The Valtamani


One of the joys of writing is having the opportunity to create kickass female characters. There are far too many undeveloped, unbelievable, uninteresting token females dropped into stories (maybe someday writers will understand that having more numerous and varied female characters makes stories better), so each time a fabulous female is added to the ranks, I like to think it balances things out a bit, male-dominance-wise.

My favorite thing about Aret’s protagonist is that she occupies two bodies: Diana Scarlett – a 21-year-old pacifist, vegetarian, and apprentice with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters; and the Valtamani Skara, a thousand-year-old egalitarian, diplomat, and leader of a race of dragons. Therefore, our protagonist is, as it were, a twofer – two totally tremendous characters wrapped up in one.

Needless to say, when one exists as a dragon on one world, then finds oneself as human on another, complications arise. For example, there are misconceptions and prejudices to face. When the Valtamani conducts her initial research on Earth and reads the humans’ stories about dragons, her reaction is this:

Gold-hoarding monsters, indeed. Dragons do not even have a system of currency.

To further demonstrate the complexity of occupying different bodies on different worlds, here’s a peek at Diana’s diary:

I had dinner at my parents’ house this evening and brought homemade cupcakes, which they pretended to enjoy even though I used way too much salt. Let’s hear it for unconditional love! They asked where I’ve been, since I missed brunch with Nana and didn’t even call, so I let them know I’ve been flying around on another world eating deer heads, guarding eggs, running a governing body, and trying to conjure up a strategy to end a twenty-year war between humans and dragons.

The Valtamani/Diana is imperfect, of course. That’s part of having three dimensions. She can be selfish, impulsive, and cold, but shining a light on those attributes was every bit as enjoyable as showcasing her wit, strength, and snarkiness. Yes, snarkiness. For despite her sophisticated nature, our protagonist has a tendency to be quite snarky in both her human and dragon forms. After a thousand years of life, I believe she deserves a free pass to be an unapologetic wiseass. Hell, I’ve only been around 40 years and have granted myself that license already.