That aside, if anyone asks me who my favorite couple in my own writing is, they're liable to receive Clara and Andrew as an answer. So apparently my twelve-year-old brain was on to something.
I think the magic of Clara and Andrew is partly the fact that their personalities aren't what you'd think of off the top of your head if you hear their titles. Sure, they look the part - Clara has has blonde hair and blue eyes (she was actually my first main character to not have brown hair), and Andrew is a redhead - but he doesn't have a fiery temper, and I've never known Clara to just "go with the flow." However, I wouldn't say that their personalities are the opposite of their titles, either. They just are the facets of water and fire that most people don't think of. Clara's more of a storm or typhoon, while Andrew is smoldering embers or a hearth.
Abby asked if the pair originated in earth, and the answer is yes, they do. However, while they once ran in the same circles (back in their toddlerhood) and even now in connected circles, neither was any more than peripherally aware of the other during their normal lives. She was, perhaps, more aware of him than he was, for reasons I cannot, at this time, disclose (though it does involve two of her friends occasionally teasing her about him), but still. They weren't expecting to be thrown together in another world.
Clara is an only child. Her parents wanted more, but were lucky to get her. As a result, she's pretty used to being the center of attention. She isn't spoiled, her parents knew better than to do that to her, but it's had some interesting side effects on her. She knows her parents wanted more kids, and while she herself would honestly like some siblings, she keeps quiet about it, and instead tries to make up for the empty nest. She spends a lot of time with both of her parents, tries to be both a daughter and a son to them. Her parents co-own a sports complex (actually, I don't think that's what it's called, but, for the purposes of this post, it'll do) with the parents of Clara's two best friends, and Clara spends every spare moment there learning. She's a kinetic genius, as her dad calls her, and is good at almost any non-team activity she attempts. She's best at fencing (which is what her mom teaches), and tae quon do (which is what her dad teaches). However, she's not good at either cooking or sewing. Which her mother doesn't push, as she isn't the best at them herself.
Andrew, on the other hand, is the oldest of four boys. Their dad is a scientist, an absent-minded professor of sorts, and they lost their mother in a car wreck when his youngest brother, Parker, was a toddler. As the oldest child, Andrew has had to fill in for their mother, and, in many ways, for their dad as well. He's learned to cook - and he's pretty good at it, too - do basic mending. He plays the piano because his mother used to and he likes to keep her memory alive. He has a very standoffish relationship with his dad, as he kinda resents having to fill this role. Not that he'd have anyone fill it, but ...
When Clara goes to Klarand, she goes to the upper half, where she is instantly and unanimously recognized as the Water Princess. She both enjoys and is wary of this attention, and therefore keeps her sword and martial arts skills to herself, even when they ask her about them - the prophecy does say that the Water Princess will fight, after all. She only lets people in on the secret if they a. catch her in the act, or b. she decides she can trust them. When they offer to teach the skills to her, she accepts ... and proceeds to implement every mistake she's ever seen someone make.
Andrew, on the other hand, appears in the lower half, and is found by a group on a hunting mission. Only one of the men sees him come out of the Firefall, and Andrew is so completely not what they were expecting, the others refuse to believe that he is the Fire Prince. And Abraham, the one who found him, keeps trying to make him into their preconceived notion of the Fire Prince (or so Andrew thinks), by teaching him various skills such as archery, sword play ... useful stuff that Andrew doesn't care a thing for.
Eventually both comes to their breaking point where they decide that this county is worth it, and she becomes more open with her talents, and he becomes willing to learn. After that, they travel to the heart of the country, where they meet. I can't tell you much about this meeting, but it involves swords, him mistaking her for a boy, her turning over a table, and them both giving the other a nickname. She becomes Alice, and he's Tom Canty.
She doesn't trust him, not so much because he doesn't seem trustworthy, but because she had predisposed her mind to not trust him. While she always considered romance and marriage part of her future, she didn't want it Right Now, and she wanted to pick her love interest out herself. He ... just kinda steps back and lets her blow around, though ever so often, he rises and matches her wit, which she sometimes seems to like, other times resents. Sometimes she seems to trust him ... other times ... well, he's not sure what to make of her.
When she does finally decide that it's okay to like him, and he steps up and becomes the leader, they make a terrific duo.
Because in Klarand, fire and water can, and does mix. The Waterfall flows down and the Firefall flows up until they meet under the Kastle in the heart of the island. There they form a liquid that is stronger than either. Haven't named it yet, probably should though ...
And yes, one of their "romantic" moments involves hot chocolate and a campfire. It's fun.
Anyways, I hope that answers any questions you have about them, Abbey. I'll be back Thursday with the CE linkup (I've got a fun location and challenge this time!) and an announcement for a Ankulen-themed giveaway that you won't want to miss. See you then!
1. Back when Dragonriders were common in Rintaria, it was luckiest if you chose one with eyes the color of your hair, scales the color of your eyes, or both. For instance Starwater, Stardrana's dragon, has golden eyes and blue scales (although there are a few golden ones), and Stardrana has golden hair and blue eyes.