I should clarify. I like to write about women doing and saying things our culture has been trying to tell us for centuries are inappropriate for women to say or do. I like to write about women making mistakes, showing self interest, and coming into their power. I like to write about the complexity of their relationships. I like to write about their independence, their sexuality, and the complicated and dynamic way in which they interact with the worlds to which they belong.
Every one of my characters is born out of these women. Some aggregate of their parts.
But I love something about each of the Byrd women, even Tempest. They are all fierce in their own way. Innocence is so deeply conflicted and unsure of how to trust herself, her mother, or the world at large. Dalliance, a blaze both tragic and ferocious. Summon is a powerhouse, bright as the North Star, at the command. And Tempest is the storm brewing in every woman, the fury that hell cannot match.
But then again, I like to write about these things in general—complex relationships, conflicting emotions, multidimensional personalities. For me, it just comes easier and more naturally in regards to female characters. Maybe because I am one. Female, I mean. And a character, or so I've been told.
It even extends beyond my writing to my reading. I am almost prejudice in my book selections. I rarely choose books with a male protagonist. They just don't lure me in as often. Maybe because I can't relate as easily.
Overall, I adore complicated and conflicted temperaments, male or female, both in reading and in writing. I don't see the world as black and white. And so I don't reflect that in my work. We all carry the potential for good and bad within us. And from one circumstance to the next, those roles can change.
I usually give my protagonists an edge—a juicy flaw or bad habit, something that makes them real. And I give my antagonists a vulnerability that will trigger the reader's empathy. Because I think that hits closest to home and makes a story more plausible, and therefore more influential on the reader. And after all, that is my goal. To sweep you up in the flurry of experiences that are my character's stories, where your own troubles will pale in comparison. To have you feel as they do, to love and rage as they do. And to embrace your own complexities as you do theirs. So that in them, you may come to know yourself as so much more than black or white, good or bad, but as the dazzling, baffling, ever shifting Jackson Pollock masterpiece that you are.
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