Wednesday, January 14, 2015


by Clare O'Donohue

Q: "Most male authors create male protagonists and women create female protagonists. Have you ever tried to write a main character of a different sex?"

The main characters in both my Someday Quilts and Kate Conway mysteries are women, probably because I just think first about telling a story from a woman's point of view. 

Someday Quilts is pretty estrogen heavy, but there are guys in the book that, I hope, are fleshed out. Jesse Dewalt, the police chief in Someday, is both a romantic and investigative partner to Nell. And Nell's grandmother, Eleanor, got involved with Oliver White, an artist with a shady past. Oliver was meant to be in only one book, but I liked him, so he stuck around. He's a complex guy and his presence has brought out things in Eleanor that I hadn't considered.

In Kate, Andres and Victor, Kate's camera crew, are central figures in the story. They are her closest friends, but they are very different from each other. Andres is a family guy, strong, low key, not easily rattled. Victor is mostly bluff, but he is loyal and kind, and open to life in a way that neither Kate or Andres dares to be. I have been complimented on getting their "guy talk" right - by men - so I'm thrilled about that. 

Admittedly, despite having all these male characters - the point of view in both series is decidedly female. However, in a new series I'm writing, I have two leads - one male, one female. I think I have pretty good insight into the male mind (which isn't that different from the female one anyway), but I am paying attention to how I write his thoughts.

For me, the big challenge in creating any character is making that person real - male or female, killer or cop. I don't want clich├ęs or stereotypes to creep into my writing regardless of the person, and I hope I'm being as respectful of that in my men as I am in my women. 



RJ Harlick said...

I agree with you Clara that the most important aspect is to not make the characters clich├ęs or stereotypes, although it can be rather tempting, particularly with the bad guys.

Clare ODonohue said...

RJ- It certainly can - which is why it's so important not to!