I really wanted “Princess of Amathar” to have that same feel that I enjoyed while reading Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Mars books as a boy. Consequently, my hero Alexander Ashton owes a lot to John Carter. He is brave to the point of foolishness. He is smart enough to quickly learn a slew of new languages, but not usually bright enough to clue in on what’s going on right in front of him. He was named Alexander right from the start, to evoke Alexander the Great’s wreckless personal heroism, if not his drunken fits of rage, but he didn’t have a last name until I was well into the manuscript. A young lady I worked with at the time, had the last name Ashton, which just seemed to fit so well.