One of the questions I’m often asked is, where did my concept and use of slavery in my series the Sentries originate?
It’s sort of an interesting story, at least I think so.
The whole thing started one lazy afternoon when I was trolling through a community on Live Journal. In this particular community people post summaries of things they’ve read/watched, or would like to, to see if someone might know the fanfic/movie/book. One such summary caught my attention; it was basically about two people who grew up knowing they would marry and be together. Then I read the very next entry, which was someone looking for stories in general about arranged marriages. To complicate matters the one after that talked about wanting to find stories with slaves who were not abused.
That’s when my brain had an ah-ha moment.
Then my brain had to do some real work to meld those ideas, which are sort of opposites, into one story. I started with working out how all these ideas might work together. From there I stumbled over the idea of one of my MCs being a slave. One character being a slave allowed me to weave my three main concepts together nicely. Obviously, this wasn’t going to be set in our world today, so my next step was to do my world building homework and create a society that would also fit. I prefer scifi and future settings so that part was the fun part for me.
The more I planned, the more involved and intricate the development of both slaves and sentries became. In Sentries, the slaves are not captured people, but children bred specifically to be slaves. These children are highly educated so as to benefit their future owners.
In Collared Souls, Todd and Nick Ruger discover their roots, as sentries, and how the slave industry came into being. The men learn their ties to both sentries and slaves go back to their youngest days, as well as generations preceding them.
Making the character Nick a slave allowed me to do a few things with both the characters. It gave me the chance to have the characters know about one another, have some contact via correspondence, and still be somewhat unsure how their prearranged pairing would go once they were together. While they came from the same society, the culture and atmosphere each man grew up in, and was shaped by, was different. It was a meeting of opposites, taking them and turning them into a strongly bonded couple.
Slaves have certain advantages their owners do not. Nick uses the fact that to some people he’s invisible, a piece of property owned by Todd, nothing more, to allow him to develop covert skills of observation. Todd, of course, has his own unique talents, and the two complement each other incredibly well. Their lives intertwine and affect each other from the time each of them is a young child.
My biggest challenge was making the slaves and institution of slavery in my books different from others out there. Todd is not the typical slave owner. Nick isn’t forced into their relationship, Todd spends a great deal of time in the beginning of the series wooing his newly acquired slave. As the series progresses we see how these two very opposite men come to love and respect one another while doing a very dangerous job.
Their love for one another and their teamwork is highlighted in Collared Souls and is what carries them through the challenges thrown in their path and in the end brings Todd and Nick even closer together.