When I first started Keep Walking, it was due to a sudden boom in online artworks of giant robots. One of the artist that caught my attention was Facundo Diaz. His works inspired me to visualize a whole new range of these Titans, as they are titularly called. From mechs like the Regalia, the Rankor golems, and the giant sentient Ohmir. A new take on an age-old fiction trope.
The original Keep Walking was loosely based off and inspired by Diaz’s artwork. I did this during my fan-fiction writing days and, like many projects back then, lost traction quickly. Though many of the elements remained as something I wanted to try my hand at writing, I felt I did not have enough experience in plot creation to do the story justice.
During the early days of Tearha, the world of the original Keep Walking began to fuse into the fantasy world. What was originally a sci-fi tale evolved into Keep Walking today. The characters of Lucinda Baerrinska and Joashden Stalewaver survived the transfer, and when the idea to give a second go at writing the story came up, they immediately sprang to the forefront of my mind.
But the one character that I felt really connected to, Jacqueline Fertilans, was the one character that came to life only at the moment of the first page. But her character, past, personality and all, sprang up in clarity and completeness almost instantly, as if she had always been there, just waiting to come out.
I was sceptical of writing Jacques at first, mostly because I’ve never wrote a transgender character before. I’d like to think I’m a very open-minded individual, but the fact of the matter is, my experience with the transgender community was limited, and I did not know how to write a character like that.
Thankfully though, my worry was for naught. Like everything about her, the moment she showed up in that very first scene, the words flowed out naturally. I wrote her as I did every other characters I’ve ever done, as a living being, and I’d like to think it turned out quite wonderfully natural. I hope that feeling of her being just as much a person as any other character gets carried through to you, the readers.
But there’s something more personal about Keep Walking. It is my tribute to my past work, and how far I’ve come since then. Aside from the main cast, three major characters that appeared were from previous fan-fiction works. Shou Kenta, Arnold Wyndham, and Miu Hotaru.
Arnold is actually a creation of my good friend and fellow writer, Brent Evesson, and he crossed-over into my story where Shou and Miu were the main characters. I had the honour to write Arnold, and I really had a blast, and could no longer speak of Shou without thinking of him. When I wrote them for this story, I could tell how much more defined they were than their first appearance almost a decade ago. Though many of their character traits remained – like Shou’s addiction to cola – I could personally tell the difference in my writing.
Keep Walking is a summation of life, I feel. From start to finish, I tried to invoke the memory of my journey growing up, and I sincerely hoped that I managed to inspire a few thought-provoking moments from readers. A rough parent-child relationship, open-mindedness to the world, the experience of meetings and goodbyes, loving and lost, and of course, death of a loved one. Oh, there’s also something about giant robots in there somewhere.