Monday, April 21, 2014

A to Z Challenge... my favorite "Q" and "R" characters

OK, so I am officially behind... but its my first time getting behind in this challenge, ever, so I get one slip up, right? I'll roll right along and squeeze two of my favorite characters into today. Onward!

Q is for... Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame

No, not that ridiculous excuse for a Disney movie. In high school, this was one of my favorite books, and largely because of Quasimodo. As a character, he is brutish and violent, but his love for Esmeralda also makes him textured and sympathetic. If all you know is the iconic "Sanctuary!" scene, this book is definitely worth a read. I don't often call classics "page turners" but you will likely find that this one is.

R is for... Reagan from Chasing Memories

Chasing Memories is not your average Paranormal YA novel, due in part to a unique plot and part to a character that feels so real that you expect to find her sitting next to you when you close the book. From my initial review of the book:

"Meet Reagan. In many ways, Reagan is just your typical teenager, worrying about Homecoming court, cheering for her football-star boyfriend, and pouring over the latest paranormal YA novel. Yep, pretty normal... oh, except for that whole she-might-be-a-werewolf thing...

Reagan doesn't so much come to life as she vaults off the page in your face. Nonetheless, where other 'typical teen' narrators might annoy (hello, Bella Swan), the muted desperation to understand what is happening that lies beneath her teenage 'tude makes Reagan unquestionably sympathetic. I felt for her, I wanted to hug her, and I wanted to know what in the heck was happening to her."

I was gleeful at the opportunity to be a beta reader on the follow up, and found Regan just as exciting there. Tia Silverthorne Bach is a talented and dynamic author, and this is a character you will want to get to know.

Friday, April 18, 2014

My favorite "P" character

We're moving right along in this A to Z challenge. I am struggling to narrow my favorite characters down to just those I've included, but P was pretty clear.

P is for... Paul from Dune

Melange... Dune... Water of Life... Bene Gesserit. Dune was likely the inspiration for many, many currently famous fantasy and science fiction writers. Frank Herbert truly developed one of the first and most inventive universes that I remember falling into.

Paul is the son of a Bene Gesserit witch and a Duke. As the heir to a kingdom, the book begins as his family is betrayed and Paul must flee the life he knows and make his own way.

Though in later books, the Paul character just becomes bizarre, if you've never read Dune, then Paul is absolutely a character that you want to get to know.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

My favorite "O" characters

So the funny thing about my O character is that her name doesn't really start with O...

O is for... Offred...

Or Ofglenn or Oftom... or whatever name currently donned by the narrator of The Handmaids Tail.

Truly what I consider to be one of the most important pieces of 20th century literature, Margaret Atwood's masterpiece tells a chilling tale of the true and final marginalization of women in modern society.

Offred is the handmaid to Fred (her name, then, becomes Of Fred). This means that Fred is important enough to procreate. Since his barren wife cannot produce children, he gets a handmaid to help do the deed.

The picture of a society that values women only for their ability to help men is truly eye opening, and required reading for any feminist or feminist in training. It truly delivers something to think about.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Favorite "N" Character

I am cheating two days in a row. Yesterday, my favorite "M" character was Menna, a character from my book. My favorite "N" character is also one from my book (last one, I promise).

N is for... Nick

When my mother read my novel Max and Menna, she called me and told me that Nick was exactly the kind of man she wanted to see me end up with.

I responded... "What, fictional?"

Joking aside, in Nick, I wrote my dream man. From a troubled past, Nick is stoic and affectionate. He is the perfect soul mate to the vivacious Menna.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Favorite "M" Character

OK, so I am breaking my own rules here. I like to use the A to Z challenge to celebrate the works of other authors, but in the case of M, I just have to focus on my own for a moment... why? Because one of my characters is so real to me that I really feel like she is a friend.

M is for... Menna Soother.

One of the title characters from my first novel Max and Menna, Menna Soother grows up in a broken home with an alcoholic, abusive mother. With only her twin, Max, for support, she develops into a fearless and fierce woman with a plan for escaping her life.

I do not include Menna here out of any arrogance. I am sure there are many, many much more compelling and popular M characters I could have chosen. However, Menna is one of my favorites. I started writing her story when I was 14 and finished at 26. I grew up with her, and man parts of her grew out of my own trials and tribulations.

I don't just love Menna like a character, I love her like a friend. She is as real to me as the people I hang out with every weekend.

When the book published and so many of my Amazon reviews focused on her character, I was thrilled and felt that I had truly done my friend justice.

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Favorite "L" Character...

Moving on through my April digest of my favorite characters, I am happy to get to L.  Back in February, I shared some excitement over falling in love with a new author, Barbara Kingsolver (you can see that post here). The book I fell in love with, The Poisonwood Bible, also contains a character I fell in love with...

L is for... Leah Price.

The Poisonwood Bible is the story of a missionary family in the dense jungle of the Congo shortly before the country succumbed to revolution. Told through the women in the family, including a mother and four daughters, it is an uncomfortable, riveting depiction of a man who puts faith before family and watches his world crumble.

Leah Price is the middle child, for which I immediately loved her. She is fierce and independent and, in the story, is the only woman to ever openly defy her increasingly erratic and unreasonable father. Furthermore, Leah is the only member of the family that actively seeks out a better understanding of the Congolese people.

Through her very distinct voice, I was swept up so completely in this story that I tore through a 400+ page book in just under a week. She is truly a fierce and wonderful female character.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

My favorite "K" character

Though I’ve provided several examples of YA series where I related more strongly to the mail characters than the female narrators, there is one very clear exception.

K is for Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games

In the first book, Katniss is everything a female heroine should be in my book. She is smart, resourceful, humble, protective, and brave in the face of terrifying circumstances. Beyond all of this, she is simultaneously compassionate and fierce.

While Katniss’ character arguably grew far less likeable as the series progressed, as Hollywood’s first foray into the YA novel-to-move senstation post Twilight, I will always love her for showing young women that it is perfectly wonderful to kick some *ss without your abusive vampire boyfriend.