emperor…a pagan who could reveal and ruin the family’s plan for escape.

Family and faith dance through the novel. They show up here… then go away for a while so they can rear their head again later on, often when critical decisions need to be made. I love creating moments when characters have to reach deep within themselves and unlock what they stand for.

Here’s one of those moments, from Dangerous Beauty:

Dangerous Beauty Final #2

Resplendence buy link: http://www.resplendencepublishing.com/m8/542-978-1-60735-623-3–dangerous-beauty-pride-of-uttor-series-book-two-by-tali-spencer.html

AllRomanceEbooks buy link: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-dangerousbeauty-1047317-143.html

Excerpt:

“Your father does not deserve you.”

Endre inhaled sharply, disliking Arshad’s brittle frustration and that his lover’s eyes looked like flint. “I don’t care how you, or anyone else, feel about him. He’s my father, and my king. I’m not going to be swayed about that and I’m not going to abandon him and my mother, or my brother and sisters, either.”

“So this—coming to Uttor to meet your brother, being with me—was just an intellectual exercise?”

Arshad was so much more than that. “No, I…I have never felt about anyone the way I feel about you. It’s like our souls won’t let go of each other. It’s not intellectual, not all of it. I can’t put it into an equation unless it involves my body and yours and probably some gods. Unfortunately, my god doesn’t have a lot to say about the things I feel, unless I count that six out of the nine Prophets condemn it.”

“But not yours?”

“Orseme is glaringly silent about sex. It’s one of the things that drew me to him.”

With a twitch of a smile, Arshad shook his head. “I had hoped, perhaps naively, that your body would convince you to abandon your faith, or at least the aspect of it that condemns what you are.”

“I am a product of my faith. But you will be happy to know I am now certain beyond any doubt that I like sex with men.”

“And with me?”

The accompanying deep laughter made him smile. He wished he could wrap himself in that sound.

“Especially with you.”

“But you’re leaving me—”

“Just for now. I—” What was he doing? He couldn’t promise to come back. Once his family succeeded in fleeing Uttor, he could never return. Doing so would cost his life.

Arshad looked up with a determined grin. “Then I will see you in two days, at your sister’s wedding to Gaspar. I’ll get you alone, somewhere, somehow. I grew up in that palace.”

Endre nodded, hating the lie. While Arshad stood and walked to the window to adjust the slats, letting in more light, Endre sat in the chair to pull on his boots. Had he really just coupled in this room? Lay on his back with this tall, naked man looming over him? The soreness in his ass and a mind filled with memories of shattering pleasure were proof enough that he had. He regretted the need for deception, the way it dictated distance where he wished instead to deliver promises and confessions. His feelings about Arshad deserved exploration.

~



Tagged

1 Comment

  1. machurch00 says:

    *high five* Congrats Tali!

    ~M

Add a Comment