In preparing for a novel the first thing I do is write short biographies for the main characters in the book. As I’ve blogged quite a bit about book 2 and how fast I am writing it I thought I would share the bio that started the whole idea off. Allow me to introduce the heroine, Kaihaitu:
Height: 5 foot 5 inches
Hair: Dark brown, shoulder length
Skin: Creamy, mid brown
Clothes: Hides, loose but reasonably covering. Bare feet.
Background: Kai grew up in her father’s village. Her Father was the village leader and she has grown up knowing that she will one day lead the village herself. Her mother was a housewife who looked after Kai and her younger brother.
From a very early age Kai was trained by her father to be both a good hunter and a good leader. As such Kai doesn’t really have any friends. She is usually too busy working to socialise. Her main companions are the two monkeys, Hehu and Matiu, that her father traded for and gave to her as a coming of age present when she was fifteen years old.
When Kai was very young a redcoat ship turned up and not long after that they built a fort near the village. At first the relationship between Kai’s village and the redcoats was amicable and many trades were struck. Kai was even encouraged to learn English by her father.
Over time the redcoats slowly encroached on the village’s land and the relationship deteriorated. When Kai was approximately twenty she, along with several of the other young villagers, raided the red coat fort. The following day the village is celebrating their ‘victory’ over the red coats when they retaliate and storm the village in far greater numbers than the villagers have ever seen of them.
As an example to the rest of the village, the red coats take back their food stocks and more and destroy things important to everyday village life. Her father then dies from an illness and lack of food and Kai is left to lead the village and to try and get them through the winter coming with very little food.
Kai blames herself for her fathers death and the subsequent villagers deaths the following winter, but does not tell anyone it was her idea to raid the fort. Instead Kai uses her guilt to fuel her leadership of the village and she dedicates herself to getting the village back on level ground and an unstable truce is formed with the redcoats again.
Her mother and most of the villagers wish for Kai to marry a guy called Henare and although he is a very eligible bachelor and encouraging towards Kai, she is just very uninterested in marriage, let alone Henare.
Personality: Kai is a very quiet, reserved person. She feels the weight of her responsibilities and has from a very early age. Kai doesn’t have many friends and does not find it easy to socialise with other people. Although she is very adept at dealing with the villages social problems any other form of communication with people is very difficult for Kai.
With the higher responsibilities Kai has faced she is much more mature than other people her own age and very calm and considered in her approach to solving problems. She always appears very relaxed even when on the inside she is not.
The only time Kai lets herself be more vulnerable is when she is alone with her two monkeys. She will occasionally play with them and be light hearted, but only when she is sure no one else is around. This has been rare the last year or so for two reasons, firstly the death of her father and the constant danger to her village, has made her more serious and secondly Henare often pops up randomly to talk to her, and the only warning she gets is Hehu and Matiu running off.
Hehu and Matiu running from Henare fuels her choice to push him away from her, though she knows she is being mean in doing so. Kai trusts their judgement and for this reason alone would never marry Henare even if she thought he was a good match for her.
Though Kai is not unhappy with her life in the village she can’t really be said to be happy either. She is very much a realist and knows that she has a tough time ahead of her to get the village through. The villages safety is more important to her than her own happiness.
Kai is also a well trained hunter and fighter though she has a good respect for life and would only kill in self defence or necessity for food etc. She is rarely seen without her bow and arrow and always has a couple of hunting knives about her person somewhere.