Sunday, October 14, 2012

Character Profile - Roland Trudeau


Wow, it’s Sunday already! I thought it was only yesterday, or maybe the day before? There is no weight posting this week. Sorry. My scales broke. (Oh, ha-ha. That’s funny. No, I did not break them; the batteries went dead.) I should have them back on line next week and y’all can see how skinny I’ve gotten over a two-week span.

   Part of the reason this week went by so quickly was that I have been extremely busy. I was in some intensive training for work most of the week, studying at night, and burning the candle at both ends. I had zero time for writing, and, frustrating as that is, I’ve just had to accept it.

 
   The good news is, the new cover for The Draculata Nest is done, and the cover for The Dragon of Doughton Park may be ready this week. I’ve been spending all my “free” time formatting the text of those books for publication in paperback and ebook. It is tedious work, but I need to make sure the insides live up to the great outsides that Ray DeLotell and Rich Westover have come up with!
   Some weeks ago, I gave a copy of The Draculata Nest to a co-worker of mine. Let’s call her… Diana. (Actually, that’s her name.) For a while, whenever we bumped into each other in the hallway, there were the standard, awkward excuses for not having read enough of the book to give an evaluation. Then, one morning, the phone extension in my office rang. It was her.
    I like Roland.
   He can be charming, can’t he?
   Yes.
   She was referring to Roland Trudeau, one of the main vampire characters in the Red Wolf saga. We chatted a little about the book (It’s easy to draw me into a conversation about my writing, you know.) Eventually, we both hung up and got back to work. Several days later, my phone rang again.
   I don’t like Roland any more.
  He doesn’t really care about anyone but himself, does he?
  No. I can’t believe he…
  Okay, we won’t go into the rest. You’ll have to read the book to really appreciate Trudeau’s machinations. Diana and I speculated some why he does the things he does. He is charming, seductive, ruthless, and soulless. Through the course of the Red Wolf saga, he becomes the character you love to hate. What makes him the way he is?
   Well, he is a vampire, after all. And in the Red Wolf novels, in case you didn’t know, vampires are the bad guys. That, in itself, explains a lot. But I thought I might take the opportunity to reveal to you some of his past, some things that are only hinted at in the story. Maybe it will shed some light on what sets him apart from other vampires in the nastiness department. Here goes...

   Roland Trudeau was born in Paris, France, during the latter part of the reign of Louis XIV. He was the bastard son of a minor aristocrat, Marc Trudeau, and a rather prominent courtesan of the time, Christelle Armand.

    Marc was in love with Christelle, as were a number of his peers, and when she revealed that he was the father of her child, he believed the pregnancy would cement their relationship and proposed to marry her. Christelle would have none of it. She was doing quite well in her chosen profession and had higher aspirations than Marc could provide. Shortly after the birth, she presented the infant Roland to Marc and told him she would not be able to help him rear the child. Marc, himself, did not want to be saddled with an infant, and shipped the baby off to live with his brother, Phillipe, who managed the family estate near Auxerre.

   Phillippe Trudeau was a family man at heart. He and his wife, who was barren, welcomed Roland and reared him as their own. Unlike many of the aristocracy, Phillippe worked alongside his men in the family vineyards, and he taught Roland to do the same. He loved the boy and the boy loved him, and when Phillippe contracted a sudden illness and died when Roland was seventeen, he left the family estate as the boy’s inheritance, Roland’s real father having been killed in a duel years before.

   Roland displayed an amazing talent for managing the Trudeau holdings, despite his young age. He was a natural businessman, and he expanded the markets for the already well-established Trudeau wines throughout Western Europe. By the time Roland was in his late twenties, the Trudeau family was truly rich.

   Roland wasn’t just a good businessman. His personality and good looks served to solidify him a prominent place in French aristocratic society, and he became a patron of the arts. When he met and fell in love with the Parisian artist, Frederic Bellard, Roland’s life changed forever.

   Bellard was an older man whose work was not especially popular at the time, but his charismatic personality made him very influential for some of the popular younger artists of the time. Roland fell under his spell, set Bellard up in a luxurious apartment in Paris, and stayed with him whenever business brought him to the city, which he made sure was often. The affair lasted several years until Frederic fell ill from what may have been tuberculosis. Roland provided Frederic with the best medical care available in Paris, which was the best in the world at the time, but when the physicians informed Roland his lover’s death was imminent, Trudeau, in desperation, sought help from an unlikely source, his mother.

    Christelle Armand had prospered greatly over the years. She was now known throughout Paris as The Lady of the Night. In spite of her advancing age, she continued to retain her youthful good looks. Many rumors surrounded her mysterious comings and goings, one of which was that she drank the blood of her lovers to stay young. Indeed, she was a vampire, and when Roland approached her she revealed to him her true nature.

   Christelle Armand refused Roland’s plea to bestow immortality on the ailing Frederic, but the maior of the Parisian Nest did not. The powerful French vampire, Dijon, saw great potential in the rich and popular young aristocrat. He offered to turn Roland and in turn allow Roland to turn his dying lover, knowing he would effectively gain control of the Trudeau riches in the bargain. Roland accepted the offer, became a vampire, and immediately went to Frederic with the promise of immortality.

   Frederic refused the offer. Immortality at the cost of his soul was not an attractive prospect for the old artist. He’d lived a good life and was ready to die. Roland was devastated. He begged and pleaded with his dying lover to no avail. Unwilling to let go, Roland forced himself on Frederic and attempted to turn him against his will. It didn’t work. Roland was too young a vampire. He was unskilled in turning anyone. To his eternal regret, he succeeded only in draining Frederic of every drop of blood. Frederic Bellard died, and with him went the final vestiges of Roland’s humanity.
   The remaining years of the 16th century were hard ones for Roland Trudeau. His maker, Dijon, was a harsh taskmaster. He used Trudeau mercilessly. He taunted him about his bastard origins, reminding Roland over and over that he didn’t deserve his family’s wealth. He sent Roland on all the most difficult and unpleasant errands. The Trudeau fortune disappeared over the years, their vineyards dried up, and the estate fell into disrepair and dereliction.

   But the French Revolution reversed Trudeau’s fortunes. French aristocratic vampires were not immune to the spirit of 1789, including Dijon. He lost his head to the infamous, silver-infused blade of the guillotine used by the vampiric bourgeoisie in Paris. The Parisian Nest was purged of all aristocracy. Roland, who everyone now knew as “the bastard” was spared.

   With his maker gone, Roland was free. He vowed never again to suffer under anyone’s rule but his own. He left Paris to seek his fortunes elsewhere. He travelled the world, especially the Far East, where he picked up his martial arts skills and became an expert with the katana. For a hundred years he wandered from nest to nest, until an opportunity arose for him in Eastern Europe when the red wolf, Alfonse the Vicious, tried to organize the Lycan into an army and began a thirty year war with the vampires.

   Roland was at the right place at the right time. His fighting skills helped him rise quickly through the ranks of the vampire army that was thrown together to stop the wolves. He proved to be a master strategist. In the end, it was his plan that was used to engineer the assassination of Alfonse and bring the war to a close.

   Roland Trudeau came away from the war with a solid reputation as an expert in fighting the Lycan. Since then he has used that reputation to amass a small fortune as a consultant wherever a nest faces a problem with wolves. In the 1940’s, the maior of the Queen City Nest in Charlotte brought him in to handle treaty negotiations with the famous Uwharrie Pack of werewolves, where he distinguished himself with his political skills. The maior offered him a permanent position as her second-in-command. Roland accepted, seeing the position as a stepping stone to the power he craved.
   Since then, Roland Trudeau has been biding his time, waiting for the opportunity he knows will come. Since the prophesy of the red wolf has resurfaced in his territory, he feels the time is now.

Remember:
   From now until the time Dragon goes on sale, the ebook price for The Draculata Nest has been reduced to only $0.99. You can purchase it through one of the following venues. Click on the link that applies to you.

 DNest for kindle   DNest for nook   DNest in paperback   in Charlotte


 Until next time… Happy Reading!

 

1 comment:

  1. John I'm pumped about the next cover and I feel like the third cover should be along the lines of the example I just completed, sort of medieval like an etching... Glad to be apart of the whole thing. Ray

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