I’m doing a series of pieces on the characters and places featured in my latest release. This will be background information, not covered in the book, but intended to enhance the reading experience.
For some of my people, there’ll be a character drawing, supplied by Alice Taylor, maybe a video interview, and accompanying scripts. I may include a short piece of fiction, deepening the knowledge of certain minor characters as well.
For the places, I’ll incorporate sections of the map, to indicate location, along with a description of the place, as I see it, and, where appropriate, linking it with characters. I’m not intending to reveal any of the story, either as already published or as written into the series, merely to enhance the reader’s enjoyment of the trilogy by providing more information.
I hope this will give pleasure to those who’ve bought the book and, perhaps, persuade others to take that step (the digital version is only the price of a large cappuccino, and the print version costs less than a reasonable restaurant meal for one, but it’ll give you hours more enjoyment and won’t expand your waistline.)
Some pronunciation hints:
Aklon-Dji: think of the ‘Dj’ sound in the name of tennis champion, Novak Djokovic.
Mind you, these are just my take on the names, how I hear them in my head. You may pronounce them any way you wish; reading is, after all, an active rather than a passive occupation.
Dji is a title, which means ‘the son of’ and refers only to high-ranking members of the priesthood. It is reserved for those offspring acknowledged by the priest/priestess as his or her own child. Aklon-Dji is a major protagonist in the trilogy and is introduced here by Shoarhn, one of the many women who loves him.
SA: So, Shoarhn, how would you describe Aklon-Dji?
Shoarhn: Beautiful! He’s younger than me, but not by much. His eyes; they’re amazing. Deep blue and flecked with tiny specks of gold. He’s well built, which suits me as his lover.
SA: Aren’t you a married to another man, though?
Shoarhn: Aglydron cares more about ceremony and rite than he does about me. I don’t know why he didn’t just take a temple slave and join with her for Ytraa. He certainly doesn’t care whether I’m pleased when we join. Not like Aklon; he cares deeply for women.
SA: Not jealous of his philandering?
Shoarhn: Why would I be? Ytraa commands us to join when we can, in worship of Ytraa. But I admit I’d love to have Aklon all to myself.
SA: Tell me more about this man.
Shoarhn: Aklon’s about 30 years old, very tall, with long dark auburn hair. He’s broad-shouldered and strong. His father, the High Priest, Dagla Kaz, disinherited him because Aklon insists on telling the truth. When he learned the buried secrets of the Followers, he was so enraged that he rejected his past. He was made Renegade by his father. There’s a price on his head and he lives precariously, befriending converts to his way of thinking. A growing group of these faithful supporters, called the Few, made up mostly of women, and some of their men, ensure he’s always fed and sheltered.
He has a short full beard, and his olive skin bears many small scars from numerous fights and brave exploits. He’s almost as fanatical about his alternative to the religion, which he calls the Cause, as his father is about the Followers.
Unusually for a man of his age, he’s single, but that’s because the role of the High Priest, which he’d have inherited on the death of his father, is an uninhibited one with no single woman taken as a life-partner.
Aklon loves women, sexually and as companions he can talk to about the things that matter most to him. He cares about justice, equality and truth. Even though he’s trained as a soldier, he hates unnecessary violence.
SA: Sounds like a great guy. He must have his faults, though, surely?
Shoarhn: He’s a man. Of course he has faults. Like the way he insists on speaking very precisely. Can be a bit annoying, to be honest. And he wears the best quality clothes he can, in spite of being on the run. People say he’s vain, but really he’s just trying to keep himself civilised whilst he’s hunted. He enjoys too many women for my liking, but, like I say, that’s what we’re supposed to do. Mind you, he says he doesn’t believe in the ways of the Followers now, so maybe he should be changing his habits. Look, I love him. You can’t expect me to give an unbiased view, can you?
SA: I suppose not, Shoarhn. But thank you for this insight. How did you meet him, by the way, if he’s a wanted man?
Shoarhn: He came to me with information about Aglydron and Okkyntalah, my daughter’s betrothed, when they went missing after the Choosing. He cares about us, you see.
Video interview with Shoarhn: