Aerigo could have easily been the main character of the story. For a while I wanted him to be, but he patiently went along as he waited for me to help him fulfill his role, along with balance out his story without overpowering Roxie’s. So much of his backstory is relevant to the trilogy; his life has revolved around the central conflict. It’s easy to bog everything down with useless trivia that doesn’t progress the story or any of the characters. I have my work cut out for me once I start revising Hesitation. However, as I practice and progress with my craft, my storytelling is slowly getting better. I’m slowly learning how to better incorporate backstory without halting the forward action.
Naming Aerigo took some time. He’d originally been called Virago, a name I thought I’d made up. After a year of getting attached to the name, a dear cousin of mine recognized the word and advised I give him a new one. My handy dandy Apple dictionary says “virago” means this: “a domineering, violent, or bad-tempered woman; a woman of masculine strength or spirit; a female warrior.” Yeah, I ditched that name for him in a hurry.
I tweaked an Italian name to come up with “Aerigo.” I picked Italian just for the way the language sounds. Smooth, flowing, beautiful. I wanted a name for him that flowed, yet sounded strong and comforting when spoken/read.
When I first started this trilogy, I drew a blank on how to make Aerigo look. Do I make someone super handsome that the girl of the story will obvious fall in love with at one point? Do I have him look like my dream man (like I know what that looks like)? Do I have him look like a guy all the girls adore? Do I give him a more average appearance so people won’t envy him? What the heck do I have him look like?
I ended up having his past build his appearance, along with the role he plays. He’s quite muscular, but not too much muscle. His dangerous life demands he be the strongest one around and that he can move his bulk with martial grace. He’s tall as well. I haven’t settled on an exact height since it doesn’t matter, but I always imagine him somewhere around 6’3″, a height people on average look up to, a height that will assure you that this person can protect you. He is a warrior and protector. Blue eyes were my favorite growing up. Now I have no preference, but that doesn’t matter. He’s clean-shaven both on face and scalp. He travels tons. Being spared having to pack hair products gives him one less thing to worry about on a daily basis. No beard or mustache is just his preference and, ahem, mine.
It turns out his appearance is strikingly similar a certain actor I’m going to leave unnamed. Funny thing is, I didn’t know he existed until a year after I started working on book one. You can make of that what you wish.
Aerigo shares a lot more of my personality than Roxie does, yet he’s still his own person. He’s quiet and serious, trustworthy and compassionate, honest and driven. He lives for others, instead of for himself. Where he deviates from me is that he makes a good soldier. He’s been in several different militaries over the years. He’s also much more masculine (I’d hope). I’ve had several different men help me “de-girlify” him when my guesses at how a guy would behave are totally off. I can only figure out so much with being able to read minds.
Aerigo’s character arc is something I believe anyone can relate to. It focuses on matters of the heart. Hopefully readers will completely understand what he’s going through and/or has gone through in one way or another. His role in book 3 in particular is going to be very challenging to write, but I’m game for it.