Rowena Cory Daniells is passionate about writing. Her speculative fiction stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies including Dreaming DownUnder and Dreaming Again. She has supported the writing community by serving on the management committees of two national genre awards, the Queensland Writers Centre, the Brisbane Writers Festival and Fantastic Queensland. When she sat down to write The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin, she set out to write the kind of book that you look forward to after a tough week at work, the kind of book that carries you away. KRK is published by Solaris. The latest book, King Breaker, has just been published by Solaris. You can find Rowena on her website rowena-cory-daniells.com, on Facebook and on Twitter as @RCDaniells
by Rowena Cory Daniells
In the very first book of King Rolen’s Kin (KRK), Byren tells his twin, who is only 7 minutes older than him, that he doesn’t want to be king. Byren says something like: ‘It’s a terrible thing to never know if the woman in your bed is there because she loves you or because you’re the king’s heir.’ Despite this, his twin can’t understand why Byren doesn’t want the crown. People who crave wealth and power, think everyone wants this.
I’ve been watching the TV series White Queen Red Queen which is set during the War of the Roses. I found it really made me think about power and family.
(Lovely picture, reminds me of a Pre-Raphaelite painting or a Vermeer).
As an Australian I have only a broad general knowledge of the kings and queens of England so every time I come across a documentary or TV series about a ruler, I go away and research that person. The more I read about royalty and the lengths they go to to keep the throne, the more I am sure I would never want to be king, too many people plotting to steal my throne. King Henry the Seventh was Paranoid for good reason.
Power attracts a particular type of person and they have to be ruthless to achieve this goal. There is a disturbing link between psychopaths and leadership. According to the FBI around one percent of the general population are psychopaths and they make up 10 to 15% of the prison population. They share certain traits. They can be calm under pressure and focused, and although they don’t have true empathy, they can be charming.
As part of the research for his book The Wisdom of Psychopaths, Kevin Dutton ran a survey and discovered the kind of jobs people with psychopathic tendencies preferred. He found a low incidence of psychopathic traits in doctors, but a high incidence in surgeons. In the modern world these kind of people are attracted to big business.
In the past they would have become warlords and risen to rule kingdoms. And because powerful people tend to marry other powerful people to consolidate their power I’m guessing a large percentage of the aristocracy would have been what we now term psychopaths.
If someone’s motivation is power for its own sake, I find that a bit boring. I’m more interested in the process that a genuinely good person goes through when they have to do battle with someone who is totally ruthless. If power corrupts, then does resorting to the same strategies corrupt the person who is trying to defeat evil?
Byren, Fyn and Piro are not perfect but they all set out to do the right thing. As events mount up they have to make decisions and each decision takes them further along divergent paths. Is there a point where you can’t forgive someone, no matter how pure their motives?
With the KRK series I wanted to examine the bonds of friendship and family, the forces that drive people together and tear them apart. I wanted to make the reader think: What would I do in this situation? The power of narrative is that it enables the reader to slip into another person’s point of view and feel what they feel. I love it when I forget that I’m reading a book and get swept away by the story.
Hopefully, readers will be swept along with Byren, Fyn and Piro and will have to keep turning the pages to find out what happens to them in King Breaker.