Reality Skimming

Dialogue #2: Diane Whiteside (2 of 3)

Dialogues: Lynda Williams and a guest author tackle the same topic from two points of view.

Topic: Moral responsibility for empowered characters.

Protagonists with special powers beg the question of how they will relate to others. Despotic evil is always an option. But even an ethical character can suffer conflict over competing attachments. Lynda Williams and Diane Whiteside both write about characters with superhuman abilities who wrestle with these issues.

Diane Whiteside Diane Whiteside
Arriving third in four generations of published authors, Diane Whiteside has more than a dozen novels, four novellas, and a collection of short stories under her belt. Creator of the Irish Devil and Texas vampire series, she has written fantasy and historical novels for both print and e-publishers, traditional and independent publishers. Her latest novel, The Shadow Guard, was inspired by far too many late night black-and-white movies. For more information, please visit her website at

Lynda Williams Lynda Williams
is the author of the Okal Rel Saga (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing) and editor of the Okal Rel Legacies series (Absolute Xpress). Part 7 of the Okal Rel Saga, 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. She also works as Learning Technology Analyst for Simon Fraser University and teaches a introductory web development course at BCIT.

Q. Describe the intense personal relationship(s) your protagonist(s) have with specific individuals, whether of their own kind or otherwise.

Diane Whiteside: Astrid Carlson and Jake Hammond have been online pals for years. But they’ve never met in person until they’re brought together by a magically-caused murder. That’s when Astrid learns that Jake is a kubri, who can exponentially increase her power. It’s extremely dangerous for her to be around him on so many levels: He knows too much about magic; he knows too much about a murder whose killer may be a rogue sahir; he’s a novice kubri who should be trained and protected as a Shadow Guard asset; and, worst of all, he fascinates her more than any man she’s met since her husband died.

Lynda Williams: In Part I: The Courtesan Prince Reetion pilot (human) Ann falls for the rather young but sexy and beautiful Amel (Sevolite), and is forced to confront her hitherto self-absorbed approach to life. Much to his horror, king-maker Di Mon, Liege of Monitum, falls for the Reetion Anthopologist, Ranar, which forces him to confront his internalization of Sevildom's brutal intolerance for homosexuality. It also tests Di Mon's somewhat academic belief in the equality of commoners.

Love and sexual obsession brings unlikely people together elsewhere in the series, as well. But critical relationships also include a Sevolite heir to power who is adopted by Ranar, to be raised on Rire; Amel's bond with his commoner foster sister, Mira; a Reetion doctor's guilty feelings toward Amel, while he was her patient; friendships, family bonds, and the liege-vassal relationship between Sevolites.

Q. Discuss the role played by such personal relationships in your work.

Diane Whiteside: Astrid has kept herself very closed off from personal relationships since her husband died. But the only way she can solve that murder is to work through Jake and use his “normal” people’s job as a front. Many times during the book, it would be so much easier to walk away. Her commander in the Shadow Guard all but orders to drop the investigation. But she can’t. Both her own need for justice and her husband’s ghost insist that she finish the investigation, no matter what.

Lynda Williams: Di Mon's bond with Ranar forces him to see the "Reetion question" as something intensely personal. Ann's relationship with Amel gives him human status in circumstances where his artificial DNA might damn him. Erien's childhood years on Rire motivate him to change Sevildom. Amel's life experiences inspire a new religious order that views all classes of people as equally human. But none of it comes easy. Often, it is even hard to decide whether a particular change is worth the price, or handled properly. Change tends to create problems as well as solve them.

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