A warm welcome to author Blaine D. Arden joining us today to talk about her new release “Full Circle”, part three in the Forrester Triad. At the same time Blaine released a bundle with all three Forrester stories combined “A Triad in Three Acts”.
Welcome Blaine 🙂
Ianys: Love him or Hate him? by Blaine D. Arden
Ianys is unlike any romantic lead I’ve ever written so far. When I started writing The Forester (eons ago), Kelnaht, my point of view character, was still not over a past betrayal in which the love of his life, Ianys, cheated on him with a woman. When I wrote Ianys into the story, he wasn’t mean to be anything more than a secondary character, the cheating ex. Kelnaht’s romantic dilemma was supposed to be all about falling for Taruif, the shunned forester who was forbidden to have contact with anyone but the guide. Ianys was nothing more than emotional backstory. That idea lasted right up to the scene where Ianys came to speak to Kelnaht on Taruif’s behalf, and Kelnaht found out Ianys had been sleeping with Taruif. And the idea for a triad was born.
Of course, that didn’t change the fact that Ianys had cheated on Kelnaht.
Cheating is no one’s favourite subject, and not one I ever thought I’d write about. Though I don’t shirk the subject as a reader, I often find it hard to feel sympathetic towards a cheating character. Yet Ianys needed to be at least likeable, to stop him coming across as the bastard I had in mind before the story changed on me. Which wasn’t an easy feat, considering the whole trilogy is written in Kelnaht’s POV, meaning Ianys’ motivations and thoughts would be shown through Kelnaht-coloured glasses.
Now, as the author, I will always be biased, so my opinion doesn’t matter. The bottom line to having his storyline work is whether readers can come to like Ianys. They may be influenced by my fondness for him, since that definitely colours how I wrote him, by reviews or even Kelnaht’s feelings. But at its most basic, the romance lives or dies by whether readers follow Ianys through the book and decide they can forgive him, or not.
This, for me, meant an abundant amount of freedom and pressure at the same time. We’re often told we can’t please everyone, and with a romantic interest character who cheats that’s even more true. That doesn’t mean we won’t do our damndest to try. So… I tried.
As it turns out, trying translated itself into overcoming more than one stumbling block for Ianys.
1) Let’s start with the most basic fact: Ianys cheated on Kelnaht.
He started seeing Naia behind Kelnaht’s back and didn’t tell him about it.
When he tries to apologise to Kelnaht, he says, “You said you didn’t mind not having children. I couldn’t seem to make you see how much I did want them. And you don’t like females that way.“
Though I wanted to make sure that Ianys would be honest to himself about what he’d done, this story is still in Kelnaht’s POV, so all we’re seeing is these flimsy excuses that both he and Kelnaht know are not the reasons Ianys cheated.
Which is why Kelnaht counters with, “I wouldn’t have minded you finding a mate to have children with. I wouldn’t have had to sleep with her. We could have made it work.“
And Ianys admits, “I know, and I’m sorry.“
This child wish of Ianys does pose a painful dilemma when Naia becomes pregnant.
2) Ianys chose his unborn child over his love for Kelnaht.
This is what he tells Kelnaht about it: “Please believe me, Kel. I tried to convince Naia we could form a triad, but she couldn’t stand to share me with you.” Ianys swallowed and shook his head. “She threatened to leave and take our unborn child with her. I couldn’t lose them, Kel. I love them as much as I loved you. I wanted for us all to be together, but I couldn’t give up my child to be with you.“
It was always my intention for Ianys to love both Naia and Kelnaht (and Taruif, for that matter) in equal measure. Ianys has a generous heart with plenty of room for more than one love of his life. Naia not willing to share him with Kelnaht was already a difficult stumbling block for Ianys, but it was still his choice to make. Having Naia fall pregnant called to Ianys’ sense of responsibility, and when Naia gave him an ultimatum, there was only once choice Ianys felt he could make, whether it was his preferred choice or not.
3) Last but not least is the fact that Ianys is now sleeping with Taruif.
This is considered a crime, since Taruif is shunned and forbidden any contact with members of the tribe, except to talk to the guide.
After everything that Ianys told Kelnaht about the promise he made Naia, Kelnaht can’t help but feel slighted. And he asks, “So what makes him worth the risk?“
And Ianys wonders, “Is that what you think? That he’s worth more than you?“
“What am I supposed to think? You left me and avoided me because of a promise to your vowed, but you’re risking your daughter to fuck around with the forester.” I had no doubt he could hear the jealousy in my voice.
Ianys rested his forehead against mine. “Oh, Kel. It isn’t like that. We were never supposed to be more than a casual fuck, but”
But Kelnaht doesn’t want to hear more, because of his own forbidden feelings for Taruif.
There you have it, the stumbling blocks I threw at Ianys when all I wanted was to show Ianys as more than a cheater. I didn’t change that basic fact, but tried to show the pressures that drove him, and the open heart he has, that manifests in ways that hurt Kelnaht.
He’s a character with a slider that seems to flip between love him and hate him, depending on the time of day, and which stumbling block he’s currently trying to tackle. I ended up loving him as much as I love Kelnaht and Taruif. (and the guide, I think the guide will always be my most loved character in this trilogy).
But, like I mentioned above. I’m biased. My opinion doesn’t matter.
Yours does. So, Ianys, do you love him? Or do you hate him?
Could you forgive him?
* All quotes are from Chapter Five of The Forester: Forester Triad Act One.
Author: Blaine D. Arden
Release: August 15 2016
Full Circle (Act #3)
“I have great responsibilities, but my path ahead is as foggy and blurred as the path behind me.”
With forester Taruif freed, Kelnaht has claimed him openly at Solstice before tribe and Ma’terra as his partner, but with their third, Ianys, bound by an old promise, their triad is still incomplete. Sneaking around puts the most strain on Ianys. He and Kelnaht must keep their relationship a secret or he will lose his daughter, Atèn.
When several children fall ill with more than a summer bug, truth seeker Kelnaht is assigned once more to investigate. What he finds is deadly and threatens the life of every underage child in the tribe, including Atèn. Then a wounded traveller is found in the forest, left to die after a vicious attack.
With Taruif and his apprentice on the hunt for a cure, Kelnaht focusses on the attacks, but the clues are few and more children are infected. Nothing seems to connect until both the traveller and Atèn dream of the same grey-haired elf. Driven by fear for his daughter, Ianys pulls away from his lovers. Kelnaht can only pray Ma’terra will guide him to a solution that brings them all together and keeps Atèn safe from harm.
A Triad In Three Acts (The Complete Trilogy)
“Your Path is muddy, Kelnaht, but don’t think avoiding the puddles will make it easier to travel.”
Kelnaht, a cloud elf, is a truth seeker caught between love and faith, when a murder reveals an illicit affair between two tree elves he desires more than he can admit. Kelnaht’s former lover Ianys once betrayed him, and the shunned forester Taruif is not allowed to talk to anyone but the guide, their spiritual pathfinder.
The guide mentioned puddles, but I envisioned lakes, deep treacherous lakes, and I was drowning.
Then a stripling goes missing from the tribe, and heavy rainfall hides all traces of his whereabouts. With days creeping by without a lead, it’s hard to keep the tribe’s spirits up, more so when Kelnaht’s own future depends on the elders. Taruif has been shunned for almost twenty turns, but now that a possible forester’s apprentice is coming of age, the elders consider reducing his sentence. Taruif could be set free.
“I have great responsibilities, but my path ahead is as foggy and blurred as the path behind me.”
Later, when several children fall ill with more than a summer bug, truth seeker Kelnaht is assigned to investigate. What he finds is deadly and threatens the life of every underage child in the tribe, including Ianys’ daughter Atèn. Then a wounded traveller is found in the forest, left to die after a vicious attack.
“There is always a way.”
Kelnaht, Taruif, and Ianys are meant to be together, but old promises and the decree of the elders prevent them from claiming each other openly at Solstice. Kelnaht can investigate murder and foul play, but he can’t see how he can keep both his lovers without breaking the rules. But if he believes in the guide’s words and trusts his faith in Ma’terra, they will find a way to clear the fog and puddles from their paths.
Blaine D. Arden is a purple-haired, forty-something author of queer romance mixed with fantasy, mystery, and magic who sings her way through life in platform boots.
Born and raised in Zutphen, the Netherlands, Blaine spent many hours of her sheltered youth reading, day dreaming, making up stories and acting them out with her Barbies. After seeing the film “An Early Frost” as a teen in the mid-eighties, an idealistic Blaine wanted to do away with the negativity surrounding homosexuality and strove to show the world how beautiful love between men could be. Our difference is our strength, is Blaine’s motto, and her stories are often set in worlds where gender fluidity and sexual diversity are accepted as is.
When not writing or reading, Blaine has singing lessons and hopes to be in a band someday. Supporting Blaine in pursuing her dreams and all matters regarding household, sons, and cairn terrier, is her long-suffering husband for over twenty years.
Blaine is an EPIC Award winning author and has been published by Storm Moon Press, Less Than Three Press, and Wilde City Press. Her scifi romance “Aliens, Smith and Jones” received an Honourable Mention in the Best Gay Sci-Fi/Fantasy category of the Rainbow Awards 2012.
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