There’s some characters who have ambitions. They have bigger ideas than the ones you had planned for them.
In The Empath, Renee Black is the epitome of this. She was meant to be an extra. A pain to irritate and hound Aeron and then gracefully take her exit stage left…
The first line and Aeron’s own impression of her should have told me then that she wasn’t going to settle for a bit part. There was something special about the way they interacted on the page. Something that I hadn’t bargained for but I followed with the thought that it would make Aeron’s isolation later on far harder.
Hmmm… Not in Renee’s eyes. Nope. She strolled onto the page once more announcing herself with the line, “it gets better.”
It did? Where had she come from and why was she there? She wasn’t meant to be there. She wasn’t part of the plot. I didn’t even know who she was. Renee wasn’t letting on. I eventually learned when the reader learned. She also threw the massive spanner at me about C.I.G and a mysterious Lilia. There went my deeply detailed plot line.
Something told me to keep with her, keep following her trail. It meant creating an entire new aspect of Aeron’s story, which would take a series to tell. It meant I had to find characters who existed in the C.I.G. Ursula Frei belonged to an entirely different series. She was a character that I’d loved and so she was perfect as Renee’s boss. Renee felt so too and bonded with her like they’d been friends for years…
Renee brought life into Aeron’s story. Their bond showed sides of Aeron that no one else saw. Her humour, her caring nature and helped her through the prickliest of situations. Renee, this intense, guarded, mysterious woman, who disliked being teased, hated revealing anything about herself and getting tied up in knots but a six-footer from Missouri.
She was so full of secrets, full of conflict and somehow she was the perfect co-star in Aeron’s story.
Although I didn’t plan on her involvement, I quickly realised that she was part of the story, a massive part. So when it came to Blind Trust, there were questions of how Aeron and Renee would work together in C.I.G and how Renee could cope with the secret she’s desperately attempting to keep under control. Again, it began to evolve so that new aspects of her character were revealed along with some secrets I hadn’t been expecting but the links go deep. Her intensity, guarded nature, mysterious ways were all still there but she began to show other sides. She had a lot more to tell.
Renee is a vivid and vibrant character when she’s on the page with me. I’ve long given up trying to baby walk her through anything. My notes on her scenes are minimal because she does what she likes anyway.
And, to me, that just makes her wonderful.