*Some of this blog entry contains elements that would be considered as spoilers.
The Taming of Lions was an accidental series (can I say that?!) And not one that I ever planned on writing. It was a story that came to me during a time I tried working on a completely different concept. But there I was, sitting on my couch thinking of a character I had created years back when it hit me: Charlie was ready to come out of hiding. It was time to write his story. So, I moved my current project to the side and gave Charlie the time he needed to finally get his story onto paper.
During my 2010-2011 writing years, Charlie was in the conceptual phase. He was imagined as this confused old man sitting on a park bench—that was it. I had no idea what he was confused about or why he was sitting on a park bench in the first place, which made any idea of a story fall flat for me. It was until 2016 that I had that "A-ha!" moment. I realized that Charlie was confused about his identity. The tricky part for me was figuring out who he was and what he was confusing his identity with? Not to mention, why was he confused in the first place?
The first question that leads into the book was: "I was once a lion tamer...Or was it that I herded sheep?" Perhaps this was a risky way to open up the story, but quite honestly, it was best way I could have done it. Some of my readers have told me that it possessed a haunting quality throughout the novel and it wasn't until the end that it jumped out in front of you and yelled, "boo!" did you realize how profound that question was. Hearing that solidified my decision--and I haven't regretted it since.
The idea of being a lion tamer vs. a sheepherder symbolized the two different versions that Charlie sees of himself. On an even deeper level, that question asks: was he courageous enough to follow his dreams, or did he settle for society's expectations? As the story progresses, and we learn more about Charlie, the lion and sheep motifs are much deeper than originally conceptualized.
Edward was another character that came in many forms back in 2010-2011. First, I saw him as a young boy, but I soon discovered that the theme of his character felt more mature for a child to work within the story. His main two conflictions throughout the first book were about himself and his love life, which subsequently carries on throughout the series in different forms.
Throughout his life, he spent the majority of his time trying to be the person he thought everyone wanted him to be. He was constantly battling with this idea that he was never good enough--and this battle followed him through adolescence and into adulthood.
When it came to love, he was always chas
ing after the idea of finding "the one," which is something a lot of us have done on some level within our own lives. He, however, isn't mean to find "the one" in his life yet. As we all know, we have to first find love within ourselves, so until Edward does the work, he will not reap the rewards.
When I planned the idea for this book, I honestly wanted the novel to become a standalone book. I thought for sure that one novel would wrap up everything, but thanks to my inner voice and my beta readers, they all said the one thing I was afraid to admit, "there was no way!"
The Taming of Lions is a story about self-discovery, love, and loss. It's about staying true to ourselves and not settling for anything--no matter how easy it is to do so. Charlie and Edward are two parallel characters, battling the same dilemma of discovering who they truly are. Their accidental first encounter, which then blossomed into this unexpected friendship, helped get them onto the right path into figuring it out.
While some elements of the book were tied up quite nicely at the end of volume 1, I knew after writing the last chapter, there was no way I could honestly wrap up Edward. I would have done a disservice to his character and the story should I have introduced him to "the one" or given him the answer to the question of "who am I?" He only laid down the foundation of this work in the first book, which is why in Volume 2, the real "dirty work" begins.
My hope with this novel that the story was able to connect with my readers on a deeper level. Perhaps, it provided perspective or answered some questions of their own. I don't merely write books for the sake of writing them. I want to give something to my readers--little "takeaways" so-to-speak. And I hope I did just that.