When I ask readers which character from The Journey of the Marked is their favorite, more often than not, the response is Tip. I recently had two readers panic that something happens to Tip when I mentioned a death. This caused me to question why Tip warrants such a consistent reaction. First, a little background on Tip:
My cover artist, Em Wright, based the picture on the left on my description of Tip. He’s Liput, so the tips of his hair change color each day randomly. Consistent with the average Liput, he’s skilled with machinery. While he’s strong from farming, he lacks the skill to fight effectively.
Liputs avoided the earlier conflicts on the planet; yet Tip’s two brothers were marked at 16 followed by him. While most of the marked find honor in the call to Anyamae’s side, Tip fears what he must face when he abandons his home. Tip is an underdog.
Throughout book one, Tip slowly evolves, gaining courage and forging a bond with the other marked ones. But how will he contribute to the journey if fighting isn’t his strength? And will the others afford him the same respect they do those that can fight? It’s this fascination that makes Tip popular. You find yourself cheering for him and hoping he succeeds.
Yes, I think we’ll all have to keep cheering for Tip. After all, he needs a confidence boost!
The Liputs are one of the key species in book one of The Miyran Heir series. They live in a community called Kentish, south of the primary city (Caldot) in my novel. If you have trouble picturing Kentish, imagine the colorful homes of Burano (Venice, Italy), but without the canal and with flower boxes at the windows.
Deciding on names for people and places is always a challenge for me because they have to “fit” — so I often lean on what’s familiar. So where did I come up with Kentish? From my home state of Kentucky. I’m afraid I don’t remember a specific driver behind the species name Liput, except that it just seemed to work.
After reading book one, one of my friends likened the Liputs to Hobbits. While they are clearly different physically, he was right that the Liputs are the species most connected to the land. They’re farmers. They live simply and prefer the outdoors and open space. Another similarity to Hobbits is that they aren’t fighters or natural adventurers.
The Liputs are similar in appearance to Humans, except for one interesting trait — the tips of an individual’s hair change color each day randomly. In rare circumstances, someone might have tips in two colors. A depiction of one of the Liputs is to the left. So what possessed me to build in this trait? Quite honestly, I just thought it was fun. How amazing would it be to have your hair change color like that!
At least one reviewer commented on the fact that if the Liputs are strong, they should be able to fight. I think that’s true to a point. However, I believe that strength and skill are two different things. An individual can be strong and still not be able to punch a moving target or block an advance, if not trained to do so. This is where the Liputs fall short. While they’re strong due to farming the land, they don’t learn fighting techniques and lack the confidence, or even the interest, in settling conflicts with physical force.
But don’t count them out just yet. Yes, this series is about a physical conflict, but one doesn’t have to be a fighter to make a difference. The big question is will the Liputs hide behind the electric barrier around Kentish or will they lend a hand?
- Tip: Marked at 16
- Tren: Tip’s father
- Mirna: Tip’s mother
- Trul and Sri: Tip’s brothers
- Lictia: Mirna’s friend