The Price of a Pigeon…

How a “piece of poultry” became beloved, funny, and the reader’s friend.

While Pasha’s appearance transforms through each book of the Roll Call Trilogy, one thing does not change—her love for pigeons. There are plenty of quirky characters moving in and out of the pages of books 1, 2, and 3, but none more unusual than Pasha Lutnik. Or should I say “Dr. Lutnik.” That moniker itself is kind of scary. Would any of us really want to visit Pasha for a neurology appointment? I don’t think so. At least I know I wouldn’t!

Pigeons serve several purposes in the trilogy. They become a major plot twist in Book #1, Roll Call, and they become a catalyst for characters and action in all three books.

Sorry—I’m not discussing that major plot twist in Book #1, as you would all be screaming at me “Spoiler! Spoiler alert!”  

The pigeons allow Pasha’s character to develop it’s quirky traits. I mean how many people in a post-apocalyptic world build a pigeon roost on  top of a housing unit roof and invent the zips to travel back and forth from one roof to another? But the pigeons—Herman and Orbit, specifically—also provide an opportunity for the reader to see a gentler side of Pasha that is rarely visible to those around her and instrumental to her character.

Pigeons provide opportunities for younger characters to tease and torture Pasha, developing both their characters and hers. These cooing birds serve as motivators to reveal characteristics for those who hold keys to plot related items. While some refer to Herman and Orbit as “pieces of poultry,” Pasha is seen caring for them, loving them, and setting them free to accomplish missions you will only understand when you read Book #1.

Pigeon handlers at the farm.

Working with actors to create the book cover for Roll Call involved visiting a pigeon farm and using a pigeon handler to make sure we didn’t mess up the protocol for the birds’ training.

The pigeon farm.

I found out that pigeons are pretty amazing, and, yes, they really do return home—such a great metaphor for one of the themes that extends throughout the entire Roll Call Trilogy—defining home—the search for home—experiencing home—both the failures of its creation and the satisfaction of comprehending the scope of all that home is.

Pigeons—I grew to love them just as Pasha did. They provide an ongoing humorous string in the plot, but also bring serious moments to the forefront of the story. You’ll note, as you read the entire trilogy, that the poultry cast grows from the beginning to the end of the series, and I hope, as readers, you find out pigeons were worth the risk of my engagement. Happy reading!

Let me take you for a ride on a zip or two in my next blog…

About Gwen Mansfield

Gwen Mansfield loves words, and the thought of a good story sends ideas capering through her mind until they sift into characters, settings, and plots. Roll Call, Book #2 in the Roll Call Trilogy debuted as Gwen’s first post-apocalyptic, sci-fi survival thriller, and the surprises she found on the pages made it impossible to say goodbye to Avery DeTornada and her comrades. So—Welcome Book #2, Inside The Third and Book #3, Reluctant Warriors. Characters drive the creative process of Gwen’ writing. She says, “I can’t escape the quirky characters who romp through the pages of my stories—I guess ‘cause I’ve had so many of them in my own life. Almost every week I discover someone whose idiosyncrasies are a trigger to a character in a still-to-be-written story. And then, there are those people who wander through my life on a regular basis. Through the eyes of others, they may seem quite ordinary, but the influence they’ve had on my life is extraordinary. They too are the catalysts my books are made of. My kids always say, ‘If you stick around long enough, you’ll end up as a character in one of my mom’s books.’” Author of the Roll Call Trilogy, the novel Experiment Station Road, the stage play Grace Diner, and the musical Resistance! (based on the book Tales of the Resistance by David and Karen Mains)—Gwen Mansfield continues to bring the creation of new worlds to her latest release, Reluctant Warriors, Book #3. Gwen is an early recipient of the New Harmony Project, finalist in Reverie Productions’ Next Generation of Playwriting Contest, and a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Historical Fiction. She holds a BA in Theatre from Seattle Pacific University, an MA in Theatre Production from Central Washington University, and an MFA in Creative Writing, Fiction from University of New Orleans. She lives in the forests of Washington with her family. “Maybe it’s only in my dreams that I’ve descended into post-apocalyptic danger, run from dystopian challengers, chased threatening asteroids, and climbed into a romantic relationship with my soulmate—but for my readers—I launch it on the page!”—Gwen Mansfield View all posts by Gwen Mansfield

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