Kamarie was originally supposed to be the central character in King’s Warrior. When I sat down and started writing my adventure tale, I had two characters in mind to begin with, and Kamarie was one of them.
I jotted down a few notes about her to start: “Jet-black hair, blue eyes, pale skin, thin but not wiry, strong, long-limbed, pretty face, tallish (perhaps 5’7”)” (which is why, when I saw Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, I fell in love with Astrid Berges-Frisbey instantly… it was like Kamarie had stepped out of my imagination and onto the screen… except with a tail).
Then I moved on to personality. She had to be strong, she was a princess, after all, and born to rule, though she probably wouldn’t inherit the throne… most thrones don’t pass to girls, and I didn’t really want her to be the heir anyway. I wanted her to be kind of a free spirit, stubborn, strong-willed, but not at the cost of a good relationship with her parents or common sense. The first drafts of Kamarie were a little more angsty… but she calmed down with editing. I wanted her to have an attractive personality, but a longing for greatness and action as well… this might make her clash with certain people initially (see: Oraeyn), but her tender heart and kindness eventually shone through even the roughest of first impressions.
Skill sets: I wanted her to be adept with a sword, and have basic forestry skills, and an excellent horseback rider. So, when she begged me, I relented and let her sneak around to “train” as a squire with one of her father’s most trusted knights and advisors. Of course, I also wanted to portray her parents as wise and intelligent, so I let her father figure it out and give said knight the approving “go ahead” … but he and I decided it was best for Kamarie to think she was being sneaky.
At the beginning, I had Kamarie as a sort of clutzy and wild princess. One who tries to be graceful and proper, but just isn’t very good at it. Later, I revised that stance and let her hard work pay off. It doesn’t keep the nobles from whispering about her, but she understands that nobles have to have something to whisper about, and she has enough pride in her accomplishments that she uses those whispers to strengthen her resolve to work even harder. Doesn’t mean she didn’t cry on my shoulder about it a couple of times during the writing process.
I love Kamarie. I can’t not love her, (double negative!). If there’s anyone in my books that reflects me at all, it’s her. Even though she ended up not being quite as main a character as I intended her to be, she’s still my favorite (but, shhhh, don’t tell Brant, Kiernan, Oraeyn, Dylanna, Yole, or Kitry… they’ll get jealous).