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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesday Spotlight: Renee Wildes

Riever’s Heart came out Tuesday, 9/27/11 from Samhain Publishing. I have a lot in common with the elven heroine, Verdeen and thought I’d share a bit about the both of us. Maybe you’ll see a bit you can relate to as well.

Verdeen was born to high parental expectations. Her parents were so proud when she became lady’s maid to the queen, Dara, in Duality. They thought “queen” but she saw “lady’s maid” and it wasn’t enough for her. Dara asked what she wanted and Verdeen was honest and told her. So Dara helped her enter the military academy—first female to do so in generations. Her parents were…disappointed. I used to be a waitress, and living off tips getting pinched by drunk businessmen was not where I saw for the rest of my life either. So I went back to college—and became the only vet tech in a family of nurses.

We’re both black sheep, following our own dreams instead of that of others’.

Verdeen and I are both tomboys. We’re both bookworms, both inclined to “look it up” when we have a question. I’m terrible about never wanting to stop research to actually WRITE. There’s so much interesting stuff to learn! But she and I both learned that sometimes, there’s no substitute for actually getting out there and LIVING life instead of just reading about it! Research is also EXPERIENCE. (And we both love to read just for fun, too.)

We’re both major horse lovers. I’ve always had Arabians and have two half-Arab mares now. Temptation Fyre N Ice (aka Sassy) is a gray 7-year-old Morab and Moonlight is a white 20-year-old half-Welsh pony who technically belongs to my daughter Tami. Verdeen’s always dreamed of having an elven war mare select her to partner in becoming a full elven ranger—those beautiful, glowing white, sentient war mares. Only when she graduates from the military academy, Verdeen DOESN’T get her war mare. None of them choose her. For me, I just had to buy one. Verdeen doesn’t have that luxury and her disappointment is crushing. What to do when the one thing you want most in the world is denied you? How to come up with Plan B? I’ve also had to deal with disappointments and roads not taken.

Sometimes it’s not about what you want. It’s about what you need.

I’ve started gaming on Dragons of Atlantis with my son, but because I never do anything halfway I’m now second in command in our mutual alliance. I’m basically the go-between between the overlord and the rest of the tribe. I’m counselor, resource allocator and diplomat. I also fight when necessary to protect what’s ours and defend my fellow alliance members. Verdeen is assigned by King Loren to accompany the human riever Daq Aryk back to his kingdom of Isadorikja and help him unite his warring clans into a single cohesive nation. She also is a go-between between Loren and Aryk. Part counselor, part spy. But she’s also right there to guard his back and defend him when threatened. Diplomacy when you can, war when that fails, diplomacy again when the war is over.

Always have a plan, and a backup plan, and a backup to the backup. Turn disappointment into triumph. See a failure as a new opportunity.

We both struggle to balance “warrior and woman.” Career vs. family. Time constraints. Choosing one thing means NOT choosing another. Time management and prioritizing. Coming to grips with the realization that you can’t do everything. Recognizing that every day you set an example, both good and bad. Learning to accept that your best is all there is, but it’s always enough. If you can look yourself in the eye in the mirror every night then you have nothing to apologize for.

We’ve both faced our fears. Verdeen had to climb a mountain, face her fear of falling. I’ve gone rappelling and faced my own fears of heights and falling. We both trusted the person holding the other end of the rope (belaying) not to let us die. Sometimes it’s out of your hands and in the hands of another. Sometimes you just gotta check that rope and step over the edge.

Both of us have dealt with the insecurity of wanting another’s approval, not getting it and slowly coming to the painful realization that we can’t please everyone all the time. You have to be secure within yourself. You can’t let others’ opinions dictate who and what you are.

The best characters are like real people with the triviality burned away. They’re multi-faceted. They have insecurities, weaknesses, moments they’re not proud of and things they want to do over. But they’ve got a good heart, learn from their mistakes and always try to do the right thing. Learn and grow. Be open to change. Be able to adapt. Celebrate life’s triumphs both great and small.

I loved hanging out with Verdeen, seeing how much she’s grown between Duality and Riever’s Heart AND how much she’s grown from the beginning of Riever’s Heart to the end. I hope you all find some part of her and her story to relate to your own life.

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