The Inspiration Behind In Enemy Hands
by M.A. Church
About a year ago, I was taking a break from writing and was goofing off on the Internet and ended up on Google Images. Originally I’d typed in vampires, then an incubus caught my eye, and from there it was a short trip to looking at fey-type characters, lol.
Since it was so long ago, I don’t remember why I was looking at these types of beings—probably needed character inspiration pictures. Then it happened… I ran across an image, one drawn by an artist.
I swear, my world actually stopped. In the artist’s rendition, one character had long black hair and the other had long white. I was so fascinated with the picture, I scrounged around on the Internet until I found who drew it and her gallery. Unfortunately, she’s French, so I couldn’t speak to her, but I saved the link.
The black-headed one (Adlar) is actually what the cover for In Enemy Hands is based on. His pale, pale skin, jet black hair, and pointed ears caught my attention. There was this look about him—introspective, but also restrained violence.
I knew then I had to write these two characters.
When I write science fiction, I usually start with the characters. Once I have them, and know their background, the world building starts from there. The picture I used for inspiration had the character standing side-by-side. The dark-headed one was standings upright with his arms crossed. The white-headed one (Varo) is slightly bent at the waist, his arms crossed, and leaning over a post. They’re both looking into the distance. There is an ease between the two of them, and I knew somehow that was going to be very important to the story.
There’s also a lot of play on imagery in the story. Good guys usually wear the white hats, right? *Points at Varo* There’s Varo with his white-blond hair. Then there’s Adlar, with his pale looks and black hair. Bad guys were black hats, right? *Grin* One of the things you often see in my stories is that appearances can be deceiving.
Once I had the motivation for each character, I was able to build their worlds. The main thing I needed was the ‘why’. Why would two such strong characters butt heads in such a way? Well, looking at humanity’s own history, one thing come to mind: resources.
When one race has an abundance of a much-needed resource, there are always other races plotting behind the scenes to obtain it. That’s basically what In Enemy Hands is based on. And any time you have two races clashing, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to have an enemy-to-lovers story somewhere in the mix.
And there you go, lol. In Enemy Hands was born. I thoroughly enjoyed writing the book. My science fiction often goes hand in hand with romance. So most the time I’m either trying to figure out how the hell a warp drive engine would work, or I am slogging through a tangled web of romantic feelings between two characters who are complete opposites.
Honestly, one can be just as interesting as the other!
About In Enemy Hands
Two very different civilizations—one bathed in bright sunlight and the other veiled in shadow.
Bad decisions, declining resources, and a king on the brink of madness force Prince Varo Kutchif, third son of the royal family and a starship captain, to attempt the impossible: barter for Black Phospolrock, an energy source the mysterious Helkan Kingdom has in abundance. Varo opens a line of communication with Adlar, an intriguing Helkan who seems to reciprocate Varo’s interest. He hopes so, because if negotiations collapse, Varo has orders to attack.
The Helkans preside over a planet shrouded in perpetual darkness. Several species have tried to exploit its natural resources through trade with them, but all have failed. Adlar Mondur is the older brother to the Helkan ruler. An assassin of the highest order, he’ll do anything to protect his king and his people—including tracking down the Yesri prince who crash-lands on their planet, leaving an ugly scar across its untouched beauty.
Thus begins a journey where two men from disparate civilizations grow from enemies to lovers.
An Excerpt from In Enemy Hands
A low moan came from Varo.
“Come on, then, open your eyes.” Adlar lowered Varo to the ground.
Varo’s eyes twitched, then he slowly blinked them open. “Who… who…?”
Adlar saw the confusion. His grin was as sharp as a knife’s blade as he stared into brown eyes—big, beautifully rich brown eyes. There was no doubt now this was the same Yesri he’d spoken with earlier during negotiations. By some odd twist in genetics, the males of the ruling Yesri family had brown eyes. They were the only ones. All other Yesris either had green or blue eyes.
Adlar waited until Varo focused on him. “Greetings, Prince Varo Kutchif of Yesri.”
“Wh-what? Why am I lying down? You’re using the Universal Language Standard to speak to me, right? You sound funny. Or is it me? And how… how do you know my…. You look like…. Who are you?”
“I’m Adlar Mondur, leader of the D’noir and older brother to King Omori, ruler of Helkan.”
“Helkan? But… how’d I get here?” Varo sat up.
Adlar grasped Varo’s chin. “My dear princeling, you crash-landed on my planet, remember?”
“I… I… yes?” Varo clenched his eyes shut and then opened them again. “Yes, that’s right. I had to make…. Oh goddess! You! I remember you.”
“Excellent. I claim you as my prisoner.”
“P-p-prisoner?” Varo stuttered.
He watched as the confusion cleared and… was that fear in those eyes? How delightful. “I’m sure you know my people do not release our prisoners.”
Adlar smiled at Varo, letting his fangs show. He’d prepared himself for many reactions; he wasn’t ready for Varo to headbutt him. The force of the blow rocked him backward, breaking his grip on Varo.
“Oh frack!” Adlar yelled as he sprawled on the ground. Pain exploded in his face, spreading quickly.
Varo was on his feet and running.
From off to the side, he heard a rolling chuff. He lifted his hand and gently touched the tender, swollen area. He bet a bruise was already forming. He glared at Dar. “Too busy laughing at me to help, I take it?”
Dar yawned, showing off huge canines. He licked his lips, his whiskers twitching as he stared in the direction Varo fled. Then he laid his head between his paws.
Well, he had his answer. “Fine!” Snarling, Adlar launched to his feet and stumbled slightly as he followed Varo. Maybe his head wasn’t as hard as he thought.
Even with the pounding in his ears, he could still hear the harsh breathing of Varo as he crashed through the jungle. And crash he did since Varo couldn’t see as well as Adlar could. Adlar needed to end this before Varo broke a leg or something.
“Stop!” Adlar yelled. Then a new thought hit him. “All this noise will draw predators straight to you!”
Receiving no answer, he dug deep, pushing his body to move faster. That was his prey, and when he caught Varo, he was going to…. A sudden flash of purple streaked past him. Oh, so now the temperamental batar decided to help?
Adlar growled as Dar’s long strides ate up the ground as he closed in on Varo… then flew past him. He didn’t bother to question why Dar bypassed Varo—the irritating feline must have a reason.
About M.A. Church
M.A. Church is a true Southern belle who spent many years in the elementary education sector. Now she spends her days lost in fantasy worlds, arguing with hardheaded aliens on far-off planets, herding her numerous shifters, or trying to tempt her country boys away from their fishing poles. It’s a full time job, but hey, someone’s gotta do it!
When not writing, she’s on the back porch tending to the demanding wildlife around the pond in the backyard. The ducks are very outspoken. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and they have two grown children.
She is a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
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