Friday, August 19, 2011

Question #6

And another question from Elena, who asks:

Will Una ever be brought up again in your other books? Although you mentioned in your previous post that a lot of your fans disliked Una, I actually found her character to be very real. I liked that she was selfish, and I liked that she was naive. It made her seem much more human. (If there was a character that I had to dislike, though, it would be Daylily - she seemed too perfect for reality.) I know that your third book will mainly be about Lionheart and Rose Red, but I'd really love to read more about Aethelbald and Una... :)

So pleased to know that you enjoyed my vain little heroine! I enjoyed writing her, and I am always sad when people react so violently against her. She is not intended to be a role-model, of course. Her selfishness and naiveté lead to her downfall, and only humiliation and forgiveness will possibly raise her up again. Definitely not a character to respect, but I feel she is very real and needs a little love and understanding. She has a hard time of it, poor darling, and it always saddens me a little when people dislike her.

That being said, I probably won’t write another story with Una as the main character. She will certainly be brought up again! You saw her briefly in Veiled Rose, of course, and you will see her briefly in Moonblood as well. I have tentative plans of her possibly making an appearance or two in later books . . . but not as the primary protagonist.

This is mostly because I feel her story is told out. Of all my characters, Una’s tale was the simplest. She is a princess, she wants to marry a prince. She causes herself a whole world of trouble, learns what true love is, and comes to a place of healing. Pretty straightforward and definitely wrapped up in the end. That’s not to say that she won’t continue growing in knowledge of the truth for the rest of her life . . . but I somehow doubt as the chosen bride of the Prince of Farthestshore that many terrible things are going to assail her anymore.

Meanwhile, there are so many other brave and broken characters itching to have their stories told. We have already seen Prince Lionheart’s story embellished in a much more complicated tale than we would have guessed from Heartless . . . and that story is not yet resolved! Rose Red has a complicated back story of which she is hardly aware yet. And this is not to mention all the brave Knights of Farthestshore, Eanrin and Imraldera, Oeric and Beana, Imoo and Rogan and so many more interesting characters! And let’s not forget some of the other folks we’ve met during our travels through this world: Emperor Klahan and Captain Sunan, to name a few. The strange sylph who is still in Lionheart’s debt, etc.

Even picture-perfect Daylily may prove to have a story in time. I agree, she is much too perfect for reality . . . and I think she knows it. And I think she is desperately afraid of that coming time when all her own veils of strength and perfection will drop, revealing the imperfect and insecure girl hiding underneath. We see hints of that happening already in her final scene with Lionheart in Veiled Rose. Daylily has achieved her dream-come-true, and it has made her miserable. I can’t imagine things are going to improve vastly for Daylily in the near future.

But if growth is possibly for a selfish little princess like Una, I would imagine it’s possible for the ice-queen Lady Daylily of Middlecrescent. We’ll have to see if she is willing or not . . .

I hope that you will find yourself bonding to each of the new characters I select for lead roles in my stories. The overall reader response has been to prefer Rose Red to Una. I don’t know if I actually prefer her myself . . . they are two vastly different young women. I love them both and have had a great time telling both of their stories. I love all my characters, in fact, and can hardly wait to share more of them with you in Moonblood, Starflower, and beyond!

Oh, no worries about Prince Aethelbald. You will continue to see him throughout the series, though he will sometimes be going by other names!


Paris said...

I thought Una was a wonderful, realistic character and I enjoyed reading Heartless :)

Angie said...

I am surprised to learn that a lot of people didn't care for Una. I didn't always like her behavior but overall I liked her. Now maybe I'm reading more into this but to me it was like her character represented our own sinful nature and how we turn our backs on God to pursue what we think we need.

I'm currently reading Veiled Rose and I have to say I'm really interested in learning about Beana's story.

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

Angie, you hit the nail right on the head! That's exactly what Una is supposed to represent. While she is written as a specific individual, she is also a representation of all mankind. I'm going to write up a post on that later! :)

Beana has, I think, a great backstory. She is one of my favorite characters! I hope to be able to write that novel and share it with you all one day. :)

Angie said...

I'll look forward to reading that post...I really like how there is more to your stories than meets the eye. :)

Anonymous said...

When I read Heartless, I saw not only the symblism of her character, the sin, selfishness, etc but that she was true to her character as a princess left to her own mischief growing up...without a maternal influence save for the nurse and the type of relationship she had with her father. I think sometimes as readers we have in our minds eye how we want the protagonist to be because we want to become the protagonist and experience the adventure with them. Perhaps some people didnot like Una because they either didn't want to see themselves as her or they saw themselves in her...I know I saw myself in her. As a mother of a 2 year old and an 8 month old, I've seen how selfish I am and I can relate to the struggle to rise above it. Perhaps that is why her story spoke to me. And instead of hating her which denies the reality of who we are, I embraced her, I embraced the pain because that is when true growth happens and we become better people. Anyways, loved the book and I look forward to reading Veiled Rose.



Amber Holcomb said...


I'm hoping to dive into Heartless this next week, if possible, so I'm kind of avoiding reading some of these posts while I have yet to read the book. ;) I'm looking forward to reading your book!

I just wanted to let you know that I have an award for you here:

No pressure to pass it on or anything - I just wanted to show my appreciation for your blog and spread the word about it! :)


Christinanthemum said...

I'm also surprised people didn't like Una. She was so realistic, and in a way really resembles how a lot of people are and how they think. It's like we already have our life planned out and don't want to take into consideration what God has in store (which causes a bug mess usually).

I personally love all your main characters so far (though my hubby had trouble liking Lionheart in the first one and when he realized it was the same person in Veiled Rose... But to me it just makes even more sense now.)

Anonymous said...

I'm also suprised alot of people didn't like Una. For me, she wasn't just a symbol of Christ's Bride, a sterotypical princess. She was very much a regular teenage girl, not wanting to sit around and do her studies or embroidery, thinking about who she'll marry someday. She was a very real person to me, not just a symbol.
I liked Rose Red for her pluckiness, for telling the Dragon, "I ain't ever going to kiss you." [By the way, I love the accent. =)] I liked how she has heart to willingly serve, which reminds me of another character I dearly love: Hadassah, from the Mark of the Lion triology. (If some of you haven't heard of it, go read it! It's amazing!)