by Robin Spano
Question of the Week: "Most male authors create male protagonists and women create female protagonists. Have you ever tried to write a main character of a different sex?"
My Answer: Yes.
I write multiple points of view in each story, and while my lead character has so far been the same female undercover cop, each book in the Clare Vengel series has at least two men out of its four or five POV characters.
In Dead Politician Society, the most controversial character was Matthew Easton. He's a misogynist professor who sleeps with his female students—prefers first years who are still naive enough to think he's brilliant. He's also an inspired teacher who truly cares about empowering his students to effect change. I had a lot of fun inside his conflicted head.
In Death's Last Run, I really enjoyed the world from behind the eyes of Richie, the drug smuggler trying to go legit. Paradoxically, he was probably the most ethical character in the book. I gave him my love for snowboarding on easy cruising runs with dance music blasting in his earbuds. I often found myself physically grooving to the beat inside Richie's head.
But the most fun I have ever had crawling inside the skin of a man was when Wattpad asked me to write Rob Ford fan fiction.
I was intrigued by Ford. I liked his politics, the person not so much. I thought he was being unfairly demonized by the Toronto Star reporters. After all, Winston Churchill was drunk all day when he saved the world from Hitler. Was a crack habit so significant when his policy was working?
So I used fiction to throw down my thoughts on the world from inside Rob Ford's head. I didn't paint him in a saintly light, but I tried to figure out where his human side might come from.
Inside Ford's head, he wasn't an alcoholic—he just drank vodka like most of us drink coffee. He loved his family, he hated socialists, he said outrageous things that did not befit his job (but would have been effing hilarious if someone you liked said them at a party).
So yes to writing men. (Though I admit I find it faster and easier to get complexity into a female character!)