Stephanie Talon falls into the same category as Gregorio Roman because she was never a game character. While I was planning the series, I realized that there were only 3 female characters. All of those were impressive and powerful and designed to have an impact on their scenes. I felt that having a more low key female character would be fun and fill another gap in the roster. None of my vampires specialized in rituals and scrying, which felt important for a series that revolved around a war. At least that’s how it turned out because Stephanie wanders through my notes for this series like she got lost on her way to another story.
Due to her having to be a low key character, I had to hold myself back. That wasn’t easy and resulted in her repeatedly getting left behind. She was an assassin at one point and the meek child of Clyde in another. Another version ended up being forgotten for two outlines before she returned as a noted ‘present’ thing. Finally, I made her a vampire twin and her brother ended up on the opposing side of the war. This was going smoothly until I realized the brother wasn’t working out and he got dropped. Obviously, things weren’t going well for Stephanie, so I put her on the shelf while I flushed out all of the other characters. This is when I noticed that ritual and scrying need. Unfortunately, she didn’t really fit well with Clyde, Mab, or Xavier.
I had taken a break to finish writing Legends of Windemere and went back to add another story that came to me. It was here that Stephanie popped up in the plot synopsis and stuck to Nadia Sylvan. She was like the woman’s obedient shadow and developed what I could only describe as love. The slightest bit of praise made her swoon and she was nearly as protective of Nadia as Lou. I planned on making her a personal maid, but that didn’t work with the ritual master thing. Instead, Stephanie became another adviser who butts heads with Kai. While he prefers physical spying, she believes magic is a superior method. She tends to play obvious favorites too if anyone disagrees with Nadia. Though, Xavier gets away with it because he’s the husband and Clyde simply unnerves Stephanie because of his new powers. Still, she now had a role and personality that ended up making her fun to write. I couldn’t use her as often as I’d have liked because of her specialties, but she’s there to stay.
One of the really fun parts about Stephanie Talon is that I immediately decided to make her something other than human. I went with a calico, which are the cat-people of Windemere. This meant she was a vampire with tufts of hair on her ears, natural grace and agility, and a tail. One of my favorite things to do with Stephanie is have her act like a pampered cat because putting a vampire twist seems to give her a playful personality. For example, when threatened, she can puff up her long tail with blood and it becomes huge with a dark red tint. It’s a small quirk, but those are what make characters so memorable in these stories.