Yes, I know the month of August is almost over. I meant to do this post earlier in the month, but I’ve been not only working full time and dating and trying to keep up with friends, but I’ve been working on getting the fourth Firmament book published, I’m working on two other writing projects, I have a new audiobook job, and I do still have to rest somewhere in there. So blogging has taken a back seat. But I couldn’t let this month go by without saying something about everyone’s favorite Austrian navigator. I begged Hope to do another of her Firmament fan posts for him, and she did, so I’ll post that in a few days.
But first, I want to talk about August myself. I never expected this timid, pale, unassuming fellow to be the most popular character in the series. Sure, I have the fondness for him that an author always has for her creations, but he’s never in the forefront of my mind when I think about my characters. I think first of the Doctor, or Andi, or the Captain, or Crash, or even Guilders. But August? He’s a good man. He tries his best. He means well. And yeah, he’s handsome. But the most popular character? More popular than the relatable Andi or the charming Crash or the dear Doctor?
That puzzles me a bit.
About a year ago my friend and fellow author Morgan Huneke posted this on my Facebook wall:
“My mom and I think we have figured out why August Howitz is so popular. He’s kind of needy and had a bad father, so all the girls feel sorry for him and consequently love him. I guess it’s the miserable factor.”
Maybe so. Maybe this poor, pathetic orphan who tries so hard and never can quite seem to measure up to the staunch, stalwart men around him draws people to him merely by his misery. Girls like needy things. Babies, puppies, kittens. And apparently, August.
We’ll see later in the week what Hope has to say about this boy, but in the meantime, here’s a scene from the fifth Firmament book that just may show a side of August that you haven’t seen yet:
I nodded, then looked towards the castle. “Let’s go, then.”
Following the map, we started towards the nearest door.
We shed our backpacks when we reached it–a simple but heavy wooden basement door in the ground just outside the castle. It didn’t match its surroundings–the wood looked new, and the handles and lock were modern and polished. Someone–Dred?–must have added the door later.
August examined the lock for a moment, then reached into his backpack and pulled out a pocketknife. “Do you have any needles in your first aid kit?” he asked. I nodded and dug around in the dark to find one for him.
He took it and worked with the lock for a few moments. In the silence I could hear his breaths and the muted clicks of the two objects as he worked with the lock. Then finally there was a louder click, and he handed me back my needle.
“I’m not necessarily proud of everything Dad taught me,” he explained in answer to my look.