Why, Felicia? Why pick someone like Naiche?
Updated: May 3, 2022
I'll be writing whatever pops into my head in this space. That could be everything from news of my WIP (work in progress) , musings on my previous novels, my dogs, or what I'm cooking or baking this week.
For now, here's a portrait of Naiche Decker and a short post about why I wanted to write about her.
Why write a character like Naiche?
If I had to pick the one question that I’ve been asked the most often about my Lovelace series, it’s that one. With the third book in the series dropping this month, I’m finally going to try and answer it.
Why did I choose to write such a complicated (and yes, often controversial) character? It’s simple - I enjoy reading complicated, flawed characters and I haven’t found enough women characters in science fiction who fit the bill. So, I wrote one. It’s an interesting question as to why there aren’t more deeply flawed female MCs. Maybe since male was considered as the default option for so long, most female characters were there for a “reason”. From the hooker with a heart of gold, to the ingénue, to the Florence Nightingale, they fulfilled a specific role and were, therefore, all fairly one-dimensional.
The defining flaw/characteristic I gave Naiche, especially in book one, “We Have Met the Enemy”, was her anger. Her anger certainly caused most of her problems and made her, apropos of the title, her own worst enemy. The rewarding part was growing her out of that angry, self-centered person and bringing the reader along for the ride. Naiche had to face up to her culpability and blind spots: to do what we all must do to grow – own your shit and do better.
Anger, though an interesting character flaw, proved to be a tricky one; many readers reacted negatively. I think male MCs with a trigger temper are more palatable, more familiar to many readers – while an angry female MC was viewed as unlikeable, even irredeemable. I knew, or at least suspected that going in, so the controversial part didn’t faze me. And the many readers who loved Naiche and cheered her on as she matured and developed more than made up for the ones who wrote her off by chapter two of "We Have Met the Enemy".
In book two, “Spooky Action at a Distance”, I strove to further Naiche’s character growth by having her face up to an old grudge, take on more responsibility, and even start to fall in love. To not only accept her connections to other people but to finally embrace them.
What was left for “Risks of Dead Reckoning”? Besides fleshing out that romance for Naiche, I decided to have some fun and introduce a new, truly flawed female character – Moira, a girl who’s more annoying and oblivious than Naiche ever was on her worst day. Moira and Naiche get thrown together on a perilous journey, which tried Naiche’s notoriously thin patience, tested her maturity, and taxed her ingenuity.
I think most people who joined Naiche for the full, three-book ride, would agree that she is not the same character we started out with. Character growth - that's what it's all about for me.
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