It is known that authors often write a piece of themselves into their characters. This is understandable since we can only draw from our own experiences and lessons throughout life. In the case of Night Hawk, David and I are probably the closest. No, I have not experienced the same traumas. I grew up in a loving home with a mother and father who care deeply for me. I’ve never lost anyone close in a tragic way. And I’ve certainly never faced the front lines of war. However, he and I both know what it’s like to grow discouraged with life and lose hope in the future. His struggles with “What good can I do?” are all too real for me. These are not egotistical feelings. I believe each one of us longs to make a difference in life, and in David’s case, he longs to protect those around him. Knowing he cannot do this all the time and being forced to watch people die leads to serious emotional struggles. By drawing from my own times of “What am I here for?”, along with feelings of helplessness, I’ve hopefully made David resonate on a very real level.
On a more positive note, David’s grief is not the only part he and I share. David was written as a character who learns, grows and strengthens as he recovers from his losses and develops through the experiences he faces. I, too, have grown much through the twenty-two years of walking alongside David. There are other characters I have strong connections to. Amber is my tough, sassy side; one I don’t normally show but is always lurking just under the surface. Perhaps a part of me wishes to express the confidence and leadership she shows (I’m more introverted), so she becomes my outlet. Mike’s playful humor also comes from a side of me. People say I’m easy to get along with, which I hope remains true throughout my life. Even Darkracer and I have a bit of a connection. I’d like to say it’s his wisdom, but that comes from my faith, not my personality. Unfortunately, I’d have to say his slight bent toward pessimism is more in line with me. Maybe I can learn from my own writing enough to lean toward Mike’s optimism.
Overall, the characters and I are deeply connected, but there is still a great deal I have learned from them. I’ve seen them grow into role models I wish to aspire to. My hope is that readers will find the attributes in characters like David, Amber, Mike and General Riechet ones to aspire to as well.
– Jolene Loraine
Star Wars, Avatar, etc.? No. Whether or not you see commonalities, I did not base my characters or stories off other works of fantasy or science fiction – at least not consciously. Of course all artists pick up inspiration from other artists, and as the old saying goes, “There’s nothing new under the sun.” So if you’re thinking, “Oh, she made the Celehi after Avatar’s aliens,” (who are also blue), nope. In fact, the Celehi were in place years before Avatar ever came out. And if you think Mike and Han Solo are the same – wrong again. Mike was not inspired by Han despite them both being pilots. Remember, Mike is a very compassionate, self-sacrificing individual who was never a criminal. Nor does he have the same attachment to his ship as Han does the Millennium Falcon. Furthermore, Lash is certainly not Chewbacca. The friendship between Mike and Lash stems from their years together in the same squadron where they learned to trust each other through very dangerous missions (pretty much like any buddies in the military). Oxyrans and Ewoks? No. It was natural to give Oxyrans a hairy covering since their world is further from the sun than Telamier. This also plays into their compact bodies. In fact, much of my inspiration comes from the natural world. I’ve always been fascinated by nature and like to think about why things look and function as they do. My innate love for animals played heavily into the development of the alien species – in case you hadn’t noticed.
Other things found their inspirations not in things that are, but rather in things that are not. For example, I had David getting drunk by drinking bottles of an alcoholic beverage. The question was posed as to how to make this different. Well, if “what is” is to drink a liquid, what about eating? Now go a step further. The result – alcohol pills. Dreams have also inspired both settings and action. The mural in the Piña Dorado hallway and the “water floor” of the ballroom were things from a dream I had. Inspirations have also come from random things in the world around me. I love to look at all kinds of art, listen to all kinds of music, and observe all kinds of events. Little observations have played important roles. When it came to the comlinks, I wanted something other than the traditional talk-to-your-wrist device, but what? Let’s face it, a device attached to your wrist is a very logical way of doing things. Then something seemingly insignificant caught my eye while watching the movie, S.W.A.T. Jeremy Renner’s character of Gamble wears a com device around his neck (like I’ve seen various law enforcement and military personnel use), and I suddenly went “Ahha!” Now the comlinks on Telamier are collars that pick up voice signals while a small earpiece fits behind the ear and relays the incoming messages. And the control for all this? That came from a Nova documentary on new technologies. Apparently scientists are experimenting with using the mind to control devices. The crazy thing is – it works! Comlink problem solved. So my inspiration comes from many different places and I never discredit the small stuff. However, I always try to avoid purposefully copying other works of science fiction.