Often readers confuse an author with the characters they
create. I imagine the truth is that each character we write has a hint of us
inside of them. But it is also true that professional novelists go to great
lengths to create unique and separate characters with distinctive
personalities. So today I’m going to share with you how I am both similar to
and different from some of my female heroines.
Let’s start with the general idea of these tough Valiant
Hearts heroines I've been working on the last few years. I’ve always been strong, healthy, and athletic, but not quite
a tough sporty girl. During my school years I did play some sports, mostly
because I went to small Christian schools and everyone needed to be involved. I
was pretty good at basketball, but always preferred dance, gymnastics, and
cheerleading. As an adult, I like quiet physical activities like walking,
biking, hiking, and canoeing. I still dance from time to time as part of my
church’s worship dance team. But…I believe in female empowerment and that women
should follow whatever path God lays on their hearts. I don’t like to see
arbitrary limits put on what girls can and can’t do, and that was very
important to me as I wrote this Valiant Hearts Series. My Meyer’s Briggs
personality type is INFJ, which in addition to being creative, is also very individualistic
and idealistic, so I guess that explains my strong feelings about this issue. And I'm a bit of a romantic.
My Robin Hood-esque Merry Ellison from Dauntless and I actually have very little in common. On the Meyers
Briggs scale, Merry was my opposite on three out of four indicators. She is
more extroverted, sensory, and thinking. This made Merry the most challenging
character I’ve ever written, yet I loved and admired her. Her ESTJ personality
was the same as my middle child, my outdoor enthusiast and adrenaline junky. It’s
a great leadership personality. I often thought of tough sporty girls I’ve been
friends with over the years while writing Merry. Merry and I have a few things
in common like a love of children and a love of acrobatics, but even her
motivations and inner thoughts were often different than mine. I do have a
tomboy side, but it does not go as far as weaponry and hunting. In addition to
all of that, tiny, dark haired, exotic Merry is pretty much my physical
opposite in every way too.
Chivalrous with my
female knight is releasing soon, and I certainly have more in common with
Gwendolyn Barnes than with Merry. I was picturing Gwendolyn as a INFP/ISFP
hybrid. Gwendolyn hates mingling at a
big party, much like me, and she loves music, dance, and sunshine, again like
me. Her biggest flaw is that she tends to fade into a fantasy world rather than
deal with reality, which is something I have been guilty of from time to time, but
not to the same degree as Gwendolyn. She has more of a temper than I do,
although I share her abhorrence of injustice and can get pretty riled up when
faced with it. And again, she is tougher than me, although I think if I had
been raised with her hang ups, I might have turned out even more like her.
Finally, Gwendolyn’s tall, blonde, and curvy physical description is pretty close to mine at that age. At 5’10” I’m used to looking men in the eye and
feeling like I can do anything they can.
|How I picture Rosalind|
Next on the horizon is Courageous
with my crusader heroine. It won’t
release until July 2016, but you will be introduced to its main character in Chivalrous. Rosalind of Ipsworth
is Gwendolyn’s lady’s maid, best friend, and partner in crime. Of the three
Valiant Hearts heroines so far, I definitely have the most in common with
Rosalind. With her ENFJ personality, she is more of a typical emotional,
romantic girl, although she is tough enough to rise to whatever occasion is
thrown at her. She’s more outgoing than me, and she makes some unfortunate
choices that my upbringing protected me from. But her thoughts, speech, and
motivations are pretty similar to what I imagine mine being in those
circumstances. And Rosalind is a passionate woman, which is also a trait I share.
Passion is a characteristic that is often avoided in
Christian heroines, and yet a characteristic I think God highly values when
channeled in the right direction. In fact, I’ve used the ENFJ personality for
two other heroines in the past. Both Dandelion in Dance of the Dandelion
and Constance in Love in Three-Quarter Time
are feisty, passionate heroines as well.
Each makes mistakes, like Rosalind, but each learns to channel that passion
toward an intimate relationship with God. My daughter has an ENFJ personality,
and I have loved watching her grow in her passion toward God.
Maybe you’re wondering if I’ve ever written myself into a
book. I would say the closest I’ve come is with Allie, my Christian ballerina
in Dance from Deep Within. She shares
my INFJ personality, my love of dance and reading, my blonde coloring, and many
of my experiences. Her thoughts, tastes, opinions, fashion sensibilities, and
beliefs certainly mirror mine, especially when I was her age. But of course her
life is different than mine in some ways too, and her experiences are more
extreme, including a trauma I didn’t share. Still, I would say if you want to
know what I’m all about, Allie would provide the best clues.
So that’s me and my heroines. I hope you’ve enjoyed this
quick foray into our personalities.
Which of my heroines
do you think you would relate with the most? What is your personality like?