Monthly Archives: September 2014

Satus Quo: LIVING

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Okay, so I’m sure all three of the people who read this blog may have noticed that I’ve neglected to post Character spotlight, or indeed anything else, on my blog for two weeks. There’s been a lot of drama going on in the last 18 or so days and it’s nothing tragic, nothing painful, and some of it was actually beyond anyone’s control.

Simply put, life is getting in the way.

I’m getting more work assignments, I’m getting more involved as a parent, I’m getting healthier and getting more exercise, and I’ve spent more time on the phone than a bank call center. Overall these are all good things (except for the phone calls. I HATE PHONE CALLS). But it also means that something has to suffer right now.

That something is the blog right now.

And it won’t always be this way. It’s me not you.

I’ll write a big post about the drama with comcast, the joys of scouting, and maybe some short stories even, but in the meantime I beg you to be patient with me while I deal with my schedule some more.

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Character Spotlight: Avery Bachhaussen

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One of the classic rules of writing is that if you want your character to have extraordinary adventures outside of the ordinary you give him a) freedom, b) drive or c) money. Linus running for Union President, like he did in Runs in Good Condition happened totally organically, since I actually hate politics and never thought I’d write about an election. But as soon as I knew that he HAD to run there was a polite knock at my brain and there was Avery again saying, “Um, excuse me? Can I be of any service to you?”

 Avery Bachhaussen

 

Avery first made his appearance at the very end of Must Love Dragons. He was just a Ranger on Linus’ side who helps him out a bit. I had no idea that he was actually going to continue on into The Linus Saga as a character. He’s just one of those ideas that took on a life of their own.

When he started out in my brain he was just an extra that was a carbon copy of Crispin Bonham-Carter’s version of Mr. Bingley in the 1992 production of Pride and Prejudice. But even if he looks identical to that in my head, he’s taken on a character of his own in the process of writing him and turned out far more interesting than I had intended.

Avery is a privileged only son of Old Money, on par with hotel magnates and electronic company CEOs. He’s your classic nice guy. He always wants to help, he’s passionate about causes he believes in and never wants to have anyone mad at him.

But like the standard ‘nice guy’ of today he has a lot of flaws. He’s naïve and easily led by other people’s opinions, ready to accept them without consulting the facts or his own feelings. He takes everything at face value and is quick to divide the world into black and white, until he gets another opinion to zealously believe in. So, basically he’s that guy on Facebook that will share every “share if you want to stop/ help/support____” post, and writes “THIS” about articles outlining the latest injustice without actually reading them or checking the sources—the headline’s pretty much said everything, right?

So, Avery is a sweetheart, but he doesn’t have a single original thought in his brain. Unfortunately that’s starting to clash with his new family. He has a young wife and a (pending) child—another decision he made because he followed societal norms. The problem is that no one is telling him how to do this “family” thing or how to feel about it. There’s no one to form his opinions for him and no one to get him worked up into a fervor about it. How is he going to keep things going without passion for his loved one—passion he instead devotes to his work?

I’ll have to find out in a future book, I guess.

 

FUN FACTS:

*The one time Avery showed the world he was his own man was when he chose to marry someone without money. It was his one act of rebellion against his family, who still constantly criticize his involvement in civil affairs.

*Avery’s very altruistic and donates regularly to causes like, homes for orphans, widows pensions, schools, and apprenticeship fees for boys who might not otherwise be able to afford them.

*He’s also slightly patriarchal, willing to defer to men and let them lead him around by the horns but never thinking that women or children have anything of value to contribute. He himself is unaware of this and would be quite shocked if you told him this.

*Avery became a Ranger to get out going to parties and stuffy mansions. He enjoys spending time outdoors and is a formidable hunter and horseman.

Character Spotlight: Tyrrus Gruthsfield

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It’s high time I covered a baddy, so this week’s post is about Tyrrus Gruthsfield. Now, I don’t like to think of him as a baddy, although he’s definitely a villain in books 1 & 2. I just dislike characters who are evil through and through. I grew up watching cartoonishly evil bad guys in movies and on TV that were evil simply for the sake of being evil, and those always bothered me a bit (I should probably write a post on this later.) The point is, Tyrrus isn’t a villain because he wants to be evil. Like all proper villains, Tyrrus thinks he’s the hero of his own story—in this case a story of loss, love and abandonment.

We first meet Tyrrus when he appears in the last act of Must Love Dragons as the ruthless head of the corrupt Rangers Union. But we also know he and Linus have a history together. Let’s look into that, shall we?

 

 

Image copyright ©2014 Monica Marier

Image copyright ©2014 Monica Marier

 HISTORY

Linus met Tyrrus when upon passing his entrance exams at the Rangers Union to become a Pre-One Ranger, or a Ranger-in-training. This is an apprenticeship period where a Ranger is usually assigned to an E-10 Ranger in good standing to have as mentor. The trainers assigned Linus to Tyrrus Gruthsfield, who was in his late 30’s at the time. Tyrrus was a rugged, jovial dandy bachelor, with a love of adventure and a lust for high living. He and Linus bonded straight away. Linus was in awe of this rugged expert of the wilderness and his bombastic personality. Tyrrus fed off of Linus’ admiration, and his youthful outlook made Tyrrus feel like he himself was a young teen again.

When Linus had finished his year under Gruthsfield as a student and graduated to E-1, he continued to travel and work with Tyrrus as a friend and compatriot. Linus became a family to Tyrrus, who had grown up as an orphan in the Rangers Union’s boys home for foundlings and had never known a family.  And Linus, who had always had to fight with his dozen siblings for attention, enjoyed the singular attention Gruthsfield was giving him and eventually left his father’s house to live at the Union boarding house with Gruthsfield and other young bachelors.

Tyrrus tried to advise Linus as best he could on how best to navigate the rocky path of his late teens into adulthood, but it was myopic and sometimes self-serving. Tyrrus had avoided growing up, and didn’t really want Linus to either. It’s possible that a lot of Linus’ early missteps (bad relationships, hijinks, faux pas, his drinking habits) were either from Tyrrus’ lack of direction or from simply bad advice.

It was about five years after their pairing, when Linus began to make friends and peers in his own age-group, that his relationship with the then 40-something Tyrrus became strained. Tyrrus became more controlling of Linus and his free-time and assignments. He subtly tried to orchestrate fallings out between Linus and his friends, and when that didn’t work, he would bombard Linus with accusations of betrayal and callousness.  

Linus didn’t take well to Gruthsfield’s constant intrusion on his life—feeling like he was tied to the apron strings of a clucking, nagging mother hen. By the time when Linus was beginning to slip into depression, alcohol, and a dangerous affair—a time when Gruthsfield genuinely wanted to help Linus—it was too late. Linus had already stopped listening to Grusthfield.

 The incident with Tchineline (as outlined in Runs in Goods Condition) was the final breaking point and, soon after, Linus severed ties with his ex-mentor. Tyrrus and Linus most likely had no contact with eachother until the events of Must Love Dragons. Linus was more than aware of Gruthfield’s rise to power in the Union, but was only a disinterested bystander at the time. He had no idea that during that twenty-some years in-between Gruthfield had spent it brooding on the loss of his only friend and family, and becoming harder and more twisted as the realization of his own mortality grew more apparent and tortured him with the passage of time.

 

Fun Facts:

*The name Tyrrus is (rather obviously) taken from the Greek tyrannos meaning monarch or King.

*Gruthsfield’s actions have always been chiefly fueled by his fear of aging and death. It’s what draws him closer to true villainy as he begins to enter old age.

*He probably assaulted Linus a few times in their younger days, but played it off later as nothing. That unrequited attraction, as well as his emotional manipulation was a key factor in their falling out and later turned into the hatred we see in the books.

*Tyrrus was the one who blackballed Linus from renewing his Ranger’s E-10 license prior to the events of Must Love Dragons. After failing to ban him entirely, he brought up the motion to make Linus restart as an E-1.

* In my head, his voice sounds like the late Tony Jay.