When I pull together characters for stories, the number one rule I have is “Every adventure story needs a Groot.”
Or an R2D2, even a Hodor—characters who are integral to the plot of the story, and prove so memorable that entire legions of fans go devotee for them.
I love these characters for one simple reason, they are pure souls with simple, heartstring-pulling origin stories whose entire existence revolves around friendship and devotion. They are the relief in a sad world. They are the proof that all is not lost when humans, yet again, prove flawed beyond repair.
In the Maiden of Gevaudan, that character is a house sprite named Cosmina—Coz for short. The life of our protagonist, Kat, is shifted and often held together by this mythical creature known as a Bichura.
I fell in love with this Turkish poltergeist that is more Jinn than fairy upon first discovery, and as I wrote Coz into the story and began to research beasties such as her more and more it turned out there are legends of house sprites in almost every culture on earth, many of them donning the red babushka and dress that the Bichura is said to always wear.
Why a house sprite, you ask?
Well, it started with a family movie night where we watched Miyazaki’s Spirited Away and, despite the fact we’d seen it a hundred times before, I lost myself in No Face. I needed a character that felt like him to serve as Kat’s guide through the increasingly bizarre, mystical, and cruel landscape of the Gevaudan.
Since Kat’s origins are Moldavian and her father served the Ottoman, it seemed only appropriate to keep the mythology and her perception of the creature congruent with that rather than resort to the French version—la lutine.
I ended up creating a character which derives from the natural world, having the look of a beastie made up vines and branches, in her classic red headscarf and dress, but must return the confines of the house she protects for her own survival.
The devotion Coz demonstrates and sacrifices she willingly endures for Kat and others who inhabit the space of Chateau d’Apcher make her one of the most beloved characters I have ever written.
Can’t wait to reveal her in full to all of you.