So since I started talking about my story ‘The Little Queen‘ over a year ago, I occasionally get asked a question about the plot or the characters. Mostly I’ve just let them build up in my Tumblr ask box and only started answering them recently. Here are a few (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS).
Q: Is there any reason you decided to make Jen + Co pretty much an all girl team?
A: Not really. I essentially just drew them all from a kind of pool of characters I’d written occasionally before and enjoyed, most of whom happened to be female. For this type of story the sex or gender of the characters I think is pretty much incidental. The problems they deal with are mainly things like genetically engineered faerie killers, rather than actual problems that are specific to men or women.
Q: Do Jen or any of the other characters have any religious or spiritual beliefs?
A: I’d say that Jennifer is an atheist, just by default. It’s just not something she devotes much time to thinking about.
Ten is too young to really care about it either, and her mother never raised with any particular beliefs other than in punching things.
Kaya might have some ‘spiritual’ beliefs, but she doesn’t really practice anything.
Sayuri comes from a Japanese family and they observe some traditions from their homeland. She herself is the kind of person who reads her horoscope, not because she necessarily believes there are any mysterious forces guiding her destiny, but mostly just for fun and because it helps motivate her.
Doctor Jana Sarkis is Muslim. That’s never mentioned in the story but it is something I had written in her notes as I’d envisioned her as being from north east Africa or at least descended from there.
Q: Is Tenley interested in anything other than hitting things?
A: She is quite fascinated by Dinosaurs and other prehistoric life. She also dances and sings to herself occasionally.
Q: Who is Saint Clarion??
A: I didn’t know what you were asking about, but just remembered it was the very briefly mentioned name of the school Tenley had stole her uniform from (or maybe she just borrowed it from one of the changelings). So the answer to your question is… no one. I made her up. I thought that Clarion was a popular fairy name and obviously there’s an elven and fairy theme throughout. Maybe she’s the patron saint of brass bands.
Q: What happened to the boys who tried to bully Ten near the beginning? Are they dead?!
A: No, Tenley didn’t kill them. She’s not that evil. There was going to be a scene later where they were seen running by some of the other characters, maybe nursing a bloody nose or two. But it was just something that ended up cut out. Still, maybe we’ll see them again in the future.
Q: Was Titania ever human? Can you explain a little more about what an ELF actually is?
A: No, Titania was never human. She was created entirely in Alvin Stag’s lab. She does look very human, as her designers made her in their own image, but genetically there is no human in her.
There isn’t really that much to the science in this. Most people I think are familiar with the concept of genetic engineering, modifying and splicing and doing stuff with existing organisms. Synthetic biology is a logical progression from that – instead of just modifying an existing thing, imagine being able to code an entire genome on a computer, kind of like using the creature designer in Spore (or perhaps a little more involved, but you get the idea). That genome you create on the computer is then injected into a synthetic cell and allowed to grow, in the story inside an artificial womb, or Crystal Egg.
The Crystal Eggs and the synthetic cells are all fictional, but in real life scientists have been able to remove the DNA from a bacteria, mycoplasma, and replace it with a synthetic genome and the ability to edit genes on a computer may not be too far off. I’d like to say that these are of course simple organisms and anything really complex like Titania, or the dog/triffid things, are a very long way off, but who knows? Hopefully if that did happen, there’d be a better and less self-absorbed person than Alvin Stag to take responsibility for it.
Q: So, Stag Corp are basically like Monsanto. They’ve taken an idea and technology that could be of tremendous use to humankind, but they’ve patented it, taken shortcuts to stay ahead of anyone else, and turned it into something evil – Titania. She enslaves and binds people to her will like how Monsanto try to bind farmers who buy their seed to them. Am I right?
A: It’s just a monster story… about monsters…
Well, that’s enough answers for now I think. Don’t forget, for the next couple of weeks you can get 100% off The Little Queen from Smashwords by using the code ND72U. It’s also available in most good e-book stores.