Ash Q&A #3: Why did you include Sidhean in the story?

I'm answering a series of interesting questions about Ash. Read previous posts in this series here. Sarah asks: Why did you include Sidhean in the story? What about his character made him fun to write?

In most, if not all, versions of Cinderella, Cinderella is assisted in her desires to go to the ball (and thereby meet the prince) by a magical being. In the Grimms' version, "Aschenputtel," the magical being is actually a tree planted over her mother's grave. The Scottish version of Cinderella, "Rashin-Coatie," includes a red calf to assist her. In these cases, the tree and the calf represent Cinderella's dead mother. The fairy godmother, most famously depicted in the Disney movie, did not appear until Charles Perrault's retelling of the tale.

Disney's fairy godmother (and Cinderella, of course)

I knew that Ash, in my retelling, needed to have some kind of magical assistance — but I did not want to have a cute little fairy godmother. It's obvious from fairy folklore that fairies were never traditionally benevolent figures. They could give you gifts, but there was always a price to be paid for them. They were mischievous, or arrogant, or seductive, or scary. This was the kind of fairy that I wanted in Ash.

During my research, I also discovered that fairies were believed to be much closer to the world of the dead than humans. Plus, some of them were believed to drink blood. Kinda sounds like vampires, doesn't it?

Well, during the early stages of writing Ash I was watching Season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This season was memorable (at least for me — and probably for plenty of other people, too) for one reason: Spike.

Spike rulez!

Putting all that together, I decided that I wanted to have a male fairy godmother in Ash — one who was seductive, cruel, and maybe a bit inspired by Spike. That's the origin of Sidhean.

(Clearly, Sidhean is not that much like Spike. For one thing, Spike has a sense of humor, and Sidhean ... does not. But hey, they both have white-blond hair!)

What made him fun to write? Basically, everything about Sidhean was fun to write. There was just something cathartic and satisfying about writing a character who was so intensely focused — with no shame — on his own needs and desires. I know he's sometimes more than a little bit creepy, and yes, I enjoyed that too. I don't know what that says about me as a person! I liked having someone of ambiguous morality to think about.

This is not to say that the other characters weren't also fun to write about! OK, except maybe Ana. I found her a bit insufferable. :)