Kaden’s still looking at me squinty-eyed over having Davira unleashed on them just because of a random photo. I quickly flip to another question card.
“So, since we’re on the topic of characters, Kara wants to know what the hardest thing is about creating a character. Looks? Name? Personality? Well, characters aren’t usually too much of a problem for me. Characters are my favorite part of fiction, and it usually isn’t hard to create a cast of them. However, one of the most notable exceptions is that I sometimes struggle with creating my main female characters. Male characters are easy, maybe because I, personally, prefer male characters in fiction. But developing female characters’ personalities can sometimes be a challenge. Kyrin took a while to develop. I knew something just wasn’t right about her character when I first started writing Resistance. It took months before I realized that someone was missing from her life, and that’s how Kaden came into existence. The whole time I was writing her and something seemed off, it was because she was missing her brother. Once I added Kaden, she finally started to develop properly. So the short answer is that personality is the hardest part for me, but mainly just for female characters, though not always. I didn’t have any trouble like that with Leetra and Elanor. Some characters just come with fully formed personalities.”
Kyrin sends Kaden a smile across the table. “Even before the books were written, we couldn’t be without each other.”
“It’s true.” I shuffle through the cards. “Here is a question for everyone from Sadie. She wants to know who are the Biblical characters you relate to the most?”
Everyone just kind of looks at each other. When no one answers immediately, I jump back in. “I think one of the most obvious answers to this question is Timothy is that relates to Timothy since that’s who he was literally inspired by. Am I right?”
He nods. “Yes, I would say that.”
I look around at the others, and Kyrin speaks up. “I think I can speak for all of us saying we’ve all related to Joseph at one point or another, especially when things have been hard we couldn’t see the purpose.”
Everyone voices their agreement, and I catch Holden’s eye, which seems to prompt him to speak.
“While I’m certainly not Paul, I can relate to him when it comes to our pasts.”
“I can see that.” As I go through the cards, I pull out a few to make a separate stack. “You got a lot of questions this time around, Kaden.”
He raises a brow. “Do any of them have to do with girls or my relationship status?”
“Of course, but we’ll get to those in a bit. First, Madisyn has a few questions she would love if both you and Marcus would answer since you two are her favorite. The first question is what is one thing you’ve learned during the past few years?”
They both look at each other before Kaden finally at Marcus. “You’re the oldest. You go first.”
Marcus just shakes his head at him before turning to me. “This might sound strange because I think people tend to see me as more confident and capable than I actually am, which is probably my own fault. That is what I portray. But I think one thing I’ve learned is to be more confident about forming and voicing my own thoughts and opinions. In Arcacia’s army, I was so used to simply going by what I was taught no matter what. I didn’t speak up or push back when I should have. Now that I’ve been a leader in the Resistance, I’ve had to learn to examine my beliefs and convictions to make sure they are firmly rooted in my faith in Elôm and not just because they align with those around me, and speak up when I feel it’s necessary.”
Kaden chuckles. “I think my answer would probably be the opposite. I was always the one who did speak out and push back and liked to rebel. I’ve definitely had to learn to listen and follow better.”
“Hopefully, we’ve both achieved a more balanced approach to things.”
“I think you both have.” I scan Madisyn’s questions. “Next she wants to know, if you could return to the past and change one thing, what would that be?
Marcus doesn’t hesitate to answer. “I think if you were to ask any one of us siblings, we’d change it so that our father or Michael would still be here.”
Kaden voices his agreement, and I see Kyrin and Liam nodding.
“Who is your hero and why? How have they inspired and encouraged you in your faith walk or life in general?”
Once again, Marcus takes the lead in answering. “That’s a good question. My father, for sure. He gave up everything for his faith. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him to consider leaving us all behind, but he willingly faced death for what he believed. It encourages me every day to do the same because even though it was devastating to lose him, it did show us how Elôm has a plan even when things seem really dark.”
“Same,” Kaden says. “I’ve met a lot of people I respect and who are heroes to me, but I’ll always consider our father my greatest hero. I not only want to have faith like him, but I hope I can be the sort of man he was. He was so good at not letting life get to him.”
I smile at him and then at Marcus. “Well, I know he’d be very proud of both of you and how far you’ve come. I know you’ll both continue to be more like him as you get older. Now, speaking of faith, how has your faith helped you endure trials and hard times? And do you have any advice for those enduring hardships?”
Kaden gives Marcus a prompting look. “You’re a lot better at giving advice than I am”
“I’m not sure about that.” But Marcus clears his throat and answers anyway. “I think, for all of us, our faith helps provide the comfort of knowing that Elôm is in control, even in hard times. If we did not have that assurance, it would be really hard to endure when things are so bleak. It’s not always easy, but my advice would be to hold onto that faith that God does have a plan even if it’s impossible to see or understand. It’s easy to get caught up in hardships and forget that the life we’re currently living is just a small part of the life we are going to live for eternity. Things might never make sense now, but they will then.”
“That’s true, and something we definitely need to be reminded of often. Okay, one more question from Madisyn. Don’t worry, this one doesn’t require you to dig deep for spiritual advice. If you could take one thing from our world and bring it yours, what would that be? And gunpowder is off limits.”
Kaden snorts. “You really don’t want us to have that, do you?”
“Not at his point in Ilyon’s history, no.”
“Okay then, your modes of transportation would be really nice and are a lot faster. I know you said you’d take a dragon over a car any day, but a car would be nice for traveling in bad weather. And your airplanes are faster than dragons, so that would make it a lot easier and faster to visit places like Dorland.”
I stubbornly stick to my belief that dragons would be better. “Building on that answer, Stargazer wants to know if you would rather have a sports car, motorcycle, or jet/helicopter/airplane?"
“Oh, that’s a tough one. I mean, sports cars are cool, but I don’t think I could give up flying, so I’d probably say an airplane. A small, maneuverable one, preferably.”
I look at Marcus. “And what’s one thing you would take from my world?”
“I agree with Kaden on transportation, but I’d also say your medical knowledge, equipment, and medicines. We have some really good physicians, but they still aren’t capable of doing what your doctors and surgeons can.”
I can’t argue that modern medicine does have its perks when necessary. Looking through the main stack of questions, I pull one out. “Liam, I do have a question for you.”
He looks a bit nervous.
“Don’t worry, it’s not about you and Cassie or when you’ll get married.” Even without a question, his ears turn a bit red at the mention of their relationship, and I fight back a grin. “Rebecca wants to know if Liam is your full name or if it is short for William.”
“It’s short for William. Marcus was named after our grandfather, and I was named after our father.”
I smile at him. “It’s a good name. Okay, switching topics.” I shift to face Timothy and Leetra. Leetra’s eyes narrow just slightly, and she seems to brace for what’s coming. “It’s actually nothing too invasive. The first question was intended for me. Iris wants to know the names of the twelve crete clans, which is an excellent question. I had to go dig out my planning binder with all of my original notes and information for the series because, stupidly, I didn’t have a copy of the list on my computer. But, since you’re here, Leetra, why don’t you answer that.”
She looks relieved and more than happy to do so. “The twelve crete clans are Hawk, Wolf, Bear, Eagle, Dragon, Panther, Deer, Fox, Falcon, Raven, Owl, and Lynx.”
“This next question, also from Iris, is for you or Timothy. What would you name your kid if you had one?”
They look at each other, and Leetra seems as interested in Timothy’s answer as I am. But he gives her a sheepish smile. “I really haven’t had much time to think about it, I guess.”
She just gives him an adoring look before turning to me with a surprisingly soft expression. “I like Neya, for a girl. That was my grandmother’s name.”
“Is that the grandmother Talas mentioned in a past Q&A? The one who died tragically?”
“It’s a pretty name. Now, Timothy, Isabelle wants to know if are you planning to stay in Valcre with Aaron and Lacy after everything settles, or go back to Arvael so Leetra can be with her family?”
“Well, where I go really depends on where Elôm calls me. I’m meant to teach people and lead them to Him. So, while this question does get answered in the book, all I can really say is that my plans are completely dependent on Elôm’s leading no matter where that is.”
Leetra nods quietly, seeming content with his answer.
I flip to the next card. “Here are a couple of questions for you, Rayad. Nadia wants to know, if the rebellion is over, what do you plan on doing afterward? Any plans of staying with Jace and Kyrin wherever they settle down?”
Rayad takes a sip of coffee as he thinks on that. “This is one of those questions that is hard to answer without spoiling the book. I guess what I can say is that I’ve always planned on sticking close to wherever Jace and Kyrin are once this is all over. I don’t have anywhere I would prefer to go. Wherever they go will be home to me.”
Kyrin smiles at him. “And you’re more than welcome wherever we are settled.”
“Okay, second question. What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?”
This doesn’t take him long to consider. “Not that we’ve had the chance to try many, but I’ve found I like a good vanilla ice cream with strawberries. I know it’s not very exciting, but I don’t think I really get into all the different flavors.”
I grin. “That’s what my brothers and I always had when we visited my grandparents when we were little. The strawberries were fresh from their garden.” Then I notice Kaden giving Marcus a look and shaking his head. “Kaden, is there something you wanted to share?”
“Well, you’d think Rayad would be getting requests for advice over me and Marcus. Instead, he gets to share his favorite ice cream flavor.”
“Rayad has done his fair share of giving advice over his life. He deserves fun questions.”
Rayad chuckles, and Kaden sighs.
I give him a look. “If you want to talk about food so badly, then here’s a question from Rebecca for everyone. Does Ilyon grow the same types of fruits and vegetables as Earth? For example, do you eat cucumbers, radishes, carrots, kale, tomatoes, eggplant, apples, oranges, melons, kiwi, berries, dates, and so on? If not, which things have you never had? Do you have any food in Ilyon that we don't have?”
Kaden shakes his head. “I didn’t say I wanted to talk about food.”
Kyrin gives him an exasperated look before shifting her attention to me. “I recognize most of those things you mentioned, so probably? But I do know there are some fruits and vegetables in Dorland you don’t have in your world that the cretes like.”
Kaden’s brows furrow as he seems to be thinking over the questions. “What’s a kiwi?”
I laugh. “Kiwis are a type of fruit. They are about the size and shape of a large chicken egg. Inside they are bright green, and I guess similar a consistency to pears. But on the outside, they are brown and bristly.”
“Or fuzzy, I suppose.”
“A fuzzy fruit? That’s just weird.”
“Well, you don’t eat the outside, but they aren’t my favorite.”
“I’m glad you didn’t bring any of those. I’ll just stick to cookies.” He reaches into the basket for one.