Of course, no one is really perfect, despite attempts to appear that way. But we all know people who seem like it on the surface. Hair is always completely in place. Slip is never showing. They always know just what to say and when to say it.
They sort of make us want to smack them J.
But other than annoyance, they don’t really elicit much emotion from us, because they lack depth. Scratch that perfect surface and there’s not much beneath. We can’t relate to them because we’re not perfect and neither is our world. Our lives are messy and complicated. Our children misbehave and sometimes make bad choices. Likewise our spouses . We screw up occasionally. And that makes us interesting.
So it’s really no wonder that writers created flawed damaged characters. Who wants to read about someone with no problems? Someone who has never ever had something miserable happen to them? What intrigues us are the people who encounter obstacles and find ways to overcome them. Those who draw on an inner strength to triumph in the end. Those are the characters we root for, draw hope from. Those are the sort of characters I tried to create for Deadly Intent.
I didn’t develop them so much as they sprang from my sub-conscious, already semi-formed with set ideas of who and what they were. I had the best handle on Macy Reid, the heroine. Having been abducted herself as a child, she’s horrified by the case she’s called in to investigate—the kidnapping of Ellie Mulder. She’s dealt with her own past trauma by poring everything into her job of helping victims of crimes. But this one hits particularly close to home, and her own past rises up to haunt her, proving it still has a hold on her present.
Kellan Burke, as well, sort of wrote himself. I’m not going to lie, he bears a more than passing resemblance to my husband J. Oh, not physically. But the smart mouth and witty one-liners are definitely something they have in common. He’s impatient, sometimes rude and seems to take an inordinate joy out of provoking a response from Macy—any response. It’s only when the reader sees that his behavior stems from an inability to forget the one night he and Macy spent together that one begins to soften toward him. To root for him to win the one woman he’s never been able to forget.
Macy finds Kell maddening. Insufferable. And utterly irresistible. Not that she doesn’t try resisting him, mind you. But nothing in her proper upbringing of boarding schools and nannies has prepared her to deal with someone like him. Or the inevitable response she has to him.
But the character who stole the story for me was Ellie Mulder, the eleven-year-old girl who was abducted. From the very beginning, she refused to be a victim. She surprised me along the way with her cleverness, courage and resiliency.
Although I’m a writer, I’m a reader first. And it’s always the characters who make the book unforgettable for me. Some characters I’ve read have stayed with me always. Scout, from To Kill a Mockingbird. Holden Caulfield, from Catcher in the Rye. Huck Finn. What unforgettable characters have you run across in your reading?
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