I know there's a trend to draw elaborate histories to fictional characters. Long family trees that go way back and show how everyone's related to evil Aunt Edna and the such.
So, in the same spirit as Tolkien and Rowlings, I've decided to fill you in on how Billi came about. What's more is I'm going way, way back.
Conan the Barbarian is probably the first recognisable ancestor of Billi SanGreal. I loved the old Frazetta covers and spent many an hour trying vainly to copy them. Some of you may know I started my storytelling career by writing my own roleplaying adventures. Well, most of them were variations of some Conan story or another. Beyond the Black River really sticks in my mind as being, perhaps, the definitive Conan tale. The dark hair, the deep broooding nature, the skill with the sword. The haircut. Billi inherited all these from the somber Cimmerian.
Okay, jumping forward a few millenia and we've got some Mongol horde in there, the odd Norseman (from the dad's side) and maybe some mysterious Bedouin from the deserts of Arabia. We alight on English shores, mid-late twelfth century, in Sherwood. Okay, she's got a dash of Robin of Loxley, that's for sure. Again from the dad's side there's the old Robin of Sherwood series from the early 1980's. Each generation has his or her Robin and mine was Michael Praed. What's more is the coolest character was Nazir, an Assassin. Doubly cool is that he and I have the same middle name. He fought with two scimitars, was the best swordsman and a man of few words. his actions spoke for him. On second thoughts, maybe Billi's descended more from him rather than Robin.
Into the early 19th Century and we've Napoleon on the map. Pretty much all over it, in fact. Richard Sharpe, English thug and hero of the Napoleonic wars is certainly a template of Billi and (more so) Arthur. He battles for his country, one that doesn't think much of him, and really struggles with what it's all about. He's good at what he does, so does it. In honour of Sharpe I have established that the SanGreal name was one amongst the staff of officers who fought for Napoleon at Waterloo. A cavalryman, because they were cool. The writer of the Sharpe novels, Bernard Cornwell, is a major influence on my writing.
What of the female line, I hear you ask? The Rani of Jhansi. An Indian queen who fought against the British as was very much India's Boudiccia. Billi's got South Asian blood so the old queen's spirit is certainly alive in her.
So, there you have it. Billi's evolution.