5 Ingredients that make up Rosewater: Characters

Welcome to day three of the ingredients which make up Rosewater. Today Tade is going to talk about the characters of Rosewater.

Rosewater is a town on the edge. A community formed around the edges of a mysterious alien biodome, its residents comprise the hopeful, the hungry and the helpless—people eager for a glimpse inside the dome or a taste of its rumoured healing powers.

Kaaro is a government agent with a criminal past. He has seen inside the biodome, and doesn’t care to again—but when something begins killing off others like himself, Kaaro must defy his masters to search for an answer, facing his dark history and coming to a realization about a horrifying future.


My secret is that in ROSEWATER I’ve written a stealth character-based novel, but don’t tell anyone. It would have been career suicide to pitch that to a core science fiction audience which is used to massive world-building, technology-porn and space battles.
At its core, ROSEWATER is a character study of Kaaro. Everything else is built around him and the exigencies of his existence. I wrote about two periods in his life to create the illusion of a different character, since he changed significantly from his youth.
I read in all genres, and what I’ve always enjoyed is how writers approach character. My favourite books focus on character. Even Frankenstein is more of a study of creator of the monster if you forget what you see in the adaptations.
I’m not a fan of the cheap character arc, and I don’t believe people change significantly (sorry, self-help folks!). I just like to know how people become…people. Were they secure in their childhood? Did their mother love them? Did they fight or appease bullies in the playground? Who do they love and why?
This was the kernel from which ROSEWATER grew. Who is Kaaro? Where does he live? What does he want? Why does he want this? Does he get what he wants?
That is the simple premise of the book. The aliens are incidental.

Rosewater by Tade Thompson is published by Orbit Books, and is out now. It’s really really good. You should read it.

Author: dave

Book reviewer, occasional writer, photographer, coffee-lover, cyclist, spoon carver and stationery geek.

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