So excited to be taking part in the blog tour for Hallowed - author Cynthia Hand is here to tell give us insight On Christian....
Christian was one of the very first images to come to me when I was writing Unearthly. I, like Clara, saw this boy standing in the trees, and I was intrigued by him, and I really, really wanted to know who he was, and what he was doing there. So I set about finding out.
I said in an earlier post on this tour on Serendipity Reviews that I never meant for the readers of Unearthly to get to know Christian very well. The reason for this is because I wanted to push back, just a little, at the idea of insta-love. Now I can be a sucker for love-at-first-sight stories as much as the next girl, and I must confess that the first time I met my husband I was like, mmmm, hubba, hubba, hello blue eyes! (which I thankfully did not say out loud), but I resist a lot of these YA books where the characters fall instantly in love with a boy they only just met. That’s not real life, at least not the way I know it. Attraction, sure. Love. . .er, no.
I thought Clara’s attraction to Christian was natural. He’s hot, after all. And she knows he’s important. She’s constantly having visions of him, after all, and believes that she is destined to save his life, and some of these visions have a romantic vibe in them. So of course her heart is going to beat all wonky around him. But I also thought it was better if Christian didn’t return that attention. Even better, if he was already involved with someone else.
I had some experience with this. In high school I had a painful, painful crush on a boy who didn’t know I existed. Okay, I shouldn’t say he didn’t know I existed. He did. He knew my name. I think he even liked me, as a person. But he seemed blissfully unaware of my wide-eyed, sweaty-palmed, squeaky-voiced transformation whenever I was around him. I wasn’t in his league, I told myself. (Later, when I was older, I would head-slap that 16-year-old version of myself and say, heck yes I was in his league, maybe he wasn’t in my league, ever think about that?!) Now, I wasn’t unpopular in high-school (I wasn’t super popular either; I had my group of friends and they had me, and I was happy with that), and eventually I had a boyfriend I liked a whole lot, and I certainly didn’t spend my high school years pining over Mr. Unavailable. I was far too busy for that. But I thought about him, sometimes. And I wondered what would happen if one day he’d just look at me, and see me, really see me?
This is the vibe I wanted to capture with Christian in Unearthly (and with Tucker, who is looking at Clara in the same way). Then I thought I’d take Clara to a moment when Christian does see her, and find out how she would react to that. Would she pick the perfect boy she had constructed for herself out of her visions and her daydreams? Or would she pick the real-life, flesh-and-blood boy she really knows?
In Hallowed, things get a whole lot more complicated. I’m wicked that way, I suppose. Bwa ha ha. I intended for us to get to know Christian in this book, at least a lot more than we knew him in Unearthly. He’s still a bit mysterious, but I think we also come to see him as a good guy, considerate, someone who understands Clara for who she is (or maybe I should say what she is) and is attracted to that about her, someone who is really there for her when she needs a shoulder to cry on. He proves himself to be a good friend to her, and I think this is so important to them building a real relationship. Friendship is key to real love.
He is also (good characters are FLAWED, like I said earlier in my Tucker post!) far from perfect. He’s a bit spoiled, first of all. He’s not used to having to work hard to get what he wants (in this way he is like the polar opposite of Tucker, who has had to work his cute little butt off for everything), and he can get a tad superior, at times, and entitled. He has some room to grow up still, I think. They all do. And while he understands Clara in a way that ultimately Tucker can never understand her, there’s also something that’s still conflicted about his feelings for her. Deep down, I think, Christian doesn’t like to be told what to do. He especially doesn’t dig the idea that he is being told who to love. He’s trying to be okay with it, to accept his purpose on this earth, to believe in destiny, but there’s a small part of him that resists, even as he gets to know and like Clara for who she is and not just who she is supposed to be.
It’s a true triangle, in this book. This will make some readers groan, I know. Clara herself groans about that. But for me this story isn’t about a character who loves two guys and has to choose between them. Seriously, it’s not. It’s a story about what we all face, when we have to choose between what we think we should do, and what our hearts desire, between what we need and what we want.
People who are Team Christian are romantics, I think. They believe in destiny. They believe in sacrifice for the greater good. They believe in selflessness.
That or they just think Christian is really hot.