At the beginning of the film The Fellowship of the Ring, the first in the epic The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Bilbo sits down at his desk and is about to start his book. Holding the quill pen — it is, after all, a fantasy — he ponders, “Where to begin…” Then, in an “aha moment,” writes “Concerning Hobbits” and launches into a socio-historic explanation of Hobbits. Why does he need to do this? Because Hobbits are: A) Central to the entire Lord of The Rings story; and, B) new to us, fantastical characters entirely created by J.R.R. Tolkien, so need some introduction.
I had that same dilemma when I sat down to write this first blog entry: Where to begin?
And my “aha moment” was of course to tell you something of the derivation of Ro Delahanty, the central character in my books.
The first book, Ro’s Handle, has just been released by World Castle Publishing.
The second Ro novel, The Berlin Riddle, is drafted and just needs some polishing.
I’ve done a chapter outline for the third book, with the working title of Losses, and have drafted more than a dozen chapters.
So, who is Ro Delahanty and where does she come from?
She is a strong female character.
That’s it; that’s where I started. I wanted to create a strong female central character.
Beyond that original conception she was a blank slate.
I wanted her to have a fairly unusual occupation for a female, as well as one that could put her in conflict situations that would test her strength and mettle — so she ended up being a deputy sheriff.
But, at the same time, I did not want her to be a cardboard super-heroine — so Ro is very much conflicted about some things.
I wanted her to have a not typical and at the same time strong name for a female — so where did “Ro Delahanty” come from?
Well, first, my father’s best friend’s wife was named Roe. She was the only person I’ve ever met who was named Roe. So I guess that name has always been there lurking in the back of my mind waiting to be dredged up when the time came…
Except, my Ro is not “Rowena,” but “Rowan,” which in Irish means “red headed one.” And yes, my Ro is definitely Irish and red-headed…. And no, my Ro is not in any way based on that actual Roe, at least, not that I recall….
Now, where did Delahanty came from? No clue… I’m sure I must have bumped into that name somewhere along the way, but have no recollection as to when or where. So, like “Ro,” when I needed an unusual Irish name — you hear lots about Murphys and O’Reillys, but rarely Delahantys — it apparently just rose to the surface when I was, as they say, fleshing out the character I wanted to create in my books.
(C) 2017 Dave Lager