Recently, after finishing my book a friend of mine wondered how I had written such an intense, dark male lead character. She said, you’re so far removed from the character in your book. You’re sweet and quiet and cautious. How did you write a character from the depths of the male perspective who is so brooding, dark and determined?
My response…I touched the darkness within.
I’ve been considering this answer carefully (because as she said, I am a cautious sort of person). How had I managed to do this? How had I gone from writing love stories to finding my nitch within the darkness of my characters?
I realized that even when I was trying my hand at romance I always seemed to be dissatisfied with just letting the two characters fall in love. I always wanted more story, more angst, more something. I could read romance and be satisfied, but I couldn’t write it. I was forced to acknowledge that I suck at writing happy endings. I love to torture my characters and put them through as much hell as I can without breaking them. I love an under laying of intrigue and conspiracy. I want the reader to never quite know which way is up or who they should believe. I finally embraced the darkness that my favorite authors come from. Stephen King, Sidney Sheldon, and most especially Anne Rice, whom I got to meet last week.
Each of these authors had a deep impact on my writing. Stephen taught me to explore the darkness and embrace my fears. Sidney taught me to always look a little deeper because things aren’t always what they appear to be. And Anne? She taught me that monsters can be elegant, beautiful and monstrous all at the same time. But, I think most importantly she taught me that depth of character and humanity can survive even in the darkest of worlds.
It took me years to find my way to where I am now. I traveled through the world of romance trying to fit myself into a box filled with happy endings. It never seemed to work. Now, I embrace the world I’ve created. I embraced the darkness and nobility of character that live in that world. I hope one day the world will see their value. I hope one day Jacen and Nix’s world will be as real to my readers as Lestat is to Anne’s readers.