Note: To make stories flow, authors have to limit the amount of background (or backstory) revealed about characters (and we hate that), so I was please to have a request for posts on this topic.
In The Essence, Sophia interviews General Nicolai Hewzenko, a reclusive dictator. He is perceived as a dangerous and volatile man, but she finds that Nicolai is a complex, charismatic character to whom success has come at a price. He’s brought peace to a country that was torn by war and ethnic violence but not to himself -- he remains haunted by memories.
Nicolai is a product of both the Russian and local cultures – his father was a wealthy Christian of Russian decent who married a Muslim woman, who was then disowned and ostracized. He had few friends growing up; he was never welcome in their homes. He observed how even the poor who accepted his mother’s help spit at her retreating shadow.
His father insisted Nicolai attend Oxford University in England and upon returning, Nicolai became a commissioned military officer. When his mother was killed during a charity mission by troops on an ethnic raid, Nicolai was inspired to join a rebellion and soon became their leader. After years of Spartan existence in the mountains, the rebels prevail, but the shadow of dead comrades and his mother remain with him; then the victory celebration was ruined when Nicolai’s young wife is killed by a car bomb. Sometimes those thoughts overwhelm him, in what those close to him describe his him as “black moods”.
But on the brighter side, Nicolai is a proponent of novel progressive ideas, education and culture. He enjoys the symphony, can’t imagine a party without an orchestra and is an excellent dancer. He’s generous to those who follow him, but no saint – he can be ruthless to those who oppose him.
Insights on writing, characters, humor and other tidbits from the author of the "Scoops and Schemes" series of novels.
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