The original concept for this character was a selfish, brooding, jerk who would eventually betray his friends in pursuit of profit. It was not a story path that was unworkable. It might have made for excellent late story conflict in fact. What did not work was a path of character growth for Face had I gone with this idea.
The first problem was that I needed a foil for Julian. Julian’s verbal antics had to be balanced by Face’s tendency towards action. They play the role of close friends but throughout the book it is Face playing Devil’s Advocate for Julian. When Julian says stop, Face tells him to go. When Julian is ready to pick a fight, Face is there to remind him that he’s asking something of those around him.
Instead of allowing Face to progress down a path where he is increasingly unlikable, I found it to be better for the group dynamic to have him be the everyman. He is a character that is in well over his head. Katrina and Hawthorne as dangerous warriors while Face is just a tough guy who can take a punch. Julian and Face are both street level grifters, but Julian is the one who has the ability to think several steps ahead. Face is left wondering what his place is in all of this as the book progresses and it becomes even more of an issue as he begins to see supernatural dangers rising up around
I never know if it’s Face or Katrina that end up being my favorite characters in Master of the House. Face has become such a good character in my mind because he just inherently “gets it”. He looks around, sees what’s happening, and changes his life. He rises to the occasion because he has the resolve to do so. There’s something powerful in that idea that a reader will grab on to and identify with. Over-reaching though it may be to say, Face is a little bit of Sam Wise. He’s there, he knows he’s not the most important guy on the field but he refuses to back down. That’s the essence of being a hero in my mind.