As many of you may know, many of my main characters share a birthday with one of my best friends, Valerie. I can’t remember exactly when it started or why (other than the fact that I think Valerie is super neat), but it’s something that I’ve started to incorporate in all my books. Like how basketball players sometimes have special socks they wear, or they have rituals they do before each game.
With most of my books, I’ve tried to use a floating timeline – meaning it’s always present day, regardless of when the book was written. So even though today is Harper’s birthday, she hasn’t really aged, because I haven’t grounded her with a birth year.
I started out trying to use that same approach with the Kanin Chronicles, but eventually I realized that since past events effect so much of the present day, and there’s discussions about previous royalty and history that, I felt like I had to ground it in a timeline. In doing so, I had to ground the history of the Trylle in a timeline too.
For perspective, the Trylle series takes place between October 2009-January 2010. (These dates aren’t specifically mentioned in the Trylle series, but the beginning of Frostfire does set the date of the end of Ascend in that time). The Kanin Chronicles, meanwhile, takes place in 2014, aside from the prologue in Frostfire.
That means that unlike many other of my characters, Wendy and Bryn have actual birth dates, with years. Wendy was born January 9, 1992, and Bryn was born January 9, 1995.
Another thing that separates the Kanin Chronicles from some of my other series is that the characters are a bit older. The three main female leads – Bryn Aven, Tilda Moller, and Ember Holmes – are all relatively young. Bryn is nineteen,Tilda is twenty (though I don’t if ever specifically mention her age in the book – I think she’s simply alluded to as being roughly the same age/grade as Bryn), and Ember is sixteen turning seventeen at the outset of Frostfire.
It’s more the supporting cast that’s a bit older than normal, particularly the Kanin King and Queen, Bryn’s love interest Ridley Dresden (27), and her nemesis Konstantin Black (29). The reason I decided to make them a bit older is two-fold.
One, I thought they’re characters needed to be older to have accomplished the things that they have. It wouldn’t be unrealistic for Ridley to be in charge of all the trackers at the age of twenty, or Konstantin to have risen up the ranks of the guard as a teenager. I also thought that given Bryn’s age, experience, and maturity, it would be reasonable and acceptable for her to be attracted to someone several years older than her.
Two, I wanted the book to be a bit more mature than the Trylle series. Not exactly New Adult, but more like a bridge between Young Adult and New Adult (which I know is really splitting hairs at this point). And even though Ridley is a bit older, I still think he’s definitely a young adult – he’s still figuring who he is and what he wants out of life. In fact, even though Bryn is younger than him, she has a better grasp on both those concepts (or at least she thinks she does at the beginning of the series.)
Ultimately, I think the main characters in the Kanin series are figuring out who they are, what matters the most to the them, and what right and wrong mean to them – and how far they’ll go to make things right. And I think that despite their various ages, these are things that most young adults are struggling with (and many older adults too).
The great things about these concepts is that they’re so fluid – who Bryn thinks she is and what matters and even what she thinks right and wrong are on page one of the first book is going to be so much different than what she thinks on the final page of the series.
But that’s all part of growing up. So with that, I want to wish Valerie and Bryn a very happy birthday. 🙂