Why I wrote “Of Blood and Roses”

OF BLOOD AND ROSES is what I often like to call my passion project.

It was the one story that stuck with me since the age of thirteen until now, so I’m not exactly surprised that it’s the one that got me my literary agent and is on submission to editors as we speak.

The description and the beautiful cover that was designed for the novel can be found in the below post :


Blood. Grit. Honour.  Those are the Guardian’s Guild words. For the past five years, trapped in the underground Vesperian fighting Pits designed to turn even the most innocent of boys into hardened killers, that witless mantra is all that Draxler Druen has ever known. Light, warmth, and love have all become things of the past.…

While this novel is extremely different from some of the other works in progress I talk about on this site, like BEAUTIFUL MONSTERS or WHEN BLACK WAS BEAUTIFUL, it’s still just as important to me in a different way. Draxler and Aza — just two of the main characters in the story that I hope one day you’ll all become exceedingly familiar with — both represent a different part of me.

Draxler Druen is brave, selfless almost to the point of stupidity, a great warrior but one who is always filled with doubt. He’s prone to fits of anger and is known to hold a grudge, and though he likes to put up a strong exterior, he is probably one of the most sensitive characters in the novel. He just knows how to hide it well. He’s someone who loves entirely and completely, and in a way it’s both his greatest flaw and strength because it allows him to care about someone else unconditionally but also has the potential to land him in an abusive relationship.

He both loves and envies his older brother Daerion, who took care of them since the age of nine after their father died, and Daerion, in his eyes, is the picture perfect heir to their ancient warrior House. I see myself in him because I too, doubt myself — I’ve always aspired to meet my parents high standards of me and what they believe the future holds for me, which manifests not only in education but in moral values and what it means to be a woman. I can hold a grudge for a long time if I feel as though someone has truly hurt me, so forgiveness is never easily won, which of course, I’m trying to change.

I do put up a strong exterior but only because I feel as though I have to. I was often teased and humilated at school when I was younger, so silence and indifference became my sword and shield, instead of descending into the angry black girl that I knew everyone else was waiting for me to become. Both my father and mother are the Daerion to my Draxler — they looked out for me and cared for me when I was in a very difficult situation and they were the only ones who could help, so I want to be like them someday and be able to do the same for someone else.

In my eyes, just as it is with Draxler and Daerion, it’s a really difficult standard to try and live up to.

As for Azalea Rose, she’s also a warrior, but of the mind and the soul, rather than the body like Draxler is. Her life has been hard in a way that Draxler’s has never been — she has been emotionally and physically abused by her father, and feels as though her whole life is dictated not only by him but by the curse of being a girl born to what was supposed to have been the most powerful War family in the realm. Her father, the Lord Elder Rose, who acts as the antagonist of the first novel in the planned trilogy, resents Aza for the complications that came with her birth and her mother, the Lady Elder Rose, not being able to have another child.

In his eyes, she owes him her life, and he plans to make good use of it. For Azalea, because of this, she is used to not really having anyone to count on. She never really had friends growing up, save for her golden knight and sworn shield, Maen, but even he could never protect her from the Lord Elder Rose. When she leaves her family home to go and train at the Healers Guild, she feels free for the first time in her life, and as if she has purpose.

Azalea is an oxymoron, especially in the sense that she is both very selfless and selfish at the same time. She posseses a unique power in which she is able to take other people’s pain away with a single touch, or by injecting her blood, which she frequently uses, despite the pain it causes her. She would do anything for a friend, and never expects anything back, because even the people who claim to love her the most in the world have always failed her when it mattered most, so how much more could she expect from someone else?

But at the very same time, when it comes to Draxler and her love for him, she is very selfish indeed. She, in a sense, wants him all to herself, and she doesn’t care who she has to hurt or manipulate in order to have him, including Draxler himself. She does love him wholly and entirely — there has never been any other guy for her — and while she would never want to hurt him, her actions (which you will discover if the novel does end up being published), do take a toll on him and their relationship.

In comparing myself to Azalea, I would say that my strength comes from inside rather than outside too. I’ve never been especially fit or athletic, though I did play a few sports in schoool, but I’ve always believed that I’m an emotionally aware and mature person, often beyond what people would expect from someone my age. While I haven’t been abused, my family and friend relationships weren’t always the best from a young age, and that changed me intrinsically as a person as well.

I was lucky enough to have friends growing up, but I only have a couple of people that I know I can truly count on and don’t feel as though they are friends with me out of necessity or convenience, or because they think they can use me. I would do anything for a friend, and have gone above and beyond in the past, and when it comes to love, I am of the firm belief that once I find my person, I won’t ever want to let them go either.

I would fight tooth and nail for them, just as Aza would, and in that way, I would be very selfish. I also very driven when it comes to my writing and education in regards to becoming a nurse, so people have sometimes told me that I’ve been selfish in the decisions I’ve made, because they’ve favoured me and not someone else when it could have.

So, as you can see, the two lead characters from OF BLOOD AND ROSES, Draxler Druen and Azalea Rose, are like two sides of a coin when it comes to representing my personality. I believe that it’s important to be honest and expressive in my writing, and while I wasn’t about to sit down and compile my autobiography, I wanted my protagonists to be real as possible, and what better way is there to do that than take traits from real people?

So I loved writing OF BLOOD AND ROSES, just as much as I know I will love writing its sequel, OF BLOOD AND ANGELS, because it was cathartic and honest and raw just like the title entails. There were trials and tribulations, but somehow those low points only made the final product more worth it, just like how the challenges in my life shaped me as a person and made me into the version of myself that I am now.

And I quite like myself, just as I quite like my book.