01 August 2010

"Do you have an Asian fetish?" and other silly questions.

Someone who just started reading Suki With A Twist: Part One asked me if I had an "Asian fetish". I hadn't heard that one in a while. However I have written extensively about how we developed the character. I guess it's time to cover it again and I am doing this without looking back at what I wrote over one year ago, when Suki I, the first story in the first series, was published.

So, the way the process went, I wanted my female character to be heroic and exotic.  I prefer women with dark hair and eyes, especially fond of long straight hair. I also like taller women. Advanced intelligence is great, so I wanted her to be well educated and have decent common sense too. That was the baseline I began working from, for the first series.

When I started describing the character to Danielle, who jumped into the roles of beta reader and editor, she killed the idea of her being 6' tall.  The rest of the character development was done by me and my blog partner who uses the Suki handle in association with the books. We settled on 5' 6", 110-120, fit, dark eyes, straight dark hair to butt.

Next item was education. She needed to be smart and Sci-Fi readers love well educated women (as I do) so we began at the end, PhD from MIT in Robotics. To avoid technology errors in my story spinning, she was to stay in theoretical research for corporations and academic institutions.  Working back from that, Bionics sounded like a good story match and I found a top institution in Tokyo for that, the Tokyo University of Technology.  For her BS, I was thinking Chemistry, but Suki (character developer) overruled me. She had already committed to partner in the project and Chemistry was too close to her background for her comfort. Mathematics became the replacement.  Note: in the Suki With A Twist series I take all of this education away from her and her work is much different.

Another item was her cultural background. I like a Southeastern USA accent and my character developer is from the Richmond, Virginia area. We made her from that area and I had someone right there on the team to help with location specific details if needed as the series progressed. To go along with her intelligence, we gave her some good hobbies. Archery, wood carving, etc. I let my character developer pick her language list, which is pretty much the ones she wanted to learn but never did.

Before we decided on her parents (if they were still alive, their backgrounds, etc.) we had to pick a race. With long dark hair and dark eyes, her lineage could be from almost anywhere. A Google Images search for those traits came up overwhelmingly with images of East Asian women. Suki would be East Asian.

In order to direct the reader to the specific features, I did a little more research and decided a combination of Vietnamese, Thai and Korean would work. So we made her father Vietnamese, her mother Thai and Korean. My development partner did not want the character to be an orphan, or adopted. She really wanted Suki to know her parents, so I named the mother Jung and did a full character bio on her too. One thing for some of the behavior problems I gave the character, they commonly stem from a pre-puberty traumatic event. So Suki's father died in a commercial airliner crash in the Pacific when Suki was around ten years old.

Forgot if the Suki name was in my head to begin with or if I picked it after we had her fully described, but it is a name I have liked for decades. It is common throughout Eastern Asia and in the UK. Contrary to the people who launch into the Japanese legend of the same name, hers has nothing to do with Japan.  In the story, she gets it because her mother liked it when she was a girl in Thailand. In the later books, it is revealed that Jung wanted her daughter to be mononameonic and had to argue with the hospital staff over her naming.

Most of the above is true for the second series, other than where I noted her education.  One of the complaints from women was that the male lead was not "heroic enough" and Suki needed to be "dirtier".  When Avatar came out I got a good laugh at those folks from the way Neytiri saves Jake six times before he saves Pandora. Anyway, for the new series, I changed Suki to a very intelligent high school graduate, knowledgeable on current events, self educated in multiple languages and an incredibly talented full-service professional party companion.

As if this was not long enough already, I had a bit of tedium from someone who bought one of the books on Kindle. Numerous times, he has insisted that Suki is a real person. If she is and if there is someone out there just like the character that at least three people had a hand in making up, I have never met her. No introduction necessary, because the character's behavior is nothing like anything I want to put up with. Next, he insists that Suki is my "dream girl". I think I just covered that.

Lately, he mentioned having problems reading it because he thinks he is invading my fantasies. I really do not understand that one (even spelled the word f i c t i o n for him) and the objective is to have interesting scenes. The couple's scenes get much more interesting than I want to experience. For example, if anybody thinks I would want a woman I was dating to be kidnapped in my own home by her female ex-lover, drugged and raped by her and forced into a lesbian marriage to have her wealth stolen from her, they are nuts. Seek therapy. The cars? I love those, I love describing them and I have not owned a single one that appear in my stories. Would I take one? Certainly, the whole fleet, even the Polara limo!

Suki Background Suki Series Tech Order the paperback edition of Suki V: The Collection Browse the series on Google: Suki I, Suki II, Suki III, Suki IV, Suki V Fan Fiction: John and Suki: Vacation Fun

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