Pauline Baird Jones And Her Hero-Sized Headache
There is a rumor going around that writing Girl Gone Nova almost made my head explode.
I may have started it by whining on Twitter.
When I finished my last book, The Key, I had a plan. I knew what book I was going to write and who would star in it. No way was I paying attention to some guy who was not only miffed by my portrayal of his “wholly justified actions” (his words not mine), but who couldn’t believe he didn’t get the girl. He’s a smart guy. I don’t know what part of “you aren’t the hero” he didn’t understand, but he wouldn’t leave it alone.
Finally, to get him out of my head, I promised him I’d try to give him a better showing in the third book, but the leader of most of a galaxy had already had second billing. Third billing wasn’t going to do it. The guy is stubborn beyond belief and wouldn’t go away. I agreed to mull the idea. I think it was at this point that my head began the warm up to almost exploding.
It was an intriguing idea, taking someone from almost bad guy to hero. I’m not the first to do it, but this was a guy who strutted onto the page wearing pink. He fooled me the first time I met him. I bought the whole, goofball thing and he dang near got the girl.
Against my better judgment, I began to wonder what kind of story would fit him and what was the “right” girl for a guy done in shades of gray, but not afraid to wear pink? A guy who was a politician, for Pete’s sake. A guy who needed to be punished … not rewarded with the love of a “good” woman.
Unless she wasn’t “good?” What if she was exactly what he deserved for making my life difficult? I had the power. I could give him my headache.
At first, I had a hard time figuring her out because she lived in the shadows — even when she was out in the open. Those shadows wrapped around her and lived inside her. They obscured who she was to even the most intent observer — unless it was someone who also lived in shadow. And she liked pink.
I learned her name (though even that she didn’t give up easily).
Delilah Oliver Clementyne — Doc to everyone — because she doesn’t have friends.
Just like Delilah in the Bible, she figures out a target’s strengths and turns them to vapor.
Travel to another galaxy with sealed orders? No problem.
Do the impossible when she gets there? Might take a little longer, but doable.
Doc is probably the scariest heroine I’ve ever written. She’s a genius. She’s got beyond black ops training. Few illusions. Ice cold — until she wasn’t anymore. Sure she didn’t have a heart until it started beating for the wrong guy. And she has a secret. A big secret. It’s part of her strength and the key to taking her down if the wrong person figures it out.
Helfron Giddioni, the Leader of the Gadi people and half the Garradian Galaxy was the wrong person — until he became the right one.
Usually I feel a little guilty when I create characters and make them suffer. These two needed all I could throw at them. What almost made my head explode was how much they took and how hard they made me work to make them suffer.
And the guy the book was supposed to be about? Don’t worry. I gave him a better gig than Hel got. He strolls onto the pages in my upcoming steampunk / science fiction romance, Tangled In Time, releasing December, 2010 and meets a girl he’d like to take home to meet his mom — if they can figure out how to get home.
Each book in my Project Enterprise/Garradian Universe series is connected, though they can be read stand alone. Of course, I’m biased, but I wonder why you’d want to.
- Pauline Baird Jones