Claire is more of a "what if" character. Orphans are fairly standard as teenaged main characters. After all, if they had parents, these kids wouldn't be running around saving the world, they'd be doing their homework. In Claire's case, the question is: What if there was an order of knights that's always been exclusively male, and suddenly a girl is thrown into it through no fault or action of her own?
In deciding how to have them relate to each other, romance was off the table from the beginning. With Justin being a responsible father of two young girls, I settled him at age 24, then got squicked out by the idea of him romancing a 16 year old girl. Ick. Claire does crush on him briefly, because I remember being a teenage girl and crushing on the dashing older guy type, but she's disabused of that notion quickly.
Instead, they have a mentor/apprentice relationship. He's there to teach her how to do their crappy job of ghost hunting, and to protect her from the things she isn't strong enough to handle yet. As the story progresses, it deepens into a father/daughter dynamic, which I found satisfying to write. It seems to be difficult to find fantasy stories about family bonds rather than romantic bonds, and I'm looking forward to exploring the theme further in the sequel, Backyard Dragons. I expect the sequel to be released sometime in 2016.
GIRLS CAN’T BE KNIGHTS,
Myrddin Publishing, June 12, 2015
Ebook ISBN: 9781680630312
Print ISBN: 9781680630305
Portland has a ghost problem.
Sixteen-year-old Claire wants her father back. His death left her only memories and an empty locket. After six difficult years in foster care, her vocabulary no longer includes “hope” and “trust.”
Everything changes when Justin rides his magical horse into her path and takes her under his wing. Like the rest of the elite men who serve as Spirit Knights, he hunts restless ghosts that devour the living.
When an evil spirit threatens Claire’s life, she’ll need Justin’s help to survive. And how could she bear the Knights’ mark on her soul? Everybody knows Girls Can’t Be Knights.
Available at Amazon
Lee French lives in Olympia, WA, and is the author of several books, most notably the Maze Beset Trilogy, The Greatest Sin series (co-authored with Erik Kort), and assorted tales in her fantasy setting, Ilauris. She is an avid gamer and active member of the Myth-Weavers online RPG community, where she is known for her fondness for Angry Ninja Squirrels of Doom. In addition to spending much time there, she also trains year-round for the one-week of glorious madness that is RAGBRAI, has a nice flower garden with one dragon and absolutely no lawn gnomes, and tries in vain every year to grow vegetables that don’t get devoured by neighborhood wildlife.
She is an active member of the Northwest Independent Writer’s Association and the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association, and serves as the co-ML for the Olympia region of NaNoWriMo.