Leaning against an ancient tree, arms casually folded across his chest, stood a young man not much older than she. Blonde wavy hair fell back from his angular face, with both sides shaved and the top left long. The man dragged a hand through his thick strands, gaze never leaving her. His irises were the strangest hue Camille had ever seen: a bleached blue, almost devoid of color; like the bright tinge of the sky at high noon.
“Well hello to you too,” he responded, pushing away from the trunk to saunter closer, a broad grin spanning his face. He glanced at the dagger she still held and chuckled. “You thinking of stabbing me? Or do I get a proper hello?”
Camille kept the knife raised, a slight tremor in her hand. “Stay back stranger, who are you?”Praetorian Rising, Chapter 2 – Hide and Seek
Theo Shaehy was born of a man I hold near and dear to my heart. He also embodies the struggle and frustration I feel a lot of men have suffered over. Theo is in love with Camille, has been from the day he met her all those many moons ago, and yet when he happens upon Camille this first moment she has no recollection of who he is. The pain of being forgotten, and the angst of wanting what you can’t have is the central core of who Theo started out to be when writing this character.
Over the years, Theo has blossomed into so much more for me. He is cocky, pig headed, overly confident; and yet he has a true heart of gold. He always does what is right and tries with hopeful desperation to get Camille to see what they once were even if she has no recollection of their history.
I see Vesyon often as the man with a life long lived, regrets piling up and a mountain of desires that he knows he can’t have all controlled behind the veneer of calm maturity he’s learned to maintain. Theo is the complete opposite. He’s loud, openly crass with his bravado and abilities, and he is very vocal in telling Camille how he feels. Secrets bother Theo and yet he understands why he must keep what he knows from Camille at all costs.
Theo has secrets and they tear him up inside because he wants so desperately to be idolized by Camille in the same fashion he loves and adores her. Like a perfect soldier, Theo is true to his word and he follows Vesyon into every battle with the loyalty of someone that knows who their leader is and why.
When writing the dynamic between Vesyon and Theo I wanted to bring to light the closeness of Aragon and Legolas from LOTR and yet slip in the anguish and frustration of Stephan and Damon (The Vampire Diaries). They love each other as brothers should, and yet they argue and fight and disagree on an often basis. The pull of honor mixed with the desires of the heart is a great dynamic between two solid male characters and I love being able to explore the levels of trust and deception between the two male leads.
“What’s this? A hunter off her guard?” A silky voice remarked from behind her as a blade pressed into her back.
Camille’s fingers instantly froze, her heart speeding into triple overtime. The voice was familiar, but deeper in timbre than Vesyon’s.
She leaned slightly forward and spun, kicking out her right leg to throw him off balance. He leaped away, and Camille pursued him, throwing another kick that landed successfully against his left shoulder. “Ow—hey!” he shouted, glacier-blue eyes dancing with playfulness.
He arced the sword in her direction, and Camille ducked, yelling as it whooshed mere inches over her head. “It’s you!” Camille burst out, shoving the blond drifter she’d seen in Sierra Village against a nearby tree so hard that his sword flew into some nearby bushes. “You—you just tried to stab me!”Praetorian Rising, Chapter 7 – Strangers in the Forest
Camille and Theo have a very explosive connection and I wanted to write in a such a way to ensure the writers felt the tug and pull between them as much as I did when writing it. I would never say that Praetorian Rising is a romance novel, no where near it! But every great story has an incredible base of love and devotion and Camille and Theo will become a great yet tortured love story.
In a lot of ways, Theo was born out of my own personal experience in my dating life. Not to go into intense detail, but I too had a guy that I once dated and took time away from him (though in Camille’s world, not by choice!) and came back to find him as well as myself different people. Experience and emotional traumas have a way of changing us, I feel in the most painful yet dynamic ways. I wouldn’t be the person I am if I hadn’t experienced the relationships I had. Theo wouldn’t be him without the struggle and suffering he’s been through. I won’t lie, he is in for an incredible story and I hope that you pick up a copy of Praetorian Rising to find out the start of his amazing story. It only gets better from here!