Blogs from 2011
The Harman and Redfern Family Tree OR Hecate Witch-Queen’s Family Tree
and was so complicated that even the most Deluxe of the Exclusive Family Tree software programs out there couldn’t begin to accommodate it, at least not in the ordinary, top down manner. (You know: where your grandmother and grandfather are at the top, and your mom and her brother, your Uncle Jack, are underneath, each with a spouse, and you and your two sisters and Aiden your little brother are on the bottom, with your obnoxious cousin Sean is right across from you, on the same line, but under Uncle Jack.) I’ve been asked when and how (and why on earth?) would I try to make a family tree that spanned about four thousand years of history,
I once coaxed a computer into drawing a shorter version of the family tree of Hecate Witch-Queen, and her two daughters, Hellewise Hearth-Woman the Mother of all Witches, and Maya Dragonslayer, the First Vampire for me. It came out on sixteen pieces of paper, I believe, that I had to put together like a puzzle. It covered the floor like a new rug and was completely impractical for reference (unless I wanted to paste it up like new wallpaper).
Before I say anything about how the family tree finally worked out, I’d like to explain why I started it. It’s for the characters in the Night World, and anyone who’s read the Night World series has undoubtedly already recognized the names Maya and Hellewise. But I started the tree before I knew that Maya and Hellewise existed. I started it for SECRET VAMPIRE, the first book in the Night World series; I did it for Poppy, the heroine. Or, to be more precise, for James Rasmussen, Poppy’s vampire soulmate, who was, I later decided, from the Redfern family, the strongest family of vampires in the world. I gave him a mother and a father, because I wanted him to have a history, and so I made him one of the lamia. Lamia (as far as I know) is really only an old word for vampire, but Night World lamia are vampires who were never human, who can breathe and eat and make more little lamia, like humans. But they’re still vampires, and their need to feed on the blood of mortal beings is just as strong as the made vampires, whose name is self-explanatory.
Made vampires are people like Poppy, who started as a human girl who had terminal and very aggressive cancer. She chose to let James make her into a vampire instead of living on for a few weeks or months in terrible pain and then dying from the cancer. She took a gamble, because even for a teen, the exchange of blood doesn’t always work. There’s an element of risk that the human being changed won’t be able to endure the process and will just burn out, as happens with all humans over eighteen or nineteen. Made vampires can’t grow a year older or an inch taller, where lamia can turn the aging process off and on as they like.
But back to the family tree. I wanted something special about the lamia, so I decided that they all (except the suburbanites who were trying to fit in) should have names of natural things: plants, animals, or minerals—gems, jewels, stones. That’s why the notorious lamia Ash Redfern had three sisters: Rowan, Kestrel and Jade. And that’s why James’ mother, a conservative Redfern is named Madder (a plant) and called Maddy. His father, from a less prestigious and more liberal line, the Rasmussens, is named Jasper, which just happens to be a mineral, but is also an ordinary human name.
I figured this much out for SECRET VAMPIRE. But if you look at them, in square C-17 of Version 1 of the family tree, they are a tiny island, with very little importance.
I really began to take the family tree seriously with the next book, DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS. In that book, Ash Redfern’s sisters tell Mary-Lynnette, the heroine, about a very important (and still very much alive) lamia called Hunter Redfern, who established many of the rules for the Redferns and the other lamia after he came to be the most powerful vampire in the world, save one—and she was only a legend to most. Hunter Redfern had allied the two families, the Redferns and the Harmans, by getting a witch, Maeve Harman, to do a blood-tie ceremony with him, making the two families relatives after many millennia of separation. He did it because like the patriarchal chauvinist that he was, he wanted a son to succeed him,. His wife Modesty was dead, and he had only daughters: Garnet, Lily, and Dove (Quinn fans take note). Unfortunately, even after the ceremony, Maeve Harman had a girl: Roseclear Redfern Harman. So after that, all Harmans and Redferns—the crème de la crème of vampires and witches had a little of the other clan in them.
Finally, in SPELLBINDER, the heroine Thea Harman tells the story of Hecate and her two daughters and I had a family tree that spanned many thousands of years and a headache. After that I was careful that everyone fit somewhere into the family tree I had outlined, even Delos Redfern, Wild Power and vampire from BLACK DAWN had his own little kingdom. Even lost witches like Gillian Lennox (Harman) from DARK ANGEL and Iliana Harman from WITCHLIGHT had their places. And I noticed something interesting. All the protagonists in the Night World books were falling into the same vertical line: they were all related and they were all about the same age. They’re in red on the family tree that Usok so cleverly mapped onto a system of reference.
I hope to do the same thing for the shapeshifters, although information about them is much more sparse. STRANGE FATE will clear up much of that confusion, and at last there will be enough about werewolves and other ’shifters to put onto paper. Right now, most people know that Galen Drache of the First Family of the Shapeshifters, whose chosen shape is a leopard to match his soulmate Keller’s black panther, has a cousin named Kierlan Drache who also chose a shape in the large cat family. And if you look at the very bottom of Hecate’s family tree you’ll find the vampire who is also a witch, although he hasn’t cultivated his powers, Mal Redfern Harman. (Witches are matrilineal—they pass the name through the female line). They’re the two soulmates of the human girl Sarah Strange.
I’d like to thank Mr. Usok Choe for this magnificent rendition of the Harman/Redfern Family Tree. You could actually play a game on this board: give a letter and number and then someone would have to make up a story about a person in that square. Of course, you’d have to keep to the A, B, C, and Ds pretty much or allow descriptions to also be part of names.
By the way, please don’t keep asking when STRANGE FATE will come out. I appreciate your eagerness, but every time I answer an email or Forum query about it, it takes time, and, more important, concentration away from my working at the book. It literally sets me back a day for each query, because I can’t get back into Sarah’s mind. I’m writing as fast as I can. And don’t believe any release date unless it comes from me. Thank you very kindly.