Category: characters

Sir Santo Puglia

Santo’s a Menyoral character. He first appears in Hard Luck and has a slightly larger role in The Service. He wasn’t in the third book, and he won’t be in the fourth. (Jury’s out on #5.)

He’s one of Vandis’s closest friends. I knew that from the beginning. I had this mental character-picture, I mean a picture of his character, not a portrait. I was thinking of a youth pastor who honestly enjoyed his work; Santo loves taking and training Squires, working with young people from Brightwater in particular (all his Squires have been young men from Brightwater). The more I asked myself how that kind of person would act, the more I liked Santo.

The problem was, he wouldn’t talk to me directly, which I say with the writerly conceit that characters “speak to” me. (Some people say they do, but for the most part they don’t to me — literally anyway.)  I couldn’t figure out where he’d come from apart from “Brightwater,” or anything about his background.

You might have noticed he’s got the same name as Puglia Fountain. Yes, he’s from the same family as the Conte, in the direct line — but unless something goes horribly wrong, he won’t inherit the title. He’s the fourth son of the family, a spare in every way.

Expect to learn more about Santo soonish.


Wallace MacNair

Wallace is one of my favorite characters in Menyoral. He began as sort of an offhand thing, but now he’s turned into a really important figure. He first appears in The Service as Evan Grady’s friendly, overweight Squire, and as a young Knight in Live Free or Die. (Yeah, yeah, spoiler, but you’d sort of know looking at him anyway.)

The thing about Wallace (a.k.a. Wally, but only if you’re Evan) you might not have considered is that he’s actually several months younger than Dingus is. He doesn’t look it, because his adoptive family is Bearded (Rothganar dwarves), and has encouraged him since he was small to grow a beard — not that it’s come in until recently. They’re terribly insular, but when the matriarch of clan MacNair found a blond baby on a hillside, they couldn’t leave him to die. Instead they brought him underground, and when eleven years later a passing Knight took shelter in one of their caves, let him go again.

Wallace is much loved at home, and much missed, but he never really fit in, and that’s why Dingus starts to trust him — but the two don’t know each other very well. Both are in for a surprise when I finally finish Hard Time.

(If you’re a regular reader of the blog you might remember a previous Snippet Sunday on the subject, and you can find that here. If you want to see a piece of Live Free or Die, take a look here.)

Sir Dingus P. Xavier

People laugh at Dingus’s name, in story and out of it.

They’re supposed to.

You’re supposed to underestimate him until it’s too late.

Dingus began life as my husband’s first Dungeons and Dragons character. He used to be shorter, he was a ranger/barbarian, and he had my husband’s snarky charm. I looked at him and said to myself, I must torture him. Because, honestly, I have always been a writer.

I started out with a short story, meant as a gift, and I guess I didn’t think of stopping until it was too late. I wrote part of what I thought it would eventually be as my senior thesis, and if you know who I am, please, please do not look it up. It was terrible. Present tense? What was I thinking?

Slowly, but also before I’d turned around, Rothganar grew up around Dingus. Really, after a little while, you don’t even notice the name, or at least, I don’t. Objectively I know it’s silly, but I love him so well it doesn’t matter anymore.

I could go on a lot about what Dingus is supposed to mean, supposed to be. I could spend at least six thousand more words about where he comes from. I could talk about my future plans and rub my hands together, cackling evilly. So far he’s gone from scared, sad boy to bad-ass protector of adorable monkey babies. We’ll see how far he can go. ❤

Oh. And the “P” stands for Parsifal.


Sir Vandis Vail

Of everyone I have, Vandis is the most difficult character to write. He demands a lot of my brainpower, especially because he’s smarter (or smart in a different way, maybe) than I am. He’s the Head of the Knights of the Air, so he’s a priest as well as an administrator. Lately he’s feeling more and more the stress of fulfilling the duties of his station as well as handling a Squire (Kessa No-Name) and a difficult Junior (Our Hero).

Vandis’s dialogue is a particular challenge. Often I’ve rewritten the same line about a hundred times, and it’s still not right, which is why I’m grateful for both first readers and editor.A lot of people really like Vandis, even if they don’t like his filthy mouth. I’ve found it’s easiest when I write him in conversation with his Lady Akeere, who’s given him the ability to fly. His top speed in flight is something like Mach 2. He’s a tiny supersonic jet, and that’s incredibly fun to write as well.

The thing about Vandis some people don’t know is that he falls on the asexual spectrum. He’s got some strong romantic feelings toward his Lady, but he rarely experiences any sexual desire, considering it a waste of valuable time.

If you haven’t met him and would like to, he’s heavily featured in Saga of Menyoral, and appears in his own story, A Wing and a Prayer, which you can read in its entirety on the site: Part One and Part Two at the links.

Kessa No-Name

Kessa is one of the most interesting characters — to me — in the whole of Menyoral. (Of course, I have to say that. I’m the writer.)

We first meet Kessa as an abused twelve-year-old girl. Contrary to popular belief, she’s actually six-foot-two when she first arrives onstage, less than an inch short of Dingus himself, and she looks strong and capable. She dreams of becoming an expert swordswoman.

The power of Kessa’s dream makes her susceptible, even though she’s physically stronger than a lot of grown men. Add to that her lack of status as a fatherless No-Name (a bastard), and she’s at a distinct disadvantage against the manipulative man in her life. She is how she is because I felt it was important for her to be that way; even girls who haven’t bloomed early like Kessa are under threats like she suffers from every day.

Some people don’t like her. At first that surprised me, but the more criticism she received, the more I realized it was important for her to be that way. She’s been taken advantage of, and she’s too young to serve as a sex object for Dingus. She’s not his reward; she’s his sister, and as their relationship develops I enjoy that more and more.