A huge thank you to Deva here at Urban Paranormal for letting me visit and talk about my choice for a Latina lead. I love that this blog is dedicated to books with ethnic characters—something I’d like to see a lot more of.
When I first starting a book, the character is like a mannequin: very generic features, very generic face, no hair, no eye color, and as I write the story, parts begin to fill in. She gets an eye color, a hair color... her body starts to change shape. I figure out what she likes to wear, how she talks, how she moves. Her backstory and fears fill in and I learn where she came from and who she is; why she makes certain decisions, what she’ll do when backed into a corner. I’m notorious for sticking my characters in tough spots and seeing what happens.
Lightning Rider was the same way. I had the idea of a story, but wasn't really sure who my Lightning Rider was. And this story went through about four different variations. In the beginning, Evy’s father, Vic, was the lead, but that never quite felt right, so I’d trash the book and go work on something else. But this book was like a phoenix; every time I’d burn it in some heated emotional fit, I’d find it the next morning on my desk, waiting for me to get it right.
Even before I had Evy’s facial features and hair color, she always had the same backstory, I just wasn’t letting her tell the story from her point of view. Once I got out of her way and pushed everyone else aside, the story bloomed into color and there was no burning it. Evy’s attitude and strength was there from the very beginning, and as her features filled in, it was very clear she was one smart, sassy Latina who wasn’t going to take crap off anyone.
There wasn’t really a conscious choice to make her Latina, more of a conscious choice to let her become who she truly was. There was no molding her into a blond Barbie, even if I’d wanted to (and who would want to). What I loved—and didn’t expect—in this story was how Evy’s relationship with her family would play such a large role. Book two in the Lightning Rider Alterations spins off some very interesting incidents with her family that would have been detrimental without the tight family bonds.
Latinos will always be main characters in this series, and I can see several other ethnicities playing large supporting roles. (spoiler alert) The Italian, Constantine, will be around for a long time, Evy’s alterations are going to take her around the globe and she’s going to need a large supporting cast of locals.
I’ve been delighted to see the reader response to Evy’s ethnicity, and hope they’ll stick around for the rest of her journey. To read about Evy, her family, and how she saves the future, check out Lightning Rider, book one in the Lightning Rider Alterations, available everywhere May 31, 2013.
Thanks again for having me and letting me share a little of what goes on in my writer brain as characters come to life.
To find out more about Jen Greyson, click below.