Seeking Character Diversity
In the first book of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy, Gaia’s Majesty: Mission Called, our lead character, Chantia, refers to being among the fishies. Her use of the term reflects her ambivalence about the new life she has been thrust into in the world of the Tethyans.
Of course she has derived benefits such as finding the birth mother she didn’t know she had and the love of her life, Beck. But it is a complex world and she finds special appreciation of the man Reuben who helps guide her through the revelations and turmoil.
The Richness of Reuben
The world views Reuben as an extremely talented couture designer who works in Milan, Italy. While he is, indeed, talented and world renowned, he also is deeply embedded in the causes of the Tethyan people. And that means he offers special guidance and support for Chantia and Beck. It is he who designs their wedding and her wedding gown.
Where did this character come from and why was he brought into the story?
While at the beginning there was an outline of this series and it began with a lot of detail, the story had a way of developing itself. Things had to be explained, they had to have reasons for inclusion but some characters showed up insisting on inclusion.
From an author’s standpoint it seemed desirable to have diversity so long as the diversity enhanced the richness and meaning of the story.
In the world of this story Reuben had his origins in Project Runway on the Lifetime network. Tim Gunn from the series was the inspiration. In fact, that is him in the picture at the top of this post. He is with Heidi Klum who is also prominent in the series. I suspect she is secretly one of the Tethyans. In the series Tim is a man of impeccable élan and manner. He is ever so talented and supportive of the contestants. The man he is seemed perfect for the book and he would help guide Chantia just as he helps guide and support the contestants on the show.
The one problem is that I am pleased to have the character but I could not do justice to the man who inspired the character Reuben. Nonetheless I wanted his inspiration in the book and I feel he offers diversity to the setting and the people.
One Other Note
Another thing that Reuben brings to the story is that he is gay and has a husband in Milan. There had to be diversity in this series. The core Tethyans are mermaids who live in the sea. They can morph and come to land to form families but they also bond and have children in the cities in the sea. These women can reproduce diversely. Some birth children from heterosexual unions, they also have the capacity to form a union of eggs from other women or can clone themselves. These facets of the story symbolize the underlying diversity of the world of humankind. Too often we are sheltered and deny the diversity of possibility. This author felt the need to open the full possibility of this fantasy world along with underlying realities. And Reuben added to the diversity and wonder of this world. Especially because the inspiration for his character enriches our world as it is.