This question is from need2read:
Why did you choose to write the part when Una was turned into a dragon? What are your thoughts about it?
Yet another excellent question!
While the original draft of Heartless was one I wrote up over the course of a summer/autumn, the ideas for it had been brewing since the year before. Specifically, the idea of Una becoming a dragon.
I was going through some difficult times myself that previous summer and spending a great deal of time bemoaning my sorry state. I didn’t deserve this or that, it wasn’t fair, these things shouldn't happen, etc. And, granted, there were some pretty harsh and “unfair” things happening, people not honoring their word, whole plans for my future coming derailed . . . some important bumps on the road of life that I needed to experience in order to grow.
Problem was, I spent so much of my time being angry at other people, I wasn’t taking the time to notice what my self-pity and anger were doing to me. In a moment of epiphany (that didn’t last; I was back to self-pity for a good long time even afterwards), I realized that I had allowed my self-centered concept of my own “rights” to turn me into a bitter, angry, selfish person, unable to look up and see other people around me.
I was spending all my time bemoaning the lack of chivalrous knights left in our world, willing to fight dragons and stand up for good . . . I was blind to the fact that I myself had become the dragon.
This was the analogy I used in a journal entry to try to wrap my mind around the concept of sin and depravity. I was, to all outward appearances, a “good” girl. Church-going, Sunday school-teaching, pure and upright . . . and yet, my own selfishness and pride had reduced me to the most self-centered creature on the inside. All well hidden under masks of sweetness, of course. The dragon does not always show her scales. But that did not mean the dragon was not there.
A year later, I started playing around with a short fairy tale depicting a sweet but selfish princess who, through a series of frustrations and hurts, allows her selfishness to consume to the point that the evil Dragon is able to turn her into one of his own kind. That expanded into the much more complicated novel that is Heartless.
It’s interesting to note that it is Una, and not an “evil” character like the Duke of Shippening—or even Lionheart, for that matter!—who becomes the dragon. This was an important message, I felt. It’s easy for us to say, “Well, maybe I have some problems, but I’m nowhere near as bad as THAT person!”
But this is not true. Sin is not weighed on a scale of bad, worse, worst. In God’s eyes, all sin is the same. In fact, when Jesus walked the earth as a mortal man, it wasn’t the overt “sinners” that he chastised . . . it was the religious “good” men, the whitewashed sepulchers, those who believed themselves pure and holy and above other men.
So it was that my heroine, while not being overtly evil, is the one the Dragon sees the potential fire in. He doesn’t even consider the Duke of Shippening. He considers Lionheart in passing, but dismisses that idea very quickly. But in Una—selfish, naïve, immature little Una—he sees everything necessary to make a dreadful dragon.
I hope that answers your question, need2read! I am getting such great questions from my readers! Seriously, people, thank you for contributing. I love being able to flesh out aspects of my story for you, and these questions are leading down so many different paths that I would probably have never bothered to pursue on my own.