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Researching and Writing Ratha's Courage.
Could Ratha, perhaps grown a bit creaky from dis-use, handle another adventure? The answer came back in a growl. Do the Named do their business in the woods? Yes, of course!
So I launched out on the adventure that became Ratha's Courage. I sat outside on the grass beside our creek and wrote notes and scenarios. I also made a decision. I would return to the strength of the first book, Ratha's Creature, which not only immersed but engulfed its reader in a big cat body, thoughts and world.
Slowly the Named awoke and reclaimed themselves. Gentle, patient Thakur, the herding teacher. Irascible Fessran, the Firekeeper leader. Stubborn little Thistle-chaser. Beautiful, even-tempered Bira, staunch Cherfan. The only one who couldn't return, to my deep regret, was flippant, irreverent Bonechewer, Ratha's UnNamed mate. In the fiery end to Ratha's Creature, I had killed off perhaps the best character I'd ever done, according to some reviewers.
The old themes returned; the struggle for survival, the mystery of the UnNamed, how the Red Tongue (fire) continued to change the Named, the continuing reconciliation with her daughter, Thistle-chaser, Ratha's development as a leader and a visionary, dreaming of extending friendship and help to those outside the clan.
New themes wound themselves into the growing tale, drawn from my experiences in working for various small EV companies. In the pages of an increasingly grubby notebook, I penned a what-if.