Of course, both my main characters are very Alpha, and very complex, but that’s true of lots of people. As it says in the second novel in the series, The Fear of God, they are two fretful intelligences, swimming uneasily in profoundly swirling depths, complex and rich and potentially deadly.
Really. As a writer, it’s hard to have more fun that working with characters like that.
Jaguar clearly has no control issues – unless someone tries to control her. And Alex always sees himself in a position of both responsibility and leadership, his job to make sure everyone comes home alive. Together they give me plenty of chances to explore, explicate on, and hardly ever explain the chemistry we call love, and the surprising nature of courage.
In the fifth novel, The Green Memory of Fear, their complexities reach an apex, as they face Jaguar’s worst enemy, after her first real defeat on a job. Yet, they have some strength to bring to the situation. These are people who regularly see the worst of human folly, yet don’t succumb to cynicism or despair. Even when they’re facing the enormous odds against them in The Green Memory of Fear, Alex can say to Jaguar, “Love beats death every time. You of all people know that.
And he means it.
But in the best sense of the word, they’re also ordinary people. I know lots of folks who have faced situations that make the hair stand up on the back of my neck, and they do so with grace, with love. Jaguar and Alex can only be who they are because they’re possible, in very real terms. And I always hope my readers will recognize their own strength through reading about these characters. I hope they can translate the spirit that Jaguar and Alex show into what their own spirits need to face the worst, and the best, of their own lives.
After all, sharing stories to shape the soul of the world is what writing is really all about.
Barbara Chepaitis is author of eight published novels and two nonfiction books. Her most recent novel is The Green Memory of Fear, fifth book in the ‘fear’ series featuring Jaguar Addams. She is also director of the fiction writing program at Western College of Colorado’s Master’s program in creative writing.