What’s the best character you’ve ever written? What’s the one character you wish you’d written? These are the hard questions I like to put to other authors, but rarely like answering myself. (Don’t worry, I do answer this one)
The Dolls had to answer me, or else I’d be bitchy at them for weeks, so here are the best characters they’ve written, and/or the one they wish they’d written:
Katrina: I wish I’d written Calamity Leek from The First Book of Calamity Leek. I love kid characters in adult books, but especially ones that have one over on the adults–they see more, learn more, do more… Calamity is a force to be reckoned with at only ten or eleven years old in her clan of crazy, heathen sisters.
Christian: What’s with all these impossible fucking questions? Jesus. That’s not my answer, by the way. Okay, not a lot of people know this but I’m a fan of David Morrell, the Canadian writer, and I always wish I’d written First Blood. Rambo might come across as a bit cheesy and contrived in this day and age, but the original character is fascinatingly written. Complex yet very simple, which is extremely difficult to do. By the way, the book has a lot more depth and is a great deal darker than the film. I did try to write a Rambo-esque character in Human Waste (Dan Pallister), but my attempt was admittedly weak in comparison to Morrell’s. If Dan Pallister and Rambo had a fight, I’ve no doubt Rambo would win.
Peter: Ella Jenkins, The Broken Doll, was a lot of fun to write. I tried to make sure that she came across as both vulnerable and dangerous in equal measure.
Michael: Elsie McBride as a study in corruption. She is the darkest and most substantial character I’ve written, because over the three books in the forthcoming Gift Trilogy, she has time to develop and grow. We first see her as a baby in a bottom drawer.
Liam: I like them all, but I’m admittedly a bit biased.
Renee: I wish I’d written Owen Meany, from John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany. That character has haunted me since high school and I’d love to craft such a memorable personality.
As for the best character I’ve ever written. It’s hard to choose. Carroll Albert from In the Bones, Jack from The Legend of Jackson Murphy, and Milo Smalls, from Mad. I love Elwin from Cats Like Cream too, and Gopher, a secondary character in Eat the Rich… I guess it’s like children. You can’t pick a favorite.
Steve: I am best known for Brandon Thighmaster, a monk who subverts everything about monks. Instead of seeking enlightenment by turning away from the self, his temple seeks perfection through utter self-obsession. In short, I get to write a kung fu monk who is guilelessly in love with himself, and thinks he’s far more awesome than he is. A good friend of mine pointed out that Brandon Thighmaster is a dumb white guy’s misunderstanding of eastern mysticism, ignoring all the deep stuff in favour of wicked abs and showy spin kicks. He was absolutely right.
What about the rest of you? Any character you wish you’d written? Or, I guess we can turn this around and ask you what’s the WORST character ever written?