Who do you ship more ash/kami or jared/kami?
Aw, anonymous! Thank you! Nobody has yet attempted to trick me into answering who will get together. I honestly mean it: I am much pleased you would like to know and are sneakily trying to find out. ;)
However, I must be sneaky too, and deny you your knowings, so that I may maintain suspense!
For verily, the couples I want together will be together. This is true even if what I want is Character/Death 4 Eva & Eva (RIP) or Character/Journalism 4 Eva or Character/Sudden Turn To Evil 4 Eva. The beauty of being a writer is being a tiny god…
However SOME MORE, I will say this about this question: currently there is no proof I ship either, though certainly one may infer circumstantial evidence. ;)
Super lots of spoilers for Unspoken under the cut…
Jared did ask Kami out, but did so for reasons Kami herself realised were sketch, and he accepted Kami’s rejection as if it totally made sense to him—and did not, for instance, ask her out again or respond to any of her romantic overtures or indicate that he was Over The Physical Weirdness of Their Scenario and In Fact Totally Into It, at any point after they had known each other in real life for longer than two days.
Part of the fun of Jared is how he’s hard to read because he, and circumstance, are not presenting him romantically to Kami at all. He’s not entirely a mysterious stranger or entirely a reliable best friend. He’s terrible at being a bad boy in an appealing way (he’s fine at random acts of violence, but that’s not behavior Kami finds allurin’). And hey, I love Jared, but this demonstrable incompetence might well render any romantic relationship right now impossible.
Ash is the one who’s smooth with the ladies—he has, it’s implied, some experience. His romantic advances on Kami are good romantic advances which work up to a point. To compare the cousins’ wooing styles is kind of like the difference between seeing a show jumper horse jump a fence in style, and seeing a bull charge at a wall and stagger back bewildered and somewhat concussed.
Jared and Kami’s mental link was inspired by the much-romanticised muchly-romantic idea of being able to see into someone’s soul: writing Unspoken was trying to find the intersection where fantasy collides with real life: exploring how having an actual soul bond would be hella awkward, and terribly confusing, and that there are no handy signposts to fate.
I was taking apart a fantasy, because it’s not one—but of course the link would create an emotional bond, and in Untold it’s a lot of fun to explore how an emotional bond is transformed, or is broken, when the circumstances of a relationship change so dramatically. What Jared feels for Kami, always in question, is called into question more than ever—and it is, I hope, an interesting question.
Speaking of fantasies… and how I like to explode them… Ash arrives on the scene as a young girl’s dream: the new boy in town who immediately zeroes in on our heroine and turns on the charm.
This is very much a fantasy of a new person without thinking of the reality of a new person. New kids, behaving regularly, spend a lot of time uneasily floating between friend groups and asking piteously ‘Where is my locker?’ and ‘How do I catch up in history class?’ New kids are seldom setting all phasers to woo.
And indeed, Ash’s immediate joining into Kami’s activities and pursuit of Kami herself is something his evil dad told him to do. It seems too good to be true because it is: what he’s actually doing, it would be understandable if Kami found unforgivable. (Bit of a barrier to romance.)
I wanted to steer a middle course between ‘2 Perfect 4 Ur Triangle’—the super good guy who’s ultimately dull, not because good guys are dull, but because the narrative doesn’t give him anything interesting to do besides be in a romantic position or anything besides good to be—and ‘His Mask Of Virtue Contains Ultimate Evil’—the guy who at the last minute, after being sickeningly good all the way through, is like ‘Mwhahaha, it was I who murdered all those puppies in the church vestry, and you never noticed before but actually I have quite a weak chin!’
It was interesting, I thought, to make people wonder if Ash was one or the other… but Ash isn’t either. Ash is a kid who has done something epically, epically lousy—deceiving Kami and all of them, helping his father the murderer—but he’s also a kid who feels ultimately helpless (what can one do about their father the murderous sorcerer who is outside the law) and a kid who has been raised in an obviously, deeply messed-up way: a kid who has had to hide his divided heart and felt in many ways very alone all his life.
Does Ash have genuine feelings for Kami—does Ash have genuine feelings for Angela, Jared, Holly or anybody else—and if so, what are they? I think that’s an interesting question, too. Ash is more mysterious than Jared, as Jared is not usually playing a part and Ash usually is: we know Jared has genuine feelings for Kami, even if we’re not sure what said feelings are or how they’ve changed. Mystery, of course, is always fascinating.
So, I think the relationships between Ash and Kami, and Kami and Jared, are interesting and I plan to explore them, romantically or not.
Kami may have both gentlemen as her suitors, or just one of them, or she may have to look for her suitors elsewhere, or she may be like ‘Suitors man, too much hassle.’ We just don’t know yet.
… I mean, I know. But I won’t tell you.