I wanted to stress the importance of family and to follow what happens to Eileen and Jenny when odd pressures are put on them. Jenny has to come to terms with being two species and how to use magic for good, if she uses it at all. The Queen wants to recruit Jenny, Eileen wants her to keep magic at bay (and suppressed the signs of it in the girl for years) so whatever route the girl chooses, she’ll upset someone. Jenny knows she’s been dropped in it. I find it fascinating to explore how she will cope with this.
Eileen and Jenny like to control their lives. There’s much fun to be had writing about characters like that when control is taken away by circumstances they can’t do much about (though Eileen bless her did her best to cheat those). And Eileen, happy to keep her magical powers while ditching the magical world, wants to stop Jenny using her powers too much. It’s also fun writing about characters who don’t have any problems with hypocrisy! I’m also at an age where I want to read what I want to read and not necessarily what’s out there so if that means writing what I want to read I’ll go for it. I’m utterly convinced there is a market for stories with an older heroine and focussing on relationships other than the romantic one.
Do I base my characters on anyone?
I use a trait to get a character started. I knew Eileen was going to be stubborn, to have a past nobody would guess at but she would also have courage and be honourable. Her name comes from my mother’s middle name, which my mother hated for being drab. That’s made me determined to make my Eileen anything but drab! But I deliberately don’t pick someone I know and write about them. It is far better to invent your own characters in the first place as they’re more likely to be interesting, you’re not working out angst, revenge etc and your characters are unlikely to sue for defamation!
What do you like writing best and why?
I love writing dialogue. I’ve always had a an ear for it and enjoy writing characters having a row! Probably says a lot about me! Also dialogue is great for setting pace and reveals so much about character and in relatively few words. You can give hints as to background, education level and social standing for a start. I like the immediacy of short stories but also love the space a novel gives you to expand and develop themes more. I try to make sure I enjoy everything I write.