One of the more interesting questions I was asked at a book signing was where my characters came from. I have to admit at the time I really hadn't given it much thought. They were fictional.
I recently reread my first novel, The Gifts. Just to make sure that I didn't make any mistakes in the prequel, Sacred Secrets. Writing a series you have to be sure you don't make that dreaded mistake of changing eye color or hair color, or other important things.
Like all authors I have my favorite characters. Those I feel a special affinity with. But it wasn't until I finished Sacred Secrets and reread The Gifts that I realized many of my characters were bits and pieces of me. My dreams. My fears. My life.
Sacred Secrets was written on reader request. Many people wanted to know more about Jacody Ives. Where he came from. What made him like he is. And what happened to Gavin McAllister that caused the split.
Life happened to Gavin McAllister. Lies. Secrets. Pain. And no one hates lies and secrets more than Jacody Ives. Except perhaps me.
Everyone has secrets. Things they hide within the dark depths of their minds. Darkness spurred on my evil intent. They believe themselves safe, secure in the knowledge their secret is hidden from prying eyes. But that's never enough for the darkness. It soon grows hungry. A hunger fed by fear. Silent screams. The rapid beat of hearts. Death.
My children would be the first to tell you that you should never lie to me. I can deal with almost anything, and forgive almost anything. I would stand by my family and my friends through all things, but only when I'm told the truth.
Lies and secrets destroy the very foundations of friendship and family. What starts out small escalates until the light of love and friendship is overcome by the darkness of lies and deceit.
So Jacody Ives is actually a little bit of me. As are all my characters. He hates lies and secrets. He would die for those he loves. But he doesn't fool himself. There's a part of him that's evil. Waiting, watching, hoping the balance will shift. Set it free. Give it life.
And isn't that truly a part of all of us? It's why I hate lies and secrets. They fester into open wounds that pull you into the darkness. The weight of the world on your shoulders.
The truth may not always set you free--but it breaks a lot of chains that bind you. We are not always in charge--but we are always responsible.