When I first started working on ANAM CARA, the prequel to TIES THAT BIND, Aedan wasn’t part of the story. Then one day he popped into a scene, complaining about the heat and the stink. After I got over my surprise that the hero had a younger brother, I decided Aedan would be accused of murder and sent to the dungeon, which would force the hero to stay in Carlisle long enough to fall in love with the heroine.
Silly me. That is so not how the story went.
Aedan not only refused to follow my plot, but also talked his way into being a major character. Nor would he let “The End” be the end. Instead, he began stalking me, demanding I write his story. In his opinion, I left his reputation in tatters at the close of ANAM CARA. And I needed to fix that.
As a descendant of druids, one of his magical abilities is the gift of words. He can talk anyone into anything—including this author.
Having been left in a monastery by his father (most likely sold to the canons), Aedan learned early how to get what he needed to survive, and then to get what he wanted. By the time we meet him, manipulating others is so ingrained into his nature he never once considers the moral implications.
He also is minstrel born. Music is both his curse and his salvation. He must play, but when he does, his regrets, hopes, joys, sorrows and anger are reflected in the music for anyone to hear. Fortunately, most people don’t pay close enough attention to understand what they hear.
Here's an excerpt of Aedan and his music from ANAM CARA:
As he waited in the lesser hall for his audience with the king, Aedan fumbled through the fingering of the chalumeau, setting his mind to the notes rather than his fate. Worry faded to the background as he concentrated on recreating the song that had almost pulled him from this world.
The tune idled in his mind, the sound pitch perfect in his imagining. He tested the reeds of the small pipe, blowing softly as he sought and found notes to match the ones in his head. He picked his way from note to note, until he'd replicated the song. It had been fuller, richer, more complex than his instrument could manage, but it was the beginning of his first composition.
Sitting on the floor, knees bent, he experimented with the pitch of the melody. He added a trill, surged toward the crescendo and slowed the beat to the rhythm of a dirge. With growing confidence, he played the tune again, adding his own swoops and flourishes until it swirled and dust motes danced like fairies at midsummer's twilight.
A shadow fell over him. The notes soured and faded as he looked up. Everything inside him went soft. "I wondered when I would see you." He let a corner of his mouth crook into a grin and swallowed nervously. Tess' answering smile was a façade, but he pretended not to notice.
TIES THAT BIND isn't the easiest book I've ever written, but it's one of my favorites. I loved the challenge of taking a self-centered character who always gets what he wants, thwarting him at every turn, and then using the power of love to make him a better man.
Tomorrow: Meet Tess from TIES THAT BIND: the immovable heroine who resists Aedan’s unstoppable force
Keena Kincaid, the author of three historical romance novels with The Wild Rose Press, is blogging all week to celebrate the release of TIES THAT BIND, the second of her Druids of Duncarnoch series. On Friday, she’ll answer your questions about her characters, her books and herself. Everyone who submits a comment or a question will be entered into a drawing for one of five prizes: a 25 percent off coupon to The Wild Rose Press bookstore (2); a copy of TIES THAT BIND (2) and a set ANAM CARA and TIES THAT BIND (1).