Question: Does the story make the characters great, or do the characters in the story make or break the book?
They Give Me a Way to Expose Real Corruption
My novels introduce two very strong-willed and dynamic characters. Linda and Marc both have the same challenge. They are marked for death in the most painful way possible. How do they deal with their circumstances? Why do they choose to place their trust in the other? Linda and Marc’s actions allow me answer these questions. Along the way, they expose the underbelly of the Georgia prison system.
Maybe a reader might be interested in an editorial about a corrupt legal system. Almost everyone wants to cheer for two underdogs, especially when they are pitted against the gangs of Georgia and an evil district attorney. Thus, the characters, both good and bad, allow me to create an action/adventure story. The novel is not just about a Georgia prison; it is about how Marc and Linda manage to survive it.
I found myself caught up in the Georgia legal system. What I learned scared the hell out of me. My challenge was to figure out a way to tell my story. But, how could I entertain the reader while exposing the system? The solution: Linda and Marc.
Linda: “The Feminine Machine”
Linda grew up on the streets of Atlanta. She never knew her father, and her mom died of a drug overdose when Linda was just 12 years old. After dealing with the nightmare of the foster care system, Linda chose to run away. She learned to support herself by becoming a cat-burglar. But that was not all: Linda hated drugs. So, she chose to target her nocturnal activities at the ill-gotten gains of the underworld. Linda stole from the Atlanta gangs.
As Linda grew into her teens, she learned the hard way to never trust anybody but herself. She never stayed in the same place more than a few months, and chose to have no friends. To defend herself, Linda studied martial arts and developed her physique into a hardened machine. Yet, she never lost her femininity. Linda learned to use her feminine wiles to her own advantage. Never again would she allow anybody to take advantage of her. In many ways, Marc and Linda are complete opposites.
Marc: “The One Who Lost it All”
Marc was born into wealth. He had all the advantages in the world. As a successful computer-architect, Marc made a great living and had many friends. But he had an internal demon. Marc was an alcoholic on his way to catastrophe. He allowed alcohol to consume his every waking moment. Eventually, Marc lost everything. He found himself wandering aimlessly. Then, with alcohol literally in the driver’s seat with him, he found himself caught up in Georgia’s legal system.
So, how does an alcoholic computer-architect end up working with a cat-burglar? They both find themselves in the same dorm of Georgia’s first co-ed prison. How do they meet? They both inadvertently end up saving the other from assaults on their lives.
They Help Readers Become Part of the Ride
Why is this a great story? Because the characters become real to the reader. Then, the events are told through the eyes of the characters. This allows the readers to relate and become a part of the action. In fact, Linda and Marc’s story demonstrates just how easy it could be for almost anyone to get caught up in a corrupt legal system.
The characters in Retribution: Serendipity tell the story. They come to life as they walk the reader through a thrilling ride that brings the reader’s emotions to a head. Telling a story can be interesting. But, allowing one’s characters to live the story makes it possible for the reader to become a part of the ride.