L. Rowyn’s A Rational Arrangement came to my attention because a long-time online pal of mine actually did the layout and design for the book–and if that weren’t enough, the genre description of “polyamorous fantasy romance” ALSO seized my attention. So I reached out to the author to invite her to send me a piece about her book, and today, I’m pleased to feature that piece. Rowyn reports, re: her character goal: “I opted to elaborate on an aspect of one of my protagonist’s goals that I’d never explicitly addressed in the novel. Wisteria’s society assumes that all women want children, so few would bother to question her when she says she does. But her brother is curious.” So here it is, y’all, enjoy!
“Why do you want to get married, anyway?” Byron asked.
Wisteria looked up from the pages of dossiers and notes on suitable possible matches spread across her desk. “Good morning, Byron.”
“I understand why you don’t want to live with Mother and Father, given all the grief they give you. But a husband’s liable to give you as much grief. If not more. Trading the devil you know for a different one.” Her brother lounged against one of the stately bookcases of her office. Byron looked like her: tall and rangy, with a long face and dark wavy hair, his golden-brown skin a shade or two darker than her own.
She leaned against the high back of her chair. “I need a husband in order to have children.” Wisteria paused, then added, “Granted, I do not technically need a husband for that. But it would work rather better with one, I daresay.”
Byron made a face at her, exaggerated enough for her to notice. “So why do you want children, then?”
“Isn’t that normal? I thought this was one area where my thoughts were perfectly ordinary and in keeping with convention.”
Her brother grunted. “Maybe. But you don’t do anything just because everyone else does it. You’ve a reason. A whole pack of reasons.”
Amused, Wisteria conceded the point with a nod. “I like children. Do you remember how sweet David and Mitchell were when they were little?”
“What, our little brothers? Sweet? Are you talking about a different set of boys?”
“Yes, our little brothers. They’re at an awkward age now, true, but when they were small, they’d spend hours sitting in my lap and listening to me read. The same stories, over and over again. They were marvelously easy to please: all one needed to do was pay attention to them and they were all appreciation.”
“You and I have vastly different definitions of ‘easy to please’, Teeri.”
“Perhaps. But I enjoy the honesty of children, too. They say what they think instead of following the arcane rules of the guessing-games adults play at and that I don’t understand. It’s more than about appreciating children, though. People are fascinating: the most interesting, lively, pleasing and entrancing parts of Paradise are the people in it and the things they have made and shaped. I love people. The thought that I, with the assistance of a husband, can actually make a person is nothing sort of miraculous.”
Byron folded his arms over his chest. “Anyone can have a child. World’s full of them.”
“Being work that anyone can do does not make it less valuable, or less miraculous. Besides, whatever future children I might have will be unique individuals. Whether they turn out to be cruel or kind, indifferent or caring, easy-going or belligerent, it is sure that no one else in Paradise will be quite like them. My children are people that only I can make, just as our parents are the only people who could have made us. It is the most basic truth of life, and yet the most amazing one. How improbable, how unlikely we all are! And yet here we are.”
Byron stepped forward to lean against her desk, spinning one of the folders about to look at the documents inside. “But you can do so much more than just breed, Teeri. Things no one else can do. You’ve an eye for evaluating risks, analyzing deals, better than anyone else I’ve seen.”
“I do not plan to stop doing those things,” Wisteria said. “More slowly, perhaps. I do enjoy my work at Vasilver Trading, but it’s not the only thing I want to do with my life. And bearing and raising my children is also something only I can do. People are not like a bolt of ivysilk or a wintertater. Children are not interchangeable. No one else can do this for me. And I want to do it.”
Byron grunted again. “Guess that’s a pretty good reason.”
“Thank you, Byron. I am glad you approve.” She reclaimed the folder from his hand.
“Sorry. Didn’t mean to imply you needed my permission.”
Wisteria patted his arm. “I know,” she said, and returned to her research.