Today, I have author Allison Pang here with us talking about characters and their flaws.
One of the things most readers come to expect of their heroes or heroines is some sort of flaw. It’s a strange dichotomy, really. On one hand, many of us strive for perfection in real life – our looks, our jobs, our homes, our children – and so often something “perfect” is held up as the ideal.
On the other hand? Reading about a perfect person becomes very boring. Most of us *aren’t* perfect (at least, I’m not), and having a character with too many “Mary Sue” traits can make it difficult for a reader to connect to the protagonist. I think this is particularly true when a book is written in first person. The reader needs to be able to relate to the voice (or be intrigued by it), or the story can become grating.
In A Brush of Darkness, I wrote Abby with both physical and emotional flaws, but in some ways it’s the emotional flaws that drive the story. Physically, Abby was in a car wreck a year before the story takes place. The accident takes her mother’s life and destroys Abby’s dream of being a dancer, leaving her with a gimpy leg, a metal plate in her head and unpredictable seizures. Her whole life had been centered around being able to dance and she’s understandably bitter about that loss.
She pushes it down as best as she can, but her internal denial of her mother’s death results in terrible nightmares. She has a tendency to lash out in anger at times, perhaps more than she might otherwise, even though she tries to hide her agitation behind a bit of snark. She also doesn’t want to admit her own physical weakness, and often takes her anti-seizure meds haphazardly. Obviously, this is a bit on the self-destructive side, but a fairly human response to tragedy.
It’s this level of despair that leads Abby to her first Contract with the OtherFolk, and eventually to her position of TouchStone to the Faery Protectorate. Her carelessness and ambivalence at her situation come with unfortunate consequences because she doesn’t bother to read the fine print of her Contract, and I think that’s something that many people can identify with. I wanted her actions (or lack of) to play a specific part in how she finds herself in this magical world, as opposed to some sort of destiny. As the story progresses, the way she sees herself and her situation have a direct impact on what happens, leading to additional character growth and greater sense of self-responsibility.
ABOUT THE BOOK
The man of her dreams might be the cause of her nightmares.
Six months ago, Abby Sinclair was struggling to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Now, she has an enchanted iPod, a miniature unicorn living in her underwear drawer, and a magical marketplace to manage. But despite her growing knowledge of the OtherWorld, Abby isn’t at all prepared for Brystion, the dark, mysterious, and sexy-as- sin incubus searching for his sister, convinced Abby has the key to the succubus’s whereabouts. Abby has enough problems without having this seductive shape-shifter literally invade her dreams to get information. But when her Faery boss and some of her friends vanish, as well, Abby and Brystion must form an uneasy alliance. As she is sucked deeper and deeper into this perilous world of faeries, angels, and daemons, Abby realizes her life is in as much danger as her heart—and there’s no one she can trust to save her.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A marine biologist in a former life, Allison Pang turned to a life of crime to finance her wild spending habits and need to collect Faberge eggs. A cat thief of notable repute, she spends her days sleeping and nights scaling walls and wooing dancing boys….Well, at least the marine biology part is true. But she was taloned by a hawk once. She also loves Hello Kitty, sparkly shoes, and gorgeous violinists.
She spends her days in Northern Virginia working as a cube grunt and her nights waiting on her kids and cats, punctuated by the occasional husbandly serenade. Sometimes she even manages to write. Mostly she just makes it up as she goes.
GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.
Thanks to Allison Pang and FinePrint Literary Management, I have a print copy of A Brush of Darkness to giveaway to one lucky winner!! Giveaway is open to US and Canada residents. Comments are appreciated, however, you must fill out the form below in order to enter the giveaway. Please read the Contest/Giveaway Policy for complete list of rules. Giveaway ends Sunday, February 20, 2011. Good luck to all who enter!