Five facts about L’Wren, Hawk And The Doves….
So, one each and a spare (because there are two Doves)
1 - L’Wren came to me first just as a name, sadly triggered by the death of Mick Jagger’s girlfriend (or ‘squeeze’ as the tabloid press might have it).
I’d always had mixed feeling about the name, thinking it a bit affected or even totally made up but it seems to be a genuinely acceptable version of Lauren, the feminine of Lawrence, both of which derive from the Latin word for a bay tree. Ceasar wore a crown of laurel leaves, so it goes back a looong way.
Bay leaves are green, of course, so L’Wren had to be green too didn’t she?
There it was then, a blank page with the name of a green girl on it…
2 - Hawk then swooped in - well, he would swoop wouldn’t he? At first there was a chance that Hawk would just be L’Wren’s surname but pretty quickly Hawk had ideas about being an entirely separate character all of his own. He was plainly in some sort of juxtaposition to L’Wren based just on his name alone - a wren being a tiny songbird, small, and brown whereas a hawk is a big fearsome, noble thing.
Opposites attract though, so I went with a bit of gender stereotyping. L’Wren stayed female while Hawk became very male.
And the most male thing a boy can do is… be a starship captain! Then he gained the first name Saker, which is an Arabic word meaning falcon.
You could argue that his name translates as Hawk Hawk? But I'd get upset if you did.
3 and 4 - The Doves crept into the title in the same way as I like to imagine the wardrobe crept into C.S Lewis' thoughts.
Already having two very different birds flapping about in my head and plot I realised that there were some more to flock along. The conflict aspect that sprang to mind of having a hawk and a wren seemed to be calling out for a peaceful resolution... hence doves were required. However, I shifted the conflict to a different planet and decided that my doves would also be from another world. Their role then grew until they were interplanetary peace-keepers, flying in to resolve a conflict that had proved all but impossible to deal with.
I needed to hint at some ambiguity about them, they are mysterious and secretive, so their names were a long time in the research. In fact all the names in the book were researched in some depth. I wanted an otherworldly feel to names of both places and people, and to use language that reflected not only different cultures but also highlighted the gender aspects of the plot.
So my doves became Anchises and Cytheria, names from classical Greek mythology linked to each other. The planet they came from had to reflect their status as peacekeepers, as doves, and it became Turacoena. Well, it had to...
So.... 5 – what's it all bout? Well, it's really just a standard boy meets girl who both meet boy and girl who might be girl and boy while boys and girls fight it out over boys being boys and girls being girls thing.... in space.
Well, maybe – I wanted to challenge preconceptions about a number of things. Science fiction itself, for starters. Captain Kirk trekked through the stars on his five year mission to seek out new life and new civilisations and boldly have romantic liaisons every week with aliens who, while some of them might be green, were always scantily clad and totally, totally unambiguously female and heterosexual. There was never any doubt about gender or sexual orientation.
Had he never read 'The Left Hand Of Darkness' by Ursula Le Guin? Well I have, and he should too.
It's a bit of a daft idea that gender and sexuality are a social constant across the universe so my two worlds in L'Wren, Hawk and the Doves have totally different views on the subject. I'll let you read the book to find out what the twist on the Dove's home planet of Turacoena is (no spoilers here) but the war, on the planet Ourania, that the doves are seeking to bring an end to is all about gender.
Ourania is a planet divided by gender, with rigid social and geographical structures in place. Gender is everything yet sexuality, because of this, is flexible. Within their respective social and geographical confines homosexuality is the norm and outside heterosexuality is expected. It makes total sense on Ourania, trust me.
Into the mix comes the relationship between L'Wren and Hawk. They each have a past, and a future, and the Doves, with their innate empathy, bring challenges that neither of them expects.
And the Doves themselves have to confront the emotional feedback and physical demands of dealing not only with the heightened atmosphere around L'Wren and Hawk but with their own past and the secret they have to keep.
If your emotions could be felt by another, if the desires you kept hidden were revealed and reflected back on you would you deny and control those needs?
And if sexuality and gender aren't what they seem does it change who you are?
Catch up with Faberge on –