I'm extremely lucky to be hosting one of the stops on Michael Grant's first ever UK blog tour. I'm a massive fan of the Gone series and can't believe the epic adventure is finally over. I have a fantastic giest post to share you with from Michael, about one of his favourite characters in the series, Edilio, as well as news about a brand new online game to accompany the books.
Every GONE fan has their favorite character. And everyone has characters they can’t stand. I’m no different.
Of course as the writer I have different criteria. For me a “good” character is one that’s fun to write and does good work for me in the story. For readers the characters are closer to being friends, while for me they’re more like employees.
No one was more fun for me to write, or did better service, than Diana Ladris. I love Diana. I like her snark and her vulnerability. I like that she’s not afraid of Caine, even when she should be. I had fun edging her ever-so-slowly toward the good side of the equation over the course of six books.
I also had a lot of fun writing Brianna and Dekka and especially Lana. I think I must like tough chicks. I never quite knew what to do with Mary -- she was just too good. I mean, if you set aside the fact that she went nuts and tried to kill all the little kids, she was a saint. A saint aside from the attempted mass-murder. So, a saint by GONE standards. All that caring, all that self-sacrifice: I pretty much had to kill her. She was getting on my nerves.
Who else can’t I stand? Brittany. I didn’t dislike her, exactly, I just never did figure out how to write her. Dahra was another. I tried, but meh. Usually when a character became useless to me I’d kill them off. But I was kind of stuck with Brittany. She became the person I wanted to fire but couldn’t. And Dahra . . . well, read LIGHT.
The character I’m most proud of actually is Edilio. I wish I could remember where I first read that the real hero of Lord Of The Rings was not Frodo but Sam Gamgee. It struck me as a bit of a revelation at the time. So with the GONE series I wanted to create a character like that, a character who would only very slowly be revealed as central and important and even heroic.
Edilio is from a family of undocumented migrant workers. Throughout the early books he’s often denigrated as Sam’s “sidekick.” Unlike our obvious hero, Sam Temple, Edilio has no special powers. He’s not a genius like Astrid, he’s not charismatic like Caine, he’s not the best-looking or the funniest. What he is is the guy who gets it done. He doesn’t brag, he doesn’t swagger, he doesn’t demand anything, but again and again and again he gets it done.
Edilio, in addition to being brave, selfless, decent and loyal, is competent. Sometimes you’ll hear people use that word almost as an insult, because we’re all supposed to want to be extraordinary, we’re all supposed to want to be stars. You might hear that someone is merely competent. Very inexperienced people say that, people who don’t know enough to understand how precious and rare competence is.
Now, if you happen to combine brave, selfless, decent and loyal with competent? Then, wow. You have everything it takes to be a real man or real woman.
So I raise a glass to Edilio. (Literally, because I’m in a Sausalito bar called Poggio as I write this. Cabernet Sauvignon, not that it matters.) Because Sam Temple might be the good-looking guy who can shoot light out of his hands, but Edilio is the man.
To celebrate the release of 'Light', Egmont have created an online game based on the books. It can be played at http://www.goneonlinegame.com/ over a six-week period. Starting with four games at launch - Zeke Zap, Word Search, Hacker and a Gone quiz - there will be further games and challenges released on a weekly basis until the winner is announced. Highly addictive, the games are designed to challenge, infuriate and test your skills, and to get you completely hooked. The winner of the game - the highest scorer at the end of the six weeks - will win an iPad and the chance to meet Michael Grant in a private capsule on the EDF Energy London Eye on 4 May. Participation will also be rewarded with prizes along the way, including signed editions and book tokens as well as never-before-seen content such as extra chapters and video messages from the author.