And so the earthy, complex Chai Fox, having fulfilled her role in the adventure, gracefully exits our story.
Most of my female readers have had a difficult relationship with Chai. Regardless of all her positive attributes, you ultimately saw her as an obstacle to Rick’s relationship with Sabrina, who’d already won you over to her side. You wished Chai would find a man of her own and leave Rick alone.
I didn’t get any comments like that from male readers. Most of you were more like Mr. Lust, lobbying for a goodbye fuck at the very least.
But now that she’s gone, what do you think of Chai?
As a character, Chai absolutely insisted on being her own person. Every time I tried to draw a box for her to stay in, she grew too big. She didn’t want to be a foil, or a sidekick, or a romantic place holder until Sabrina got her shit together. And so after a brief struggle, I just let her be who she wanted to be. Made for a much better relationship in the long run. Wrestling with characters (you’re thinking, really, how bad can wrestling with Chai be?) is not the best activity if you want your novel writing to proceed smoothly.
And Chai turned out to be much more than a romantic place-holder. In many ways she was the high priestess of the story, not Nimue. Rick would have never made the transition from who he was to who he would become without her. Nor would he have so readily opened his mind to the possibilities that were unfolding.
Not to mention that he would have gotten laid a lot less.
One other truly endearing trait was how Chai handled it when Rick chose Sabrina over her. I expected her to put up more of a fight–and when Chai fights, it can get ugly. But she was so . . . gracious. Surprised me a lot.
So I raise a martini in a toast (I can’t do gin, so it will have to be a figurative martini): here’s to you, Chai Fox. You’ve made the writing of this novel more of a delight that it could ever have been without you. I wish you all the best.