Moving on from where Dusty came from in the geography of my imagination, I thought I'd share where Red came from too.
Deadlier... than the Male was the first novel I wrote. It took more than a decade to get it to where it became a 'proper book' (thanks Fiona hehehe) and the journey of that is enough to use up an entire Blog, so I'll gloss over that for now.
Red is female, like me. She's a red-head, like me. She has a temper, like me and she has no hesitation in killing those that annoy her enough... not like me.
A lot of the people that know me well and have taken time to read my books can see similarities between me and Red but that's as far as it goes. My imagination takes Red into extreme situations where the choice is kill or be killed and she obliges - with enthusiasm and flair.
Where Red's story is concerned, it began when I worked at a nightclub in the town close to where I lived. I worked there as Front of House staff - Door Supervisor, or Bouncer as it's more commonly known.
It was a slow evening, with not many customers, because the club had just opened and it took a few weeks before it became 'the place to be seen'. I was looking up at the sky over the rooftops of the buildings across the road and I turned to Lolly, the receptionist and said: "Can you imagine someone leaping from rooftop to rooftop, silhouetted by that full moon?"
"Are you talking about vampires?" Lolly asked.
"No, werewolves." I said that without thinking.
Vampires were still sexy, even though 'Interview' with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt had been released five or more years before and Lost Boys were more than a decade older. I was starting to want more from the monsters I was reading about, I wanted something different. If I could write a story that entertained me, I was sure that I would be onto a winner.
I went home from work (it would have been around 3am) and I started to write.
I wrote what I knew - that's the advice, isn't it? - I wrote about a woman that was confident and intelligent (no, really, I can be, just give me a minute...). I wanted people to not only like her, but to feel empathy for her. I also wanted her to be strong enough to take care of herself and to not need anyone taking care of her, watching out for her or kicking ass for her. I wanted her to be surrounded by people that would do all those things if she needed or wanted - that's what friends do, isn't it?
I wanted this to be more extreme than a tale of friendships, trials, fall-downs, stand-ups and the like, this had to have gore and blood and mayhem - things I like to read about. I wanted my story to be as good as any I've read, as entertaining, as enthralling - as unputdownable - as any of those books I love. I didn't want much, did I?
That was going to be a test of my, as yet untried, talents.
I'd never written a full novel before. I had written short stories but never something that had to be disciplined and structured.
It took me two years to write.
I think I started out by writing about something that scared me in my daily life. Now, what scared me then (still does) was the idea of being alone in a deserted place and being attacked. I suppose that everyone has that fear and I'm no psychologist but I would assume that it's a natural fear of becoming someone or something's prey. Bearing that in mind, I set about writing about a woman on her way home from work, tired, distracted and vulnerable - just the right ingredients for a victim. Throw in a lonely location and a few added spices of previous attacks in the same place and we have a tense scenario where we just know she's going to be assaulted.
I added a twist of irony and deep satisfaction, a few pieces of location that I tumbled around in my head and scattered them in some slightly altered geography and there! I had my first scene and Red was born.
Then I wanted a back-story for this lady. I didn't just want a little back story though, I wanted her to have centuries of it! I took her five hundred years into the past and as I typed, she grew from an exceptionally fragile human girl, orphaned and alone, to one of the most powerful Wolves that had been documented.
Red is kick-ass, she's all-fury when necessary, she's independent and capable - she's Deadlier... than the Male.