Joanna Lambert on why we so the things we do!
The Famous Five Plus group are a fairly diverse lot. We are all writers but our genre and styles are quite varied. Some have one main character featuring in all their books while some write sagas or thrillers. Others may have a varied palate covering many aspects of contemporary novel writing and then there are those like me who have a common thread through all their work.
I guess I had always thought of myself as a saga writer; someone who enjoys having two main central characters but loves the broader aspect of a supporting cast who provide a weave of sub plots through the story. However, looking slightly deeper into all of this I now find everything I have written so far has one common denominator: an evil woman. Why this has evolved I have no idea. Maybe there is some hidden Freudian thing going on inside my head. I only know it works and that if I try to create the same features within a male character it does not appear to work as well.
In the Behind Blue Eyes trilogy the ‘love to hate’ woman was Melissa (Mel) Carpenter. She was mother to central character Ella. Beautiful, glamorous and totally selfish, she was overindulged by her doting husband (Ella’s stepfather Liam) and had an exceptionally vicious tongue. She breezed through all three books leaving a trail of havoc, mostly in her daughter’s life. A social mountaineer, she had absolutely no qualms about the means in which achieved her goals in life.
In the sequel Between Today and Yesterday which took the same characters from the 1970s into the 1990s it was the turn of American singer Marcie Maguire. In the trilogy Ella’s love Matt Benedict had fallen foul of Mel’s plotting. He had abandoned Ella and gone to the States to work. Marcie had been his protégé and had fallen under his spell. Although he had never shown any interest in her, she was determined when they returned to the
for a tour that Matt and Ella would not be reunited. She failed and returned to the UK swearing one
day she would get him back. Between
Today and Yesterday saw her return after sixteen years. Now an international star, she was in US Europe for an exclusive tour, a new venture into
opera. Unlike Mel where what you saw is
what you got, Marcie was more far devious. A mistress of deception, she could
project tears and child-like vulnerability in one breath and knife someone in
the back in another. She caused absolute
chaos in Matt and Ella’s marriage and almost achieved her goal. But not quite…
You see that’s the thing about my evil ladies, I allow them so much rope and then I reel them in. I’m a great believer in Karma both in real life and in my writing. What you dish out eventually comes bouncing back at you and this is exactly what happens to both of these characters. Because when all is said and done for me it’s all about that happy ending. Good has to triumph over bad; I could not finish my stories any other way.
And my next offering? Well The Other Side of Morning has another awful woman who I can guarantee will cause hackles to rise and entertain in equal measures. For me that evil presence is an essential stimulus in anything I write. It drives the story and hopefully keeps the reader turning those pages.
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