Monday, March 21, 2011

Dream On

Who does your main character have a crush on?

We’ve all had someone we secretly liked but didn’t tell for any number of reasons. My protagonist, Alex Sabian, is no different. Although she’s been in an off-again-on-again relationship with Varik Baudelaire for years. Varik is a complicated man, er, vampire. He keeps secrets like some people keep houseplants. He also has an uncanny way of pushing Alex's buttons, which usually leads to an argument if for no other reason than Varik thinks Alex is cute when she's mad. Like I said, he's a complicated guy.

However, there is one man with whom she is eternally infatuated and she knows will never let her down nor anger her: Atticus Finch.

If you haven’t read Harper Lee’s masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird, it may be difficult to understand why a vampire would find a fictional human character so appealing. The simplest answer is that Atticus and Alex are similar creatures. No, Atticus doesn’t have fangs or require blood to keep from going insane, but they both have a strong sense of right versus wrong. They both know that what's right isn't always popular and what's popular isn't always right.

Atticus Finch acts as the unwavering moral compass in To Kill a Mockingbird. He's admired and respected by all for his straightforward, quiet manner and willingness to lend a helping hand to anyone who needs it. Ironically, it’s his willingness to help that leads to the greatest conflict within the book.

His decision to defend Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman, isn’t a popular decision in the small Depression-era town of Maycomb. It isn’t popular but it’s the right decision. Atticus pours himself into the case and gives Tom his best, even though they both know it’s hopeless. Despite the challenges and ridicule he faces, Atticus retains the respect of most of Maycomb’s citizens in the end.

These are the qualities Alex, my protagonist, finds attractive. She admires Atticus’s courage in making the difficult decision to do what is right and not what is popular. She admires the gentleness and evenhandedness he shows in caring for his children, Scout and Jem. She admires his unassuming manner that hides a fiery spirit that seeks (although futilely) an equality of justice. Atticus is a shining light in a world of stark black and white. But a vampire’s world isn’t black and white. It’s filled with grays, and Alex knows that, if he was real and a vampire, Atticus wouldn’t survive very long. He is the unobtainable dream guy.

And isn’t that the point of having a crush? It’s the dream more so than the reality that appeals to us. It’s the “what if,” and in a world filled with uncertainty, the dream is often the only thing that keeps us going.


Jeannie Holmes is the author of the Alexandra Sabian series about an FBPI Enforcer charged with policing the vampire population of Jefferson, Mississippi while navigating an ever-increasingly complicated person life. Jeannie fears spiders, large bodies of water, and bad weather, which completely explains why she moved from the backwoods of southwestern Mississippi to the Alabama Gulf Coast. She lives with her husband and four neurotic cats.


Rebecca Cantrell said...

Plus he looks adorable in those glasses.

Atticus Finch is the secret crush of many mystery writers, I suspect. Not that I'm confessing anything...nope...not me...

Thanks for a great post, Jeannie!

And Varik's pretty hot himself. I bet he's the source of a few secret crushes of his own.

Jeannie Holmes said...

You have to love the glasses. So nerdy chic. :)

I've been told Varik is hot more than once, and I know he's the object of desire for a few people. It's kinda of creepy actually. lol