As an author, it’s very cool to have people I don’t know begin talking to me about my characters, either in person or via email or twitter. What’s been interesting lately is the in-depth comments I’ve gotten on some specific characters.
In writing these posts, I’m not necessarily responding to specific comments or criticisms. I’m just musing on some things that have come to mind as I read remarks or speak to readers.
I’m beginning with Michael because he seems to elicit pretty strong emotions. Early in the writing of Fearless, when the first critiquers were reading chapters, there was some heavy Michael love. I still see quite a bit of that. . .comments and reviews that swoon over the wonder that is Michael.
But recently, I’ve gotten a few people write that perhaps Michael is too good to be true, which almost intimates that he isn’t realistic or sufficiently dimensional.
It’s important to remember that the Michael whom we see in Fearless is through Tasmyn’s eyes, and that view isn’t exactly impartial. To Tas, Michael is the sun, moon and stars. . .he is everything she has always wanted and never even thought herself worthy enough to wish for someone like him. That he singles her out. . .that he loves her. . .is the miracle of her life so far, and so of course, when she talks about him, that shines through.
On the other hand, look at some of Nell’s comments about Michael, and you might see a different point of view. As a matter of fact, stay tuned, because at some point, Nell might share a little of her take on Michael right here on this blog.
And in fact, as the series goes on, you’ll see some other sides of Michael. As Tas grows and changes, we’ll continue to see him through her eyes, and that will give us a slightly different perspective.
Speaking strictly as the writer, I will share this: recently at an event someone asked him if the character Michael was based on anyone I knew. Before I could think about it, I answered, “Well, he reminds me of my dad.” I was surprised, but when I stopped to think about it, that makes sense. My father had an almost larger-than-life quality in that he was universally regarded as an amazingly good person, someone who always did the right thing no matter what the cost to him personally. At his funeral and in the weeks thereafter, we heard innumerable stories of his kindness and decency. He wasn’t perfect, and neither is Michael.
All of my characters are shaped by their lives up to the time we meet them. Tasmyn is shy, withdrawn and wary, because she has been repeatedly warned by her parents of the dangers the world poses to someone with her abilities. Nell, abandoned at an early age, is determined to never be powerless again. Amber, bullied and ignored, grabs at the chance for friendship and inclusion when Nell offers it.
Michael, raised by two loving parents in a secure environment of acceptance and encouragement, is a good and decent person. I like him that way. . .I hope you do, too.