The character of Neldra Cambry has been knocking around my noggin for a good five years. I like the idea of taking the strictures of FA fantasy and expanding 'em to see if they'll suit broader genres (the Adipost Zone stories with Page Briant are another example of this inclination), and the concept of a mystical heroine who is able to escape her weight-bound body to travel to other realms was irresistible to me. Took me forever to come up with a proper plotline once I pulled together the basic character details, though.
The story was written in spurts. Part one was written in Spring of '96, but I didn't get to the rest of the yarn until mid-Winter. The connecting flashback sequence was started after I'd written most of part two, incidentally, making this a story that was written from the outside in.
I like Neldra quite a lot: of all my characters, she's most in tune with both the strengths and limitations of her situation. Able to appreciate her appetite even as it distracts her from everything else, she's an extreme example of mind and body duality. I also think she's pretty darn sexy.
"Astral Thief" saw its first full appearance on the First Virtual side of this site, though recently the first chapter of the saga had its paper premiere in the magazine version of Dimensions (the January 2000 issue). There's more to Neldra's story, of course, and sometime soon I hope to get to it.