Readers have told me they love the sea people of Avonai from my book, Daughter of Light. For those of you who have not read it yet, they are a race of people who live along the eastern coast of the continent and are so connected to the sea that they can feel the sea inside their veins and their eyes change to match the color of the waters.
One of my main characters, Captain Lore, is from this race (from his mother’s side). His connection to the sea creates a unique problem for him. Most of his people grow up near the sea and build up a tolerance to the sea’s moods. But Lore grew up in the White City, far from the sea, and so when he goes near the ocean, his seablood can make it hard for him to focus, or worse, during a storm, can physically hurt him.
So where did I come up with this idea for a race of people who are connected to the sea?
It started with my own experience with the ocean. As a child, my only memories of the Pacific were visits to the beach in California. I remembered how dirty the beach was, how hot, and, in my own opinion, how ugly. I did not like the ocean.
It wasn’t until shortly after I was married that my husband took me to visit one of his favorite places: Whidbey Island in Washington State. I stood on that rocky shore, with the wind blowing and gray clouds overhead, crabs crawling over seaweed, colorful starfish along the cliffs and white gulls crying above me that I fell in love with the sea. That moment took a hold of my soul.
Later, I remembered this quote from Legolas (from Lord of the Rings) when he first saw the ocean: “…then I stood still, forgetting war in Middle-Earth; for their wailing voices spoke to me of the sea! The sea! Alas! I have not yet beheld it, but deep in the hearts of all my kindred lies the sea-loving, which it is perilous to stir.”
I was blessed later to live on the Oregon coast. I watched how the ocean would change. Calm one day, furious the next. And all the beautiful colors it would turn: blue-green, a deep gray, soft blue. That’s when I came up with the idea to have a race of people connected to the sea. And have their eyes change to match those beautiful colors.
I was also told early on in my manuscript that Lore was too good. I realized that by having him part of this race of people, but not growing up near the sea, would create a part of Lore that he could not control (and Lore doesn’t like to be out of control). It is one of his flaws (another one to come in Son of Truth). Having flaws made Lore more human.
So that is how I came up with the idea to have people connected to the sea.