On Writing Gray Heart Blog Post #6: Writing Kanna and Kenneth

Hello Dear Reader!

Sorry for my absence last week. Final exams were a doozy, but I managed to pass all of them! I’m especially super proud of my final exam grade in financial accounting because I got an A.

Anyway! You’re not here to hear me rant about how happy I am about my grades. You’re here to hear—or rather read—about my book, Gray Heart. Before I get into the Kanna and Kenneth in the Dark Irregular Trilogy, I’m going to talk about them before the world of Dark Irregular even existed.

Yes, there was a story that had Kenneth and Kanna before Dark Irregular, and it remains unfinished to this very day. Will I ever re-write it? Maybe, but that’s for another time.

Also, if you haven’t read Dark Irregular and/or White Blossom, I highly advise you read at your own risk, because spoilers are very much a thing.

If you’ve ever read any of my previous blog posts, you’ll probably remember I talked about said story for a brief time, called The Last Red Sorceress. Instead of knights, the characters were all either sorceresses or sorcerers, and it was heavily, heavily focused on magic battles instead of close-combat scenes mixed with weapons and spells. Also, instead of soul charms and swords, characters had the classic wand with a certain carved jewel sitting at the very top.

While Kanna still had the role of main character of The Last Red Sorceress, Kenneth didn’t play as big of a role in the story as he does in the trilogy. In this original story, Kenneth held first rank in the academy for sorcerers and sorceresses, which is basically the equivalent to high school. He was part of the group known as The Big Four, which consisted of the top students in each of the four elemental magic divisions: air, water, fire, and earth. Kenneth was top of the water division and had abilities that far surpassed those of the student in the second rank. In fact, Kenneth’s abilities were so great for a person his age, he held the rank of number one both in his division and in the academy the entirety of his four years there. I decided to keep his prodigious skill in Dark Irregular, which has earned him the populous-given title of West Sylenia’s Star of Hope.

While I did plan for Kanna and Kenneth to become friends in The Last Red Sorceress—I say plan because I never got to the point where they actually became friends—their relationship was meant to be more of a rivalry than a strong friendship. The reason for this is that Kanna got a ruby when she went through the trial of creating her wand, something that happens once every few hundred years. This is also something I kept in Dark Irregular, because she also receives a ruby during the apprentices’ showcase, a phenomenon that happened just as rarely in the original story.  

After much debate, the professors and headmaster of the academy decide to place Kanna in the water division, where Kenneth obviously resides as number one. This spurs a lot of talk among the students of the academy, creating a rather unwanted, but eventually accepted, rivalry between the two. Also, Kanna was a freshman at the time while Kenneth was a senior, so, naturally, people started comparing the two, calling Kanna a “second Kenneth Reiner” because of her ruby. I also kept this in the trilogy, because in Dark Irregular, there was much talk of Kanna being a lot like Kenneth among the major generals, mainly because of her natural power and ability to learn things quickly.

In addition to their rivalry, Kanna acted as a sort of mentor to Kanna, but not to the great extent he did in Dark Irregular. In The Last Red Sorceress, he was more of a tutor in the rare times she needed help. While he wouldn’t give full, complete answers to her, he would give her enough info so she would be able to figure out problems on her own. After Kenneth graduates, the two do keep in touch, but their relationship resembles more of a good friendship as well as a mentor-student bond, possibly even bordering that of a brother-sister connection… and if you’ve read Dark Irregular and White Blossom, you know that last one isn’t at all what their relationship is like at all.

Fast forward to seventh-grade and the creation of the world and story in Dark Irregular. Kanna is still the main character, and Kenneth is still in it, only with a much larger role than I had intended. Long story short, the trilogy was supposed to be more action-packed than it is now with a good bit of character development, but it ended up becoming more of a coming-of-age story than anything, centered around Kanna. Instead of just focusing on Kanna and the main villain of each book, the trilogy became more focused on the developing relationship between her and Kenneth. While hints of any romantic feelings between them are sparse and very, very vague in Dark Irregular, it really does pick up a lot in White Blossom. And in Gray Heart, well… you’re just going to have to read the book to find out.

Without spoiling much else, my intention in writing Kanna and Kenneth’s relationship was mainly to bring out the best in each other and being each other’s pillars of support. I wanted them to compliment each other while also challenging each other to change and become better people, and I really hope I was able to accomplish that even a little bit by the end of the trilogy.

Would you let me know?

I hope you enjoyed this blog post, dear reader! Gray Heart releases in less than a week, and I hope you’re as excited as I am about it. If you have any thoughts, comments, or questions about this post about Kanna and Kenneth, leave them down below or message me on Instagram or Facebook @kaitlyn_b_legaspi or @kaitlynblegaspi. Also, if you enjoyed this post, subscribe for blog notifications every week! If you do, you’ll get a shareable link to the sneak-peek of Gray Heart, which is available up until release day!

Thanks for reading!

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