I don't know if you noticed or not, but I am a man. A straight, white, American male. True, I like to cook, 5 days a week I serve as primary care giver to my son, I do the shopping and dishes, and I make way less money than my wife, but I also love football, boxing, hunting and Stars both Wars and Trek. Still, despite my interests being quite renaissance in nature, the idea of using a female as the central protagonist of a modern suspense series is quite the unique undertaking for a male author. Many would cock an eyebrow at the audacity of such an act. For all intents and purposes, I'm too old to be considered a true Millennial, so the idea that I'd have been exposed to the type of empathetic and progressive thought that many older individuals often - with more than a whiff of condescension - associate with said generation is debatable.
So the question remains: Why try to write from the point of view of a woman if you're a male? The answer could be multifaceted. Maybe I was looking for a challenge. Maybe I simply believed a female would make for a more believable psychic. (After all, society tends to think of woman as the more empathetic of the species lending to more credibility.) My adolescent crushes were Sarah Michelle Geller's Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly's River Tam. (Yeah, I love Joss Whedon's badass female characters. I don't condone the way the man himself treated the actresses, but the intellectual creations stand on their own merit.) So maybe I was creating another version of my high school dream girl? Well, in actuality, the answer is a lot simpler.
Maureen is, in her simplest form, a amalgamated tribute to several other characters in art and in my own life. In her first incarnation, Maureen was going to be able to talk to cryptically speaking murder victims in her dreams, akin to Jennifer Love Hewitt's character in Ghost Whisperer. One of my favorite book series (second only to LOTR) is Wheel of Time and I was always a fan of how Robert Jordan turned conventional fantasy tropes on their heads and made females the primary heads of state and household in his world. The feminine prowess was embodied no greater than in his Aes Sedai, the ageless women with access to the "One Power" - the mystical, magical force that allows them to do any number of supernatural things. Maureen's name is in fact a direct tribute to one of these characters, Moiraine Damodred (who I am personally very excited to see Rosamund Pike portray in the Amazon series). And her physical description is modeled very closely to what I imagine my step-mother would have looked like in her 20s and 30s.
But, then, you may ask, if I have such an affinity for strong female characters, why does it seem that I put Maureen through so much shit? Well, simply put, I also have much stronger affinity for flawed characters. I find them more true to life. We all have our virtues. We are all broken in certain ways. As I stated in an earlier post, when I think of what a real clairvoyant would be or act like, I would think of someone who was carrying a burden that they would wish they could be rid of. I decided to have Maureen persecuted and broken by her formative years so that the any growth (and admittedly the personal growth will be small and incremental in nature because, let's be real, if you went through what she did and lived like she did for over a quarter of a century, would two weeks in a random Missouri town really make you just do and about face on your outlook of life?) really makes the reader feel something.
In the end, I don't necessarily view The Demon Sight as a female supernatural mystery series. It's the story of a person who happens to have supernatural abilities, just happens to end up using them to help solve crimes, and just happens to be a woman. It is not, nor has it ever been, my intention to turn Maureen into some kind of superhero or Deus Ex Machina for law enforcement. The series is a story of a person accepting her place in the world, growing, learning to trust, and slowly making her way to becoming whole. She might never get there - and she will certainly never drop her acerbic ways - but the journey is what is important.
I don't just write novels. I just like to write. This blog will not be polished, it won't be edited closely. There will be spelling and grammar errors and it might drag on in places. But it will be fun, off the cuff, genuine, and hopefully interesting to read!