There is a popular character in genre fiction usually called the best friend/helper/guide. This person’s role is to prompt the main character into some kind of action, to reveal information to the reader, and to fill in the gaps. This character is present in video games, as well, and provides helpful hints and mission objectives.
But this person doesn’t always have to be a human being. In my current WIP (work in progress) it’s a scarecrow. But in the Syn-En series, I couldn’t very well bring another bestie from the 21st century, so I settled on the time honored tradition and familiar friend: the dog.
Okay, dog-like, as Iggy would be quick to point out she could eat dogs for breakfast. Literally:D.
Iggy really set the tone for the species: by naming her after a kind of lizard (Iguana), I called up the images of a fast moving creature with underestimated resiliency. It also lent itself to the belief the Amarooks could camouflage themselves. But more important was the idea of dog-like creatures as loyal and trustworthy, and as pack animals lethal in their willingness to protect their own.
Better than a best friend. (Iggy is nodding)
Yet this wasn’t enough. There needed to be a level communication between the bestie/beastie and the hero. All the better, if it subverted technology to do it. So I settled on emotion. It’s elemental and contagious and dangerous territory for the Syn-En.
Now to answer a few questions people have asked:
I gave them six limbs because I needed the reader to see that advanced species could have more than 4 limbs so the introduction of Scraptors would be easier to accept without question. (Until the reveal in Ghost World)
I made the Amarooks companion animals because let’s face it, we believe how a person treats animals and how animals respond to people is a reflection of the person. As for those who don’t have pets… Well, that’s suspicious until proven otherwise.
I also liked the idea that the Amarooks picked their companion, not the other way around. That beings had to prove themselves to their ‘pets’. (Iggy just bit me for calling her a ‘pet’).
Time for a confession. Near the end of the last book, probably 3 chapters from the end, Iggy reveals why the Amarooks bond with another species at all. Usually revealing a tidbit so near the end is forbidden, but it was the only place it fit and someone asked, so there you have it.
Any other questions? Leave a comment, and I’ll answer.
If you haven’t already picked up your copy of Home World, it will be on sale for 99cents until Tuesday (8/22/17). Then I’ll be raising the price to $3.99.