Today being my stop on The Witch of Babylon blog tour, I'm very happy to share a few words from the author, D J McIntosh. Here, Ms. McIntosh gives us a sneak peak at how her main character developed and what he means in her life. So, please give a warm welcome to my special guest and read on!:
My Leading Man
I’ve developed a steady relationship with a certain guy over the last couple of years and we just seem to grow closer as time goes on. He’s exceptionally good looking, comes from an exotic background, is smart though no snooty intellectual, has great social skills, oh….and, did I mention he’s thirty-three years younger than me?
He does have his failings. A tendency to skim the edges of legality if the money is good enough, a proclivity that stands him in good stead in his profession as an art and antiquities dealer. He has a strong sense of self-doubt that he covers up with bravado and occasional flashes of quick temper. But, hey, no one’s perfect. And he loves rock/blues guitar just as much as I do. That pretty much restores the balance for me.
I speak, of course, about my leading man – John Madison – the central character in The Witch of Babylon and the next two books in the Babylon Trilogy to come.
Authors use many approaches to form a central character. Some draft a long list of attributes, interests and qualities that, like paint strokes on a canvas, eventually make up a coherent picture. Others model their protagonist after someone they know well or find many of their own personality traits reflected in their creation. And some writers create a hero or heroine who is symbolic of an ideal.
When it comes to plot development I need to work off a very detailed palette before putting words on the page. But with my lead character it’s just the reverse. He sprang, as it were, fully formed from my imagination. One day he was just “there” - his physical image, personality, even, John, his first name. I’d wished in fact to name him Edward or James, two of my favourite male names, but he wasn’t having any of that!
At the time the manuscript entered its first major revision, it was suggested that a tough, take no prisoners female protagonist was in vogue and would likely have more appeal in the publishing world. This notion has certainly proven itself true with the very successful work of Mr. Larsson. In fact it would have been the safer way to go if only because I’m female and writing what you know does tend to result in a richer reading experience.
But while my novel has undergone many changes since those early days – alterations that considerably improved the book – the prospect of wiping John off the page produced a gut clenching reaction. I just couldn’t do it.
Unlike the protagonists in many thrillers who are ex-military, policemen, or intelligence experts, John Madison doesn’t know the difference between a Beretta Cougar or a Glock 19. The most he’s learned about hand to hand combat comes from watching Daniel Craig in Casino Royale. He is ready to defend himself and other he cares about but must rely on his wits to do so.
Is he a convincing leading man? I’ll look to my readers to answer that question.
I again want to thank Ms. McIntosh for giving us a glimpse into her writing preocess. Be sure to check out The Witch of Babylon and the author's website (I got stuck playing Babylon Squares for quite a while last night). Thanks for visiting!