Anastasia and Katrine: The Birth of A Legend
I'd wrote these posts some time ago, and took them down when the mess started. But with the release of Rebirth I thought I would revisit them.
The Character Discussion posts will be me talking a bit about some of the characters in Rebirth. and letting you, dear readers, learn something about them before you read the book.
The best place to start seemed to be with the two main characters, Anastasia and her daughter, Rebirth's narrator, Katrine.
I've talked at great length about the influence of Mary, and the stories that I've heard about the illegitimate children of royalty really shaped how I felt Anastasia would be (not that Mary was illegitimate, but how having that label impacted her was really influential in helping build my character). In many cases, the illegitimate child knew who the royal parent was, and it really shaped their existence, in many ways they profited from it.
But I couldn't help but wonder what happened to those who did not profit from it, who's lives could potentially be destroyed by this knowledge, because of who their birth parents are and what they had done.
In parts of Eastern Europe, the Bathory family was pretty infamous as well as influential, and when all was said and done with Countess Bathory's trial and sentence her name was not to be spoken in polite society. I could only imagine what a person would feel if someone walked into their house and told them their life was a lie, and throwing in the supernatural elements that I added it made it all the more overwhelming.
Someone told me a long time ago that 70% of personality is inherited (what does that say about you?) and I really kept that in mind when I was creating my two main characters, a mother and daughter, and what I would need later while shaping the infamous grandmother.
I had a lot of fun creating Anastasia and Katrine. With Katrine's life experience being so minimal, she would be very naive and quite clueless to the world around her, and I really felt that the reader could experience the shock and confusion of the world with her, and perhaps have that as a way to connect with her as the narrator. Her attachment to her mother is significant, and when things start to change she's unsure how to deal with it without her mother's guidance; a situation that lots of people, including myself, can identify with. Being so reliant on your parents then forced into standing on your own two feet can defeat even the best of people, and I really wanted Katrine to be able to do that regardless of her sheltered life. Because there were these personality aspects that ran through all three women, which I guess you could say was part of the legacy of these women. Their fierce loyalty and determination were important, and keeping that in mind with Katrine caused her to make some of the decisions that others would have backed away from.
Anastasia has always fascinated me, and as I continue to write about her she does more fascinating things. She had really stuck with me from the beginning, and when I first heard that Countess Bathory had an illegitimate daughter before her marriage I could see her, clear as day, I could hear her voice quite strongly. Her early life popped into my head fully formed and how she behaves as an adult and the choices she makes are really a testament to her character. Building her personality, in many ways, came from how I felt Countess Bathory would have been as a person: fierce, loyal, brilliant and utterly determined to do what she felt was best. The person I believed Countess Bathory to be came from Infamous Lady, Dr. Kimberley Craft's magnificent biography, and I think that the clear picture that she painted of the Countess, and the information that she presented so you could draw your own conclusions really shaped what she became, and with the written documents in Private Letters the clarity of that voice only grew stronger, and Anastasia would not be who she was without it. I'm excited now to dive deeper into her character and see how she handles the situation she is now in.
But, with how the story of Rebirth played out, Anastasia did not play as strong of a role as I had originally anticipated when I first had the idea for the book. At first I was a little disappointed, but in the end its all worked out rather well, and it will give me a chance to really tell what's become of her in the future.
And when I went and looked at what happens to Anastasia in the coming books, I realized that she was really meant to play a stronger part in coming events, and that more of her story could be told at another time. Part of that story will be told in Book 2, Ikon.
I have to thank those who took the time to read this post originally, and who came back and took another look now. I had great fun writing it, and was happy that I could come back to it.
There will be more posts like these in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!