Reality Skimming

Continuing Characters #5: Amel

The first installment in Continuing Characters featuring a character from the Okal Rel Universe.

Continuing Characters: A series of interviews featuring continuing characters and the authors who know them best.

Book 4: Throne PriceBook 5: Far ArenaBook 6: Avim's Oath

The Okal Rel Saga by Lynda Williams is a 10 novel series, published by Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy, set in a very different universe. The character-driven stories tackle themes of culture clash in a context where all-out war is so horrific it is all but obsolete, but passions still run high. Currently forthcoming is Part 7: Healer's Sword.

Amel Soul of Light by Yukari Yamamoto Amel is the prince raised as a pauper and the prostitute with the heart of gold. He begins the Okal Rel Saga as a battered 16-year-old. He ends it, about twenty years later, as a religious and secular power. As recognized by reviewer Stephanie Ann Johanson, Part 6: Avim’s Oath is the book where Amel gets a grip and takes charge. But then, Amel is mostly Demish so it’s not surprising that he takes a few books and about twenty years to mature. The main protagonist of the Okal Rel Saga, Amel is one of the point of view characters in all the books except Part 2: Righteous Anger, where he makes a cameo appearance.

"What would life be without other people?" --from Part 5: Far Arena

Questions for Amel (circum Avim’s Oath)

Q. What do you most desire?

To have lived a different life. At least, I always used to think so. Now, I am no longer sure. When I was young I wanted nothing more than to escape unwanted attention and to spend my life with the people I chose to love. Most of my dreams were foolish ones but I needed them to be large, real and beautiful. As I get older, I have begun to see responsibilities before me that are larger than my personal desires. Change is coming, and the Demish will need my help to cope. I cannot bear to think of all that is good and beautiful in a thousand years of Demish life being lost in the maelstrom of change, even though I understand much of the change will be good.

Q. What is your greatest fear?

The stupidity of people who have no empathy. If every would-be conqueror could feel even a tenth of the anguish he inflicts on others, it would be a better world. The greed for dominance some people feel is sickening. And yet, I must acknowledge it is necessary to fight for what I believe in and that means I must risk harm to myself and those who follow me, as well as those we oppose. There is no escaping conflict if one holds an opinion. Sometimes I fear the sadness at the bottom of all struggles in which someone wins and all the rest must lose.

Lynda Williams Lynda Williams is the author of the Okal Rel Saga, published by Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing. Part 7: Healer's Sword arrives in 2012. Lynda's work features moral dilemmas in a character-driven, multi-cultural setting with radically different attitudes to sex and social control surrounding space warfare and bio-science.

Questions for Lynda

Q. Where did Amel come from?

Originally, he was a thought experiment in how kind someone could be and still survive. I’ve also been accused of creating the perfect man for myself, as a teenager, and can’t deny the charge. Amel interests me more, now, as a maturing visionary and leader than as a hot date who is also awesome at giving a woman his full, emotional attention. He is an archetype, but he is also as individual as people I know in real life. He has been around nearly as long as I have, and has tons more experience interacting with people and other characters than will ever appear in print. He evolved in a spirit of interactive play.

I even have a small collection of his poetry, snatched from "the other side" over the years, and translated into English when necessary. 🙂

Q. What role does Amel’s arresting physical beauty play for you?

On the superficial side, I’m going to blame my teenage self again. When my older self inherited him, however, I took on the challenge of exploring the reactions he inspires: everything from adoration to predatory behavior, annoyance or jealousy. He has a hard time getting other men to take him seriously.

From Part 8: Gathering Storm – Eler POV

He’s so damned pretty, Eler indulged in a blackening spite, he could be a woman if his chin was just a little sharper, his shoulders narrowed and his hips adjusted a bit.

Mentally making the changes, Eler found himself smack in the middle of an angry, sexual fantasy that popped in a bubble of revulsion when Amel’s body snapped back to its masculine proportions in his mind’s eye.

"Ugh," Eler said aloud, shaking his head with a shudder. There were times when even he wished he could reign in his imagination.

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