What’s In a Character

Of all the characters in the Night Hawk world, only four were around in its humble beginnings: David, Darkracer, Mike and maybe to your surprise, Dr. Juliana Meranser. Two of the other original characters will join in upcoming books. The rest developed throughout the years and even decades. And despite when they arrived on the scene, they all have evolved, some dramatically. Okay, some of you might not believe in evolution and I’m not one to argue, but when it comes to stories and their characters, yes, evolution exists.

Darkracer was originally a horse, no different than what we have here on Earth. He wouldn’t stay quiet, though, so later became a special talking horse. For a long time he remained more horse than anything – even to wearing a bit (“all forbid”). Finally he bucked all that and became a Candonian. Mike has also seen changes, though maybe not as dramatic. He has always been the good-natured, friendly type, but for a while he had a rougher side that rebelled quite openly with the military. (Apparently Riechet drilled that out of him.)

Amber came six years into the world’s deßvelopment and was much younger – being the teenage daughter of the deceased, yes deceased, Kyler Riechet. David cared for her as an adopted big brother. It was Black Ice, not Phantom, who was closely associated with her, being nothing but a horse much like Darkracer. When Amber “grew up”, Black Ice grew younger, once being completely removed from the stories before coming back in, Battle Cries.

As for the rest… Kailyn has grown more mature and professional from her original, sassy, girl-with-attitude beginnings. Keven came into existence (as one of the most recent characters) evolving from an obscure detective friend of David’s simply known as Detective Brenner. Toodat, Yehgrett, Jylin and De’oolay all came onto the scene at about the same time, though each had to work their way through many versions to get to where they are today. Lash was actually the first alien to join, being more or less a humanoid cat. Some of that can still be seen in him to this day.

Then there’s Nathaniel Darson. With the various versions of the early books he swung most dramatically of any character to the extremes of personality. At first he was a playful, fun-loving prankster with a friendly, bubbly personality. While some characters found him exasperating at times, everyone liked him and he made friends easily. At this time he and Amber were part of a spin-off series and the two were actually dating. What?! Yep, Nathan and Amber were teenage boyfriend and girlfriend. Meanwhile, a character with just the opposite personality to Nathan was making his way onto the scene as a jealous opponent to David. When that character and his subplot storyline proved to complicate the series, he was given the “ax”. As the spin-off merged with the growing story of a war involving the Vairdec, the personalities of Nathan and the “axed” character blended. After several tweaks, Nathan as we know him today, came into being.

Even the Vairdec have evolved – probably the most dramatically when it comes to physical form. Like Amber, they didn’t come into play until six years into the Night Hawk stories. When they made their first appearance, they were hideous, fearsome creatures with fangs and tentacles on their heads. Ever one to try doing things a little differently, I began removing the typical fierce bad-guy features. A thick black mane replaced the tentacles. The fangs grew smaller and eventually disappeared all together. I then began to think, why do bad guys have to look ugly? What if they are a very beautiful species? So, that’s what I did – made them elegant and beautiful (at least by Human standards).

Only one seems to have changed little over the years – David himself. There were times I tried to change his personality to fit the early versions of Night Hawk. He was an eager-fighter, a joker and even arrogant for a while, but nothing I tried ever stuck. David is David – a deeply intellectual and even deeper feeling person with a great deal of compassion for life. He shows skill and courage when needed but is never boastful. Sometimes his compassion creates personal struggles and he doesn’t always have it together, but even when he wants to give up, he ultimately finds himself unable to stand down from doing what is right. As far as I’m concerned, he’s what a true hero looks like, and I have no intention of changing that.

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