I started Victoria as a retelling of Snow White and female relationships are incredibly important to that fairy tale. I’d thought to show Snow White from the outside because stories from her POV always seem angsty and failed. So Victoria, her scheming younger sister, would play the lead, and Bella—the beautiful—would be Snow White.
But the story didn’t turn out that way. In fact, Bella became a rather shady character. And unlike in Snow White, the world of Victoria got filled with assassins and thugs and gained a very different theme altogether. When I created Ignacio, I’d had an idea of him as a benevolent character who would care about Bella. But he became more like Boba Fett. (Yes people keep writing romances about Boba Fett and I don’t know why they do that. I wish they would stop.) Ignacio can pretend friendliness, especially when he’s trying to get information, but he is always up to something and is very confrontational.
The Hirado is a trained and hired mercenary who goes around killing people—again like Boba Fett, or like any criminal or bounty hunter from other stories. And Webster, though lighter, is always verbally aggressive. I call historical from 1400-1800 “Bigga” because of the Bigga dresses, obviously. Everyone who’s into Bigga seems to have a bigga attitude too. And I’ve noticed something bad always happens to people after they get into Bigga historical. They always divorce, or lose all their money, or get caught in being deceptive and lose a friendship, or it’s found out what they really believe about something, or they disappear and their friends don’t hear of them again.
I guess Bigga is where people who have been living a lie go to get popped off. The assassins are waiting for them. I’m glad I’ve never had a bigga attitude.
And there will be more updates.
As long as I can remember, readers have had a little thing about Don Tachimant, the hero of Jurant. One girl told me “his character grabbed me right from the start” and another reportedly said that a later, very slightly altered version of Jurant with fewer words “wasn’t the same.” He was all right, still cool, but he wasn’t the same. I found this odd because Don’s character never grabbed me at all and he did the exact same things in this later Jurant version. He even had most of the same dialogue. What could be so different about him?
I never did figure out the inexplicable way Don was always mentioned. But I can tell you a few things I DO know about Don and one is that he always does the wrong thing. Pretty much always. Not because he’s a bad boy, but because he’s honestly a bit dense. And seems compelled to have the wrong reaction to a situation, as if he doesn’t know what’s good for him. From the first lines we’re told “Don Tachimant hated his grandfather” and this, like everything else Don does in the story, is not a good idea.
Don’s grandfather is a bad person, but worrying about him isn’t necessary. The opening scene shows a man in higher authority scheming to deal with and investigate him. Lord Tachimant is not getting away with anything, even though Don’s sister Julie died. People have been suspicious for years. That’s why Don is sent back—there’s a plan already in motion. Don does not need to freak out, run away from the school, pretend to be a criminal, and basically go around blowing things up. And he doesn’t need to attach emotionally to Julie in this morbid way. She actually wasn’t a terribly likable girl, though we don’t get to see much of her, and seems very weak. Weakness is not a good quality and there’s no need for Don to sentimentalize it.
There might be something cute about reacting so much to situations—something vulnerable, for lack of a better word. And many readers love a vulnerable hero. (Even if he doesn’t mean to be, in Don’s case, and would not be pleased with that term.) But because he permanently makes mistakes, I just never thought he was very interesting. People who do the wrong thing all the time aren’t commendable.
And there will be more updates.
Since a lot of people haven’t been keeping track of my work, I’ll start at the beginning and talk about The Birthday Present and Millhaven Castle, my first publication. This actually works great with my plans to talk about guys in my stories, because TBP is chock full of them. If Lucy is removed as mostly a placeholder, like my heroines usually are, then the story has about a 95% male population. Basically it’s about a bunch of guys who run into this girl and have to decide what to do with her. This is because some other guy, long in the past, had a huge, mysterious fight with yet another guy who now runs the entire world. This story is set in the future.
TBP is quite male-dominated. Lucy isn’t quite a puppet—she is consciously accepting of her father’s mission, to the extent she understands it—but she’s so focused on fulfilling it that she’s a pretty limited character. The moral actions all come from guys, including her father in the past. We have three boys who seem to be teenagers, a middle-aged military commander who is partially deaf and completely clueless, some scientifically-altered soldiers who can’t think for themselves, a very shadowy man in the past who helped create this culture and now wants to change it—and a remote, rather creepy man who is a thousand years old and rules this society from afar.
TBP feels like a pessimistic story, but actually the men in it treat Lucy pretty well. They are harder on themselves and often fight with each other, or perform subjugation activities like Aure with the altered soldiers who don’t have independent wills. Lucy’s father seems a bit selfish in sending her out with a one-note mission that is questionable, but it’s he and Aure who have the real issues going on with each other. The boys are generally protective of Lucy even when it will get them in trouble.
So I’d say the guys score well, though that seems strange given the story’s tone and atmosphere. If there’s a problem, it seems to come from women. Lucy generates the whole plot and creates a lot of trouble by following her father’s strange orders, and her aunt is shown more negatively than her uncle. So perhaps I should post on Lucy later, although she is hardest to describe of any of my characters.
And there will be more updates.
As I examined the male characters in my books recently, I remembered how often men are mentioned by readers around me. They love a certain hero; love “dark guys,”; act up if men are shown as flirtatious; much, much prefer reading about men; hate reading about girls; self-consciously announce when using male POV or thinking about using it; criticize women who care if men are hot; criticize men who aren’t hot enough; giggle about “falling in love” with their own heroes. The list goes on and on. They talk a great deal more about men than about women actually.
I had always thought Don Tachimant from Jurant one of my most boring characters. He does nothing but sulk and complain. But I realized he was one of my best heroes when I looked at him from the POV of women. His actions relative to women. He is unable to deal with situations and often panics, but he is affectionate and deeply loyal. Qualities women always say they love, love, love. I now see where they are coming from. To me, he was just a way for plot to happen, but to them he was more.
So here’s a list of how I’d rate my books, based on the heroes. This leaves out works that haven’t been released on this website yet, even if they’ve been completed or read by people before.
And there will be more updates
7 books published and 3 more on the way. Farmer's daughter, LOTR fan, loves to read rather than talk about reading. Always has time to finish her WIP.