In any story, inhabiting characters is how we as readers and writers enter another person’s world. In fictional recon, the act of reaching out to characters and forming a bond with them that allows us to experience the world as they see it is a central act in the writing process. Whether characters are Mary Sues intentionally created as a vehicle for the author to reach the world or whether they already exist and reach back as fervently as we reach for them is a matter of perspective.

Jack OC Robin Robin Blaser

Robin was not the first character that I wrote in Empty Sky, but he’s probably the one I have spent the most time with and the one whose point of view and voice I know the best. On his mother’s side, he descends from a long line of magic users with a reputation for running toward instead of away from explosions.

In Puzzles, he is twenty, newly on his own despite his mother’s concerns about his disability, but as it turns out, he has bigger problems to contend with than upgrading his prosthetic leg or even getting rid of the angry ghost in his head.

Set ten years later, Unstuck opens with Robin forced into a corporate job he’s not sure he wants, but things quickly spiral even further out of his control and he winds up making some hard choices about what he wants.

Jack OC Jian djinni_dragon2Jian Tsuyung

When we first meet him in Puzzles, Jian is a ratha who has been ridden by the Dragon for more than a hundred years, not all of it spent in solid reality. Robin has known him or known of him for most of his life and spent his teen years with a raging and awkward crush on the older man.

Jian is old enough to have known Robin’s great, great grandfather, the notorious troublemaker and airship pirate Jack Rose, and is responsible for Jack Rose’s bloodline being responsible for maintaining the bonds on the sorceress Xiu He.

Jack OC Ausrine Ausrine Walston

Ausrine is a priestess of Mara during the difficult and complicated period when her homeland has just been returned to reality from elsewhen. Ten years of wandering teaches her to serve her goddess, before she must return home and learn how to serve her people.

Jack OC Akane Akane Sugaya

When Corrosion begins in the aftermath of Unstuck, Akane is seventeen, living in the shadow of her older sister and lost in her role as the “control specimen” for her mother’s work. As she watches her family unravel around her, Akane must learn to redefine herself when she is no longer the control, but in charge of the variables in the experiment of her own life.

Jack OC Kether Keiji Ashina

Keiji’s upbringing was complicated, and his adulthood was moreso. After serving the Empire during the last war to retake the continent, he retired to become a bookseller in Yaanga, where Heavens Coming Down begins. Akane came into his life as a daughter figure because he saw some of his own life reflected in hers.

1ad3b14675faaa69c7f80f4b9c886e97 Ruiqi Ballentyne

Adopted as the heir presumptive of the Ballentyne family, as a teenager Ruiqi instead pursued magical training so she could live as herself. She is the chosen ratha of the cityspirit of Shengao and the bay, and considers the city “hers” whether it’s as at the city’s behest or as the daughter of the most powerful man outside of the Court-in-Exile.