Life is hard. We work full-time. We have children, friends, family, hobbies if we're lucky. We need to eat well, exercise daily. I have an adult child with severe anxiety, ADD and OCD. My youngest is a transgender male.
There's sleepless nights worrying about the extraordinary and sometimes I only have time to worry about the ordinary. You have to pick your battles.
I've always wanted to be a writer. I was seven when I started the Nancy Drew Mysteries. From that moment I not only wanted to read her adventures, I wanted to create and write my own adventures.
As life pulled me in difficult directions, writing became something more for me than just a means to make money doing something I was fairly good at. It became an escape from increasingly difficult and out of the ordinary situations. It was my inspiration.
Mystery novels have always been my first love. Taking a problem and digging one layer at a time to discover the truth. I also love the urban fantasy, epic fantasy realm. Hiding in the make-believe. It's there that I find equality lives, women can be strong leaders, justice most often prevails.
This is why I imagined Annie Pearce. Young, smart, beautiful, seemingly perfect but when you dig deeper, when you get to know her, she's flawed, she's vulnerable, she's real. She works in a highly male field as a Wizard Guard. A magical police officer who fights demons, vampires and evil wizards. She falls in love with her best friend and partner at work, Bobby “Cham” Chamsky and had to deal with the new emotions while investigating the biggest case of their careers.
Annie Pearce makes mistakes, some are small and easy to fix. Other mistakes can risk exposure or cause a wizard war. But she perseveres because that is her make up. She wants justice for the downtrodden, for the victims of crimes. Though she is young, she can be an inspiration.
I wrote Annie to be the woman I wanted to be. A strong survivor who can and will find her way through a difficult and often scary world. Joss Whedon's Buffy Summers was one of my inspirations for putting together a relatable woman.
While I stumble through my life with increasingly difficult situations that make me want to cry or hide in the sand or simply run away, I remember the alter ego that I created. I suck it in and imagine the confidence and take one step in front of the other. This is what I want and for now, Annie is my own fairy godmother and inspiration as I make my way through the world of writing to become the author I want to be.Continue reading
I left with a little disappointment floating around my head. It wasn't what I had expected to be doing after a trip to Wizard World, one of the many comic cons that spring up every year. It could have been a totally cool conversation with a with an actress from a show that inspired my characters; the strong female character.
I fell in love with Buffy. The characters, the story arcs, the development and most importantly, I was impressed by Joss Whedon and his ability to create these real women. Women who are strong, who fall and pick themselves up and write their own rules.
I explained to Charisma Carpenter, the actress who played Cordelia Chase, how much I loved the show, the female strong female characters. I proclaimed my admiration for their creator, Joss Whedon and how his characters were the blueprint for how I developed my own characters.
She expressed her congratulations on my writing my books but asked me what I thought about the Joss Whedon news that had recently come to light.
I had no idea.
Charisma shared the news that while Joss was married, it is alleged he had multiple affairs and asked about my thoughts on that. My first thought, I could separate the two. The man who was raised by a feminist. A man who was a self-proclaimed feminist, who won many awards for his work.
But can I really separate the two?
It was disappointing to say the least. I had admired him for so long. What I felt was his true work, spoke to me, inspired me as I wrote about Annie Pearce., developing her in a way that made her a real woman, a strong woman. Buffy Summers as my model. Was it all fake?
As I grapple with the meaning of this news, I still feel that how Joss Whedon wrote women, was spot on. They feel real, they are relatable, and beautiful and smart and they each have flaws and issues and problems they face. Just like me. Just like my characters. That for me is real.
Is he entitled to write them? Yes he is. Do I have to admire him? I can admire the work that he has done. The characters that mean so much to me, but I no longer admire the man the way that I once was. He isn't perfect. But then, either am I. He doesn't have to apologize to me and I can still watch and love the characters that were created. Maybe some day I'll have different thoughts. For now, I'll move on to what's most important to me. Saying what I need to say about myself as a woman with dreams and goals. And maybe in the future, I should create my own blue print for the strong female character. I think I can do that.
I love chai tea, I love the spice, the sweet, I just can't drink the latte anymore. So in my quest to find a non latte drink, I finally found a blend that I truly adore and decided to buy the loose tea at a tea store. Yeah, they really have those. As I entered the store, I noticed a song over the speakers and I had to ask the sales clerk if it was indeed “Walk Through the Fire,” from the musical episode from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The girl became excited and mildly surprised that I even knew that and my daughter responded by saying “Mom, you're such a dork.” Which is really the pot calling the kettle black.
While waiting for my order to be bagged, I found myself discussing the merits of Buffy and the show and the episode in question. What it comes down to is those that loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer understood just what the show was about. It wasn't just a female lead, but she was the strong female character, not a bitch, but a real woman who could be strong, could be insecure. The point is she's a real woman who deals with real issues and can still kick ass when she needs to.
We discussed our love of Buffy and how impressive the musical episode really was (Joss Whedon, creator not only wrote the episode he wrote all of the lyrics and music) I was reminded of the influence the show had on me as a writer and of my character Annie Pearce. As I write her, I think about how she should respond to the people and situations in her life. As I work through Annie, I'm always reminded of the honesty of Buffy. Annie can't always be strong, she can't always be right and she can't always need someone to get her out of her situations.
After I left I knew I needed to download the soundtrack. I needed the catchy songs and the reminder of how to write a character that struggles and endures. I just downloaded the music and as I finish my final draft of The Day of First Sun, I'm conscious of making sure Annie isn't too much of anything. That she's just right and that she's human.
Once More with Feeling is the constant struggle of finding ourselves and our place in the world and how we find our way to fitting in. The music brings me back to the struggle and influences how I write and edit and create a story that's believable and one that the reader can fall in love with the characters and in that love, they will want to stay and be there as they grow and change.
And yes, I'm a dork, proud of my love for the fantasy television show. But most importantly the show is mere fun.