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 clichés 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 clichés or stereotypes, although it can be rather tempting, particularly with the bad guys.

Unknown said...

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