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Character History: Meilianna Luo-Chen

I did plan for some character histories from “The Stiamaq Emerald.” As this is the first, I figured I’d start with a reader favorite!

A number of you love Meilianna. It’s not hard to guess why. Even my beta readers thought she was a blast. I don’t often write such effusive characters, but I couldn’t NOT write Mei this way.

Why? What’s her deal? Well, let’s take a look.


Meilianna Luo-Chen (or “Mei” to friends) stands about 5 foot 1. She has a slim build, with sharp Asiatic features. Big hair, often changes color.

Her clothing is…vibrant. Expect to see purple tops with green leggings, electric blue skirts with polka dot blouses, etc., etc. You can always spot her in a crowd.

She always carries Focai with her, but they change depending on what day it is & whether she actually remembers which one. Could be anything from a sparkly ring, to a magic-modified Raspberry Pi.


Bubbly to the point of bubble baths getting jealous. Mei is happy and friendly and has no understanding of personal space whatsoever. She frequently glomps people. (Do people still use ‘glomp?’)

It’s not a cover either…Mei’s just that sort of person. The type who always has energy, who can smile at anything, who grabs onto problems like a new toy to play with.

No, I don’t understand that type of person either. But hey, she came out that way in the story, what can I say?

(Originally, the plan was to make her a cyber-goth. You know, the people who wear black vinyl with white face-paint and neon tubes coming out of their hair? And with a moody, grumbly attitude on top. I tried writing her that way, but wow did it fall apart fast. The character said, “Nope! I’m an iridescent ball of magical sparkles!”)

Character Inspiration for Meilianna 1
An early-stage photo I used for inspiration. She’s being cute and has polka dots!


  • Technology
  • Exploring magic
  • New sights
  • New people
  • Shiny things
  • Shiny clothing
  • Random asides
  • Hanging out with friends
  • Casting spells with friends
  • Impulsive adventures
  • Not getting into trouble every single day (though even she’s not sure how she manages this one!)


The Luo-Chen family moved to the U.S. from Japan when Mei was very little. They came from Hokkaido, the northern island, where the Ainu people originate. Mei’s father is full-blooded Ainu, while her mother is mostly Japanese by ancestry. She has two siblings, an older brother named Shiro, and a younger sister named Kihone.

It is not known why they relocated…perhaps for their children’s education?

Mei has grandparents still living in Japan, and has gone to visit them many times. She considers her family’s Seattle-area house “home,” and Japan the “home of her people.”

Most of the Luo-Chen family has practiced magic for centuries. Like most sorcerers, they do not ‘show off’ their spellcasting, preferring to live quietly. Much of their magic stems from Ainu tradition and Japanese sorcery. The Luo-Chens possess several ancestral Focai, some hundreds of years old.

Mei…went a different path. She discovered that Focai can take many forms, as can the magic employed through them. A fascination with technology compelled her to try a more ‘technological’ approach to magic. One that yielded incredible results.

Even her stoic father, more one to wear a tight-lipped frown than a smile, has spoken of his daughter’s “ingenuity” with pride in his tone.

Meilianna met Adrian Blacklion around the end of middle school. She went to the same high school as he, even though some of her female friends at the time did not. By the time they graduated high school, Mei’s incessant enthusiasm had left an impression on just about everyone. Apparently Adrian’s grandfather, Rain, always has that kindly-old-man smile on when she visits.

Her talents in programming earned her a scholarship to Eastern Washington University, across Washington State. It’s not known why Adrian chose to attend the same university – but Mei bugging him over & over probably had something to do with it.

Character Inspiration for Meilianna 2
One of the stock photos I used as an example of Mei’s face. She could even rock the circular glasses (as long as they had sparkles!).

The Stiamaq Emerald” would not be the same without Meilianna Luo-Chen. She’s the loyal friend, the ever-optimist, the Samwise Gamgee of the story.

A few readers asked me if she’s based on anyone. She’s not. I do know people who lean to the optimistic & open, but none of them act quite this ‘terrier on caffeine’ bubbly. Which I suppose, just makes her all the more unique.

What did you think of Mei?

Published inFiction WritingNewsletter Archive