Enjoy this insight into Tracy’s latest foray into ancient times:~
Cassia’s a petite Mediterranean woman, with some uncertain parentage that’s given her reddish streaks in her dark hair. She has a big smile.
Julian is a tall, muscular Roman, who comes across as intense most of the time.
I used this stock photo while writing Petra, to help picture Cassia. Although the boy in this photo is younger than Alexander, it helped me imagine her connection to him.
For Julian, maybe a young Bruce Willis… that mischievous little smile that lets you know he’s up to something.
Strengths and weaknesses
Cassia is a strong woman, though at the start of the story, she doesn’t know it. She has always relied on others, and when the story opens she determines that she’ll stand alone to take care of herself and her son. She loves Alexander fiercely and would do anything to protect him. The danger in Petra brings out that protective streak, but it also challenges Cassia to understand how to be part of a community and rely on others, not just herself. Along the way, she also discovers the source of true strength, and the only way she can open herself to love again.
Julian’s mistakes in the past have convinced him that he should remain in the background, not try to lead people. But he’s a born leader, and through the story he learns how to lead from love, not from pride.
Quirk (if any)
Julian has a hidden talent for sculpting – an unusual thing for Roman nobility. He puts it to good use in the rock city of Petra.
Your inspiration for the character
While writing Petra, my youngest son was the same age as Alexander, and he was definitely my inspiration for Alexander’s character. So I’d have to say that my inspiration for Cassia was my own emotional ties to my son – throughout the story I felt that same desire to do anything to save him.
For Julian, I think I also drew on parts of myself. I am also driven to make things work and run “my plan,” regardless of the wisdom that might be spoken by God and others. I’m slowly learning, like Julian, to give up control of my own agenda and seek what God wants for my life.
Background to the story
The settings of my stories always inspire me. I travelled to Petra to research this book, and wandering around that city cut into stone cliffs gave me all the inspiration I needed to create Cassia and Julian. Cassia loves the protective feeling of the high cliffs all around her because she’s never felt truly safe. Julian has come to Petra to hide, so the city-in-rock is perfect for him. In some ways, the city created the characters for me.
While researching the history of Petra, I ran across a few “unknowns,” one of which was why the capital city of the Nabatean kingdom peacefully gave itself up to the Roman Empire, when rulership and power were always fought over. I worked backward from there, developing my own tale to explain that momentous event in history.
Always a pleasure to have you visit, Tracy! Thanks for so much for sharing ~ I really enjoyed these characters
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