That’s what I feel like people are thinking every time they ask me about what I’m writing and I actually answer honestly. “Well, I’m writing about this assassin…”
Inevitably, the other person’s eyebrows raise.
“I mean, she’s an assassin, but not really an assassin. She’s kind of blackmailed into it…”
The incredulous look gets more noticeable.
“She’s actually a really nice girl. Not exactly your typical assassin…”
By now there’s usually a few nods or mm-hmms to accompany the incredulousness.
“And I’m learning a lot because, well, she has to kill people, and I have no idea how to kill anyone, so, you know, research…”
By that point in the conversation I’m usually getting a full-on Look. The person’s sizing me up, taking in my small frame and colorful nails and bright eyes. I don’t look like the type of person who’d be writing about assassins. I look like I’d be writing about something, well, nicer.
But I’m not, and I never have been.
I love the dualistic nature of people. And I revel in my own two-sidedness. By day, I’m one thing. When I write late at night, I become another. Someone better acquainted with life’s little shadows and what’s lurking within them. In my opinion, the best people and characters are exactly that way.
I love writing about monsters, but I firmly believe that very few people are fully monstrous, and I believe most characters written as being fully monstrous would be largely unbelievable. My favorite characters are the delightfully dualistic ones, the ones who keep you on your toes—the Severus Snapes and Benjamin Linuses of the world. Hell, I’d even argue that Hannibal Lecter is not a fully monstrous character; he, too, is two-sided (he has a real soft spot for Clarice, and he can be surprisingly human and empathetic when dealing with her).
There’s part of Emerson—my character—that is monstrous. This thing inside her, laying dormant; that anger, that fear, and what it causes. There’s a bigger part of her that’s filled with love. But that’s not the interesting part, is it? You want to hear about how she goes bump—or BANG!—in the night.
You don’t want to read about kittens and rainbows and cotton candy. You want the blood, grit, tears, scratches and bite marks. Don’t worry—you’ll get ‘em.
So what’s a nice girl like me doing writing a story—a series—like this? Indulging my own dualistic nature for your reading pleasure. I’m sure the little monster inside you will enjoy it.