The Journey of the Fool that became Rishi’s Wish
The question of inspiration, of where our stories rise up from and the process in which they get written, is common. For the answer to my inspiration for writing Rishi’s Wish, keep reading.
Always a Reader
There was never a time I wasn’t a voracious reader. Back to Kindergarten, I remember trying to get through every book that came across my path. I was still in grade school when I first read Frank Herbert’s Dune, and middle school when I delved into Jean Auel’s The Clan of the Cave Bear series. It wasn’t until I read Christopher Pike’s The Last Vampire series (rebranded as Thirst) that I was compelled to write my own story. Really, it was my disappointment that Sita’s story ended and my ignorance of any similar characters that prodded me to write to fill that gap.
Desiree “Dee” Galen, my main character in Rishi’s Wish (originally titled The Fool’s Path), was born a vampire-hybrid. My first hand-scratched pages brought to life a character similar to Marvel’s Blade. In fact, it was when I discovered the existence of Blade that I first abandoned this project, disappointed that someone else had already come up with the clever spin on a vampire story (how DARE they!). Years went by before I got back into the spirit of writing.
Desiree wanted a life. She wouldn’t be shelved. So, I picked up those pages, dusted them off, crossed out much of it, and morphed the story into something that wasn’t a rip-off of an already loved character.
While vampires remained the main theme in this second go of Desiree’s story, it was soon laid to rest as well. Writing is hard, and without those bright bursts of motivation, I soon fell away from the pages for long stretches of time.
Much of the structure of where I wanted Dee’s journey to take her remained when I came back years later. “Vampires” show a cameo in the finished edition of book 1 but are nothing more than a tertiary showing of something greater. In Rishi’s Wish, I rewrote the paranormal into something non-mystical and brought to life beings far older than any vampire might be.
No More Vampires, Please
I think a lot of this decision to take it away from traditional vampires completely was because by the time I got around to completing this story, vampires were a household treat. Twilight had long reached its height, and paranormal romance and YA were climbing the ranks. I didn’t want to add to that pile (oh that I had, and maybe made some money 😉 )
So, I dug up another idea that had been stewing, melding together my original character with another Fantastical-Supernatural world.
Another major change was that Desiree went from being that character who is strong and perfect and always finds their way to one whose a bit spazzy and has no idea what’s she doing. The potential is in her to be great, but also the possibility of great destruction. If she were to decide to fight for herself, she could rule her world, but she’s not sure what to do, how to do it, and if she even wants to bother.
Mostly, I wanted to tell the story of a someone who just really never thought about any of it. Never considered why she did anything. Never thought about questioning what she was told to do. Never considered her decisions and actions would lead to anything. Never thought about a grander design or even a smaller one that reflected her day-to-day. What would happen if they had great power but didn’t know how to use it? If nothing made sense and finding answers meant having to play by rules you didn’t like? What if they weren’t a person naturally curious, or adventurous, or have passion for anything, let alone some specific task towards some great end?
Sure, as with most stories, none of these concepts are unique or unknown, but from my background, and the time I first started this story, heroes were heroic. I wanted an MC who was not quite a hero, but neither anti-hero. I wanted someone who, literally, was falling through their predicament (the original title of book one was Stumbling).
More on Stumbling’s Structure
One point I can’t remember was when I decided to pull Deisree’s path through the Zodiac. However that came about, it’s where the current version got its part structure (Rishi’s Wish is a twelve-part story told over 5 books).
Each of the Rishi’s (plus Hamal) is designed as a very loose representation of the twelve western zodiac signs. Dee’s travels through their homes and compounds each teach her something specific towards her personal growth–sometimes pushing her away from her best self. I even brought in the mostly-forgotten 13th sign to stir the pot. By the end of Born to Die (book 4), she’s finally starting to push herself on the world instead of letting life happen to her. Will that make her the villain after all she’s been through? Let’s see…