Thursday, May 31, 2012

Finding Redeeming Qualities in a Hero

Finding Redeeming Qualities in a Hero

Heroes and heroines come in many shapes and forms. Traditionally you might expect them to be physically and emotionally strong, leaders of armies in battle or political leaders that really do care about the welfare of the people they govern. They can be musicians that capture the imaginations of a generation or scientists whose groundbreaking work has benefited millions. For all these qualities though, the truth is that no one is perfect. We all have our flaws but heroes transcend the average person and have something special about them that overshadow their weaknesses.
My novels are set in the world of Elenchera and, like our world, there are all manner of characters of different social standings and perspectives. Monarchs rule the kingdoms, while councils govern the republics but beneath their pristine residences are the ordinary inhabitants of the towns, cities and villages and it is here where I will often search for the heroes of my novels. There are few, if any, characters in Elenchera that do not have weaknesses or issues that they try to overcome. Some don’t succeed but others face up to every challenge and emerge stronger for it. They are the heroes and heroines whose stories I look to share.
I personally believe that heroes have strength of character whether they believe it or not. It’s not always about being physically strong that defines a hero. In Fezariu’s Epiphany my protagonist, Fezariu, is physically strong, being an exemplary warrior in the Merelax Mercenaries but he is an emotional maelstrom, one whose waters began to churn way back in his childhood. Fezariu deals with the scars of an upbringing that was defined by the abandonment of his mother and the murder of his stepfather. While Fezariu leads bands of mercenaries into battle in burning cities we see aspects of a hero in him, but my main focus is the emotional turmoil that is tearing him apart inside. These feelings are Fezariu’s weaknesses and as the novel progresses he has to find the strength to face up to that difficult childhood. Fezariu can’t do it alone. Though he is taciturn and withdrawn, he still makes a trio of friends in the mercenaries, ones that help him to feel purpose and worth about himself, to capture those qualities that are quintessential to being a hero.
In my second novel, A World Apart, the two central characters are childhood friends, Demetrius and Eleyna, who fall in love in their teens but due to a series of misunderstandings, Eleyna marries their mutual friend Halcyon instead. Like Fezariu, Demetrius turns his back on the past and fulfils a family tradition in joining the army. Demetrius never forgets Eleyna but he is too physically and emotionally strong to face the future with anything other than confidence.
Eleyna begins the story as a somewhat weak character, physically inferior to the two boys she grows up with, but as a woman Eleyna learns to stand tall and fight her corner. Hers is an admirable journey of survival but her strengths, although heroic, ultimately become overcome by her weaknesses, which lead her down a path of violence and hatred. The characters in A World Apart are more challenging to the reader than those in Fezariu’s Epiphany in that they are not as likable. Any redeeming qualities they have are superseded by selfish natures. Demetrius sees a place in the army as the be all and end all of life, even more than devotion to friends and family. The stronger Eleyna becomes the more she focuses purely on her own survival and, like Demetrius, it’s to the detriment of others.
I like to emphasise the flaws in characters and their weaknesses when it comes to my writing. At the same time I want the readers to connect with the characters. If they fall, I want the readers to will them to pick themselves up again. If they overcome adversity by drawing on hidden strengths then I hope the reader will be cheering and feel uplifted. Most of all I want my novels to show that ordinary people can transcend their seemingly ordinary status to become heroes and heroines. It’s not about riches or fame, but standing tall and facing up to your challenges, however impossible they may seem.  Fezariu, Demetrius and Eleyna are at their most heroic when they face their fears and the choices they make take into account the feelings of others rather than themselves.

Fezariu's Epiphany
by David M. Brown

12-year-old Fezariu thought his mother died when he was little, but when his beloved stepfather dies the boy discovers she is alive and well - and working at the most famous brothel in all of Elenchera. When she cruelly rejects him it's more than he can bear, and he runs away to join a band of ruthless soldiers for hire. The Merelax Mercenaries will fight for anyone who can pay them, no matter the justice of the cause.

Fezariu grows up among the soldiers and becomes one of them. He thinks his time with the mercenaries has hardened him. But a campaign in his old home town pushes him too far, and he discovers what really happened to his mother. Maybe there are some things money shouldn't buy... and maybe it's time Fezariu took his revenge.

As the hours passed, Redemption slowly came back to life as families braved the streets and began the painful process of putting this latest display of insurgence to one side. Only when the last of the graves had been erected would the residents of the city be able to focus fully on maintaining the prosperous empire Eligantiar had built through its many colonies in the west. The dawn of a new day brought hope in the form of the Eligantians’ continued resilience. Many rebellions they had faced since first landing in Emeraldon but they still remained to this day, defiant masters of the continent with the native valkayans the reluctant victims of relentless imperialism.
Only when Vintaro had exhausted his supply of Mizuansi did the trio stand and make their way back into the heart of the city. Their minds and bodies yearned for rest and the warm embrace of the nearest bed to assuage their fatigue. As the trio wandered along the streets they spoke of their first assignment, the adversities that they had faced and how together they had cemented the glowing reputation of the Merelax Mercenaries in completing their task with resounding success.
The trio parted ways when they reached the central square. Fezariu returned to the inn where General Bayard was staying and where Arshea had died. He settled in a vacant bed in General Bayard’s room, convinced he would not rest.
Fezariu thought over the choices he had made in getting to this point in his life, leaving Alycea and Edward, risking everything by pursuing his dream of becoming a mercenary, and now finding that his hopes of having no one to care for or to disappoint had failed to come to fruition. The Merelax Mercenaries, for so long Fezariu’s sanctuary and escape from the haunting memories of Clarendon, had now left him feeling vulnerable.

There are many plot twists and turns in this masterfully written book chronicling the life of a mercenary named Fezariu. Fezariu's Epiphany is a fantasy work on a grand scale in which you enter an imaginatively drawn world filled with many lands and spanning great periods of time.
   Jason Sullivan - Different Outcomes and author of The Dark Yergall 

When a reader that normally does not like fantasy novels set in world with unknown names falls in love with a book from that genre, then you know the author did a spectacular job of bringing their story to life for all to enjoy. 
   Talina Perkins - Bookin' It Reviews/Night Owl Reviews
   Night Owl Reviews "Top pick" 

You can almost smell the filth and corruption that permeates Clarendon, a true cesspool of a city. This is a story of how a boy grows into being a man and accepting his faults and redeeming his failures. I recommend it.
   William Bentrim - Azure Dwarf and author of The Adventures of Hardy Belch

David Brown could be considered a fantasy fanatic, especially since he has spent the last 10 years developing a 47,000-year history for his fictional world of Elenchera. When converting his obsession into literary form, David commits himself to a rigorous writing and editing process before his work can meet his approval. Combined with the critical eye of his wife and a BA Honors in History and English, David's dedication leads him to his goal of inspiring readers through heartfelt stories and characters.
Although David is inspired primarily by fantasy fiction, he also finds his muse in the form of anime, world cinema, history, and biographies. His own books, Fezariu's Epiphany and the in-progress A World Apart, combine aspects from worlds both old and new into compelling tales of a world not soon forgotten., David himself certainly does not lack a spirit of adventure; in fact, he left his job in 2007 in order to spend a month traveling. Second only to meeting and marrying his wife, David counts this as one of the most amazing experiences of his life.

The Elencheran Chronicles:
The World According to Dave:


David will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one randomly chosen commenter at the end of the tour.


  1. I enjoyed the passage about redeeming qualities & heroes. It's often the flaws, that must be overcome or conquered, that make a hero what he is.


    1. Hi Mary,

      You're quite right. I don't believe in writing about characters without flaws. No one is perfect and having a character overcome their personal demons or limitations makes for a more rewarding read.

  2. Thank you to Carrie Ann Ryan for hosting me today.

  3. I think it is fascinating to read about characters overcoming the flaws in their characters. Watching them grow is exciting.

    1. I enjoy character journeys and Fezariu changes a lot from being a young boy with a happy family life to suffering so many upheavals at a young age that shapes him into the man he becomes. By the end though he undergoes another change with his epiphany :)

  4. It's always fascinating to see how a character evolves in a story...I agree, a flaw or two is necessary!


    1. I don't think characters exist without flaws and I try to make sure all of mine always have weaknesses.

  5. I enjoyed the post. The main character sounds fascinating.


    1. Thank you for commenting. It's been a long journey for Fezariu from story planning to publication but I think he's a good character and have enjoyed sharing his story.