Thoughts and Musings

Creating the Character of Geneva Archer

I create characters through a variety of processes, however, for my Guardians, I have been looking at history for inspiration. Geneva, Lavinia, and Emma all have historical backgrounds. Perhaps not especially well known, but, they are there nonetheless, even my tragic character Meleah was based on a real person.

In Kissing Demons, Geneva explains who she was born as: Beatrice Marguerite de Geneve. This woman was the wife of Thomas I of Savoy, her many sons included priests and bishops, including one Archbishop of Canterbury. She was a real person, who out-live several of her children. She was deeply devout, and she was kidnapped by Thomas I of Savoy out of the hands of the king of France, Philip II.

Geneva Archer started as research into not-so-famous women of history who had lost children. When I found Beatrice of Geneva, I knew I had found my woman. After 800 years of an afterlife that had all the same problems as her first life but with some pretty amazing perks, she is bored, except that she loves her job. She is driven and committed, and basically, after all that time, she has become more of what she already was: more maternal, more committed, more adaptable. She is more intensely who she has always been.

I imagine a 16-year-old girl travelling to marry a king she had never met, but whom she knew had already had two wives. She was probably resigned to her fate, trying to find her excitement in the midst of loss and longing for her home in Geneva. She had probably said goodbye to the closest friend she had ever had, her nurse, and her family. And then, in a drastic turn of events, she is kidnapped by strangers. She probably thought she was going to die. To overcome her guard, they probably killed every person she was with. And then she arrives at the home she would know for the rest of her life. What was that first meeting with Thomas like? Did she know him before he kidnapped her? Did she marry him and commit herself to him immediately, or did it take time? Did they ever have a normal relationship as man and wife?

I imagine, that with the large family she bore and the losses she endured, that she would not have lived for 72 years without the love of her husband. I choose to imagine a happy marriage for her, a commitment to her husband as soon as she said the words that bound her in marriage to the count; I choose to imagine that Beatrice lived a happy life, even though it was spotted by the tragedy of losing her children.

My father imagines that an immortal, after so many years on this planet would become extremely savvy. Surprising Geneva was a challenge for me–800 years is a long time to learn. To give her a reason to want to learn about Alex, after such a long life, he had to be something new, and something special. And that is how Alex and his father were born. Two very special creatures, a halfling in control of his life and the demon who gave him that control, came into existence through thought experiments with my dad, using my mother as a corkboard for my ideas, and desperation to surprise Geneva, a woman who had survived so much in her life, and lived with power and wisdom in her death.

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