Friday, June 30, 2006

Paranormal Heroines, or why my Maggie jumps when things go bump in the night...

Anyone who has been writing genre fiction for long is bound to encounter The Rules. You know, the ones that other writers toss around with great abandon, like: "Your hero/heroine must be strong. They have to always be active-slash-aggressive, take charge of the situations they find themselves in, and be in command of their lives. You can't write cross-genre -- no one will buy it. Better to stick with one in order to sell. You can't mix humor with darkness -- again, you have to choose to be either funny or dramatic."

My primary goal when I started the Bewitching series was to flush the rules down the toilet and write what felt right.

My Maggie is not a kickass heroine. {Which is not to say I don't love to read them -- I do. I just can't seem to write 'em!} She is a little on the neurotic side, knows enough to question her reactions when the situation warrants it, and is basically feeling her way through life. She isn't drop-dead gorgeous, she isn't model thin, and she doesn't have a smile that drops men to their knees. Her hair frizzes when the humidity is high, she gets sunburned way too easily, and when she doesn't like what she's doing, she tends to procrastinate. She has an acerbic sense of humor that sometimes comes out wrong, but would bite her tongue before purposely hurting anyone's feelings... especially her mother, who drives her crazy. And as she speeds toward her 30th birthday, she has a tendency to wonder if she ever will meet that certain someone.

In other words, she's normal. A person I can relate to.

She's also an intuitive empath. That's another thing I can relate to.

Psychic heroines are a lot of fun, but I wanted to give Maggie something a little bit different. It's always difficult to come up with someone who is fresh and new and yet as familiar to us as our own sisters, but to me that's what Maggie is. She's your average, everyday kind of girl who is still struggling to get somewhere in life when from out of nowhere she finds herself in some paranormally charged circumstances that throw her neat and tidy world view for a loop. But while the discovery of a shadow world hitherto unsuspected knocks her a bit off-balance, it also empowers her. She's always known she was different from everyone around her, but this is the first time she's felt... special. Suddenly things click into place. The kinds of experiences she has always had but used to dismiss as imagination or coincidence have turned out to be real. Otherworldly and a bit magical, yes, but real. And as Maggie is beginning to discover, she's a lot stronger at her core than she ever realized.

This contrast between inner and outer, light and dark, myth and reality, is what keeps me intrigued and keeps me writing. All I can do is hope readers will find it as compelling as I do.

Love to all,

Mad {madly!}

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