Kids Are Alright, But…

New Books, New Podcasts

Several weeks ago, David Butler and I discussed Aurora Borealis Bridge, as well as wandering into a bunch of other topics, for Baen Free Radio.  The chat is now available on video or audio only.

Since Aurora Borealis Bridge is the second book in the Over Where series, there will be spoilers.  You might enjoy starting with our chat about Library of the Sapphire Wind which is also available on video or audio only.

The other day, a long-time friend commented that the Over Where books are not the only ones I’ve written where the protagonist is not a younger person.  Mira, the main character in Child of a Rainless Year, is in her early fifties.  What many readers, looking at the silver-haired me of these days, might not realize is that when I wrote Mira, I was actually in my early-forties.  I used my husband, Jim (who is ten years older than me), as a touchpoint for getting right what she would have had available to her as a kid.

My original plan for the “Breaking the Wall” books (Thirteen Orphans, Nine Gates, Five Odd Honors) was to have some of the older Orphans be the point of view characters.  Brenda Morris became a point of view character at the request of Tor’s Tom Doherty, who said he felt the Firekeeper readers expected me to be writing about a younger character.

In reality, writing about characters older than me was more common than not early in my writing career.  Older people can be much more interesting to write about.  They’ve had life experiences that go beyond first kiss or getting a date to the prom or first jobs or dealing with annoying parents and/or teachers…  Well, you get the point.

This is not to say that I don’t like writing about younger people.  I taught college English for a good number of years, and there’s nothing like reading freshman essays to give you a realistic appreciation of the mindset of people in their late teens and early twenties.  What I love the most is that on some topics, they can be as sophisticated as people much older than they are, while in others they are enchantingly naïve. 

For this reason, I resolved that the Over Where books would have competent characters in all age ranges, and that if someone made mistakes, it would not be because they were a “behind the times” senior or a “dumb kid.”  It would be because they were people, and people, no matter the age, level of education, or amount of life experience, are perfectly capable of making mistakes.

On that note, I’m going to wander on back to my writing, and see what my characters are getting up to now.


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