One of the problems with writing a romance is that readers expect a happy ever after or at least a happy for now ending to the book. Once you've done a HFN, you might be able to do another book for the same two characters, ending in a HEA. But once you have a HEA, that's it. The story is finished. That's why there are so many series which give room for multiple romances with different characters, such as mail-order brides, dating agencies, mates for warriors, and so on.
I hit that HEA wall with Morgan Selwood after I finished Morgan's Return. How to keep that setting alive and tell more stories?
I settled on a series of books starring a group of strong, independent women who didn't quite fit into their strict, stratified society. I'd already hinted at that in Morgan's Return, where Jirra has an illicit affair with another, married, officer who is not of her class. That gave me a start.
Let me explain. In Manesai society there are four classes:
- Mirka - These people are the leaders. Military command officers, presidents and senior politicians will be found in their ranks, as well as police.
- Vesha - Vesha form the business class. Merchants, traders, layers, accountants, and the like. Some of them are very wealthy.
- Hasta - These are the technical people. Engineers, technicians, chemists, scientists, doctors.
- Shuba - The working class. Laborers, foot soldiers, farmers.
Genetic engineering has made it impossible for people from the four classes to create offspring with a member of another class. Manesai culture is heavily based on the Indian caste system. But even if it wasn’t, point a finger at any part of the world and you’ll find classes, castes, restrictions on marriage and the like. The daughters of merchants would marry the sons of other merchants. Princes married princesses. Common serving men didn’t bother lusting after the daughter of the house. Although, in male dominated societies, men in authority thought nothing of having a bit on the side with the serving wench. Marriages were (and still are) very often arranged by the families. And folks, this is still, by and large, true. I have simply taken one small step further in my science fiction and had idealistic genetic scientists make matches between classes childless. A place for everyone and everyone in their place. That’s sure to make for a peaceful society. </sarcasm>
Since humans are essentially tribal and we love to belong to groups, each class has developed sub-classes. Shuba are the foot soldiers, but one group was deliberately modified to make them bigger, stronger, more fearless than the rest. They are the Fleet's elite troopers who also fill civilian roles as security police and body guards. Admiral Ravindra is a member of the Darya sub-class within the Mirka. It is an elite group which produces most Manesai admirals. And the children of admirals (of course) tend to marry the children of admirals.
My three Morgan's Misfits are Jirra, who is a Hasta ex-Fleet engineer, Chet, who is Mirka and was a detective, and Toreni, who was an elite Shuba trooper.
- The trouble is, Jirra is in love with a Mirka (and married) Fleet officer.
- Chet lost her job as a detective and her lover through the same engineered incident.
wants to be a chef, not a soldier.
The three ladies come together in the first of three books - KURALON RESCUE. Jirra is on the run. Her parents have hired an assassin to kill her after she refused to marry the man they had chosen for her. As she's packing up to leave, her friend, Siena, begs to come along. Jirra reluctantly agrees.
In this scene, Jirra and Siena are in a space ship, having escaped the bounty hunter by the skin of their teeth. Siena discloses to Jirra why she wanted to leave her home.
Siena gulped down a large mouthful of wine before she spoke again. "Jirra, come with me, please." She was begging, her eyes pleading. "I'm no soldier. You've just shown me I don't know it all. I'll admit, I was hoping you'd come. You'd understand, surely. I love Anton. I want to marry him and have children. He's going to die in that awful place. Please?"
Tears glistened in Siena's eyes. Jirra felt her pain, so much the same as her own, a black hole of hopelessness. What would she, Jirra, do in the same situation, if it was Prasad in some hell hole? "Doesn't he have family?" she asked at last.
"There's nothing they can do. They'd be under surveillance. That's if they're still alive." Bitterness colored her words.
"Siena, that bounty hunter –"
"Will follow you wherever you go. But now the trail's muddied, yes? He won't even know you're going to Crossmar, let alone Kuralon. And if I have to find another ship or another pilot, they wouldn't know me, they probably wouldn't help me."
With her elbow on the table, Jirra rested her chin on her fist. Her heart said do it, but her brain pleaded for sanity. She'd be walking into an unknown situation without a real plan. Suicidal came to mind. Then again, what did she really have to live for? She couldn't have Prasad and she didn't want anybody else. She didn't believe in gods and religion, but she did believe that sometimes serendipity showed up and shoved you in an unexpected direction. It had happened to her when she'd accepted the chance to learn from an alien. Her few friends had distanced themselves, but she'd ended up on the trip of a lifetime, a historic trip across the galaxy to search for the Manesai's ancestral home. The little voice in her mind sang its siren song. Follow your heart. You never know where that might lead you. Her decision must have been transmitted in her facial expression because Siena smiled before Jirra said a word.
Laughing, Siena leaped up from the table, ran around to where Jirra sat, pulled her out of her seat and hugged her so tightly she gasped. "Thank you, thank you, thank you."***
You can find out more about Kuralon Rescue here
The backstory is so interesting! Thank you for sharing! (Love your books, btw!).ReplyDelete
Love the premise of the books.ReplyDelete
And this..."That’s sure to make for a peaceful society. "
LOL Well, I'm sure that was the plan, but...