The main characters in my novels tend to have serious issues. In Beauty, Princess Tatiana Anatolia (called Ana) deliberately makes herself ugly in order to gain her vain, narcissistic mother’s affection. In Thorn Abbey, the deeply insecure Tess constantly worries that she will never measure up to her boyfriend’s dead, perfect ex.
Why am I drawn to such messed-up heroines?
For me, there’s something really interesting about an MC
who has a lot of growing up to do. As a writer, I love getting into the “belly of the beast” of a character’s darker moments. In Beauty, Ana shears off her long, lovely hair with a paring knife so her attractiveness won’t be a threat to her mother. In another scene, she puts on a dress that is too tight in order to emphasize her rolls of fat, same reason.
In Thorn Abbey, Tess practically stalks her new crush out of a movie, even though he clearly wants to be alone. Later, she bolts out of a study date with him because he has a book of love poems given to him by his former girlfriend.
Eventually, both Ana and Tess overcome their respective crazies and get to a better place (albeit with various unexpected twists and consequences). As the author, I could have chosen to make these heroines secure, confident, and independent on page 1. But then their journeys would have been a lot less real. And as someone who’s done her share of awkward, difficult growing up, I definitely prefer real—even if it’s not always pretty.
author Photo by Emma Dodge Hanson
Ana is nothing like her glamorous mother, Queen Veda, whose hair is black as ravens and whose lips are red as roses. Alas, Queen Veda loathes anyone whose beauty dares to rival her own—including her daughter.
And despite Ana’s attempts to be plain to earn her mother’s affection,
she’s sent away to the kingdom’s exclusive boarding school.
At the Academy, Ana is devastated when her only friend abandons her for the popular girls. Isolated and alone, Ana resolves to look like a true princess to earn the acceptance she desires.
But when she uncovers the dangerous secret that makes all of the girls at the Academy so gorgeous, just how far will Ana go to fit in?