Can you talk a little bit about the inspiration of Wayne, and if that was perhaps based off someone you know?
The fun story about Wayne, the beginnings of Alloy of Law were a short story that I wrote where Wayne was the protagonist, and MeLaan was his trusty steed in a horse's body. It was a guy who put on different hats to change personalities, riding into a small town in the Roughs, talking to his horse. Who, then, at the end of the first scene, talked back to him. It was a fun scene. It was way too weird. After I finished that scene, I'm like, "This guy is great. But this guy needs someone else to play off of. And it can't be his talking horse, because this story is just too out there."
Why did I start writing that story? The initial idea is a person who changes personalities based on hats. You put on a hat, and it lets you kind of have a focus for your acting, to get into a role and become someone. That was really fun to me. In fact, in the original story, he was a hatmaker. He was a haberdasher. And he understood people by the headgear that they like.
Which, if gonna be honest and trace it back, probably goes back to Thrawn. I love Thrawn, from the original Star Wars books by Timothy Zahn. And Thrawn was somebody who would look at the art that a culture produces and use that to come to understand them in ways that he could then use to conquer them. Which was just always so cool to me. Like, that's one of the coolest villain concepts, is this art appreciation villain who really gets to know a culture by studying their art, and then crushes them and dominates them. Just wonderful. I'm always kind of looking for characters who see the world in an interesting way. That's probably it. I don't think I was thinking that when I came up with Wayne.
But then, Wayne needed someone to bounce off against. Wayne needed a straight man, so to speak. And he just wasn't working. So that's when I started plotting Alloy of Law, the actual novel. The short story did not become the novel. The short story taught me that there was enough there that I was interested in that I really wanted to tell a story in this era. And it told me that there's something about this character that's gonna work if I can find the right vehicle to include them in a story.
That's our origins of Wayne. I think I can probably also look at the Sherlock Holmes dynamic, Sherlock and Watson. Any time I'm building a mystery duo or team, there's a bit of Sherlock and Watson going around in the back of my head.