“Me, but Trapped Inside” by Jackie Gamber, author of REDHEART and SELA, Books One and Two of the Leland Dragon Series
As a writer, one of the endlessly fascinating elements of my job is people watching. Not just the kind done from a park bench, or a mall walk. That kind of exterior observation is a great start, but I like to watch people a little closer. From the inside, if I can.
Which is not to say I perform weird scientific explorations into the human body. But I do like a good journey into the human mind.
Or, dragon mind, as applies to my Leland Dragon Series.
Particularly, in SELA, the second book of the series, I got to live inside the mind of Sela Redheart, a dragon born child who has transformed into a human, and has been trapped there. She was born one creature, but life demanded another. She adapted.
In pondering Sela’s character development for the story, I had to look at her from several angles. She’s a teen searching for answers to life. To her life. She’s full of power and magic, but doesn’t know how to tap into it. She wants to be more than she is, but doesn’t feel allowed to have what she wants.
She’s a dragon, yes. But she’s us.
There are practicalities to consider for the story. Her family knows who she really is inside. Especially her uncle, Orman. Orman tries to protect her from knowing too much about humans, from becoming too much of one. And there is danger in Leland Province for her that only multiplies because she hasn’t the natural defenses anymore that her dragon skin provided. And there’s the disconnect between human values and dragon values that affect the way the two species interact; within their own societies, and with each others’.
Sela, as a character, is a product of all these external circumstances. She’s a person of two worlds, but kept too deeply from either to really understand her place in them. She’s been holding on her to dragon heritage, clinging to a hope that she can be the child of her memories and dreams. But none of us remain a child forever, and she makes a choice to embrace the mysterious, “other” life of a human. And in stepping out, of course, therein lies her destiny.
I love the term “character” to describe a person in a story, because it’s the same word we use to describe what we, ourselves, are made of. The true core of who we are. That which we display by our actions, and choices. And isn’t that what a person in a story displays as well?
For Sela, her journey from dragon to human and, eventually, to wholeness, is so familiar to us. We sense that life has adapted us away from who we know ourselves to be. Our better self. Our stronger self. We know we have wings, and we’re meant to fly…if only we can tap into our magic.
Jackie Gamber is the award-winning author of “Redheart” and “Sela”, Books One and Two of the Leland Dragon Series, now available! For more information about Jackie and her mosaic mind, visit http://www.jackiegamber.com
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