While it can be fun to speculate how the characters or muses might influence a story, in all seriousness the changes come from somewhere within the author’s psyche. What influences that may or may not always be easy to pinpoint. When I thought about the changes that ended up occurring in Jane, I knew immediately they stemmed from unresolved issues I’d buried beneath a heap of forced strength. While writing should not function solely for the author, especially when it works to enable catharsis, sometimes it is appropriate to use bits of one’s past to fuel a particular work. I believe, in Jane’s case, this is one of those cases.
I’d known the recurring antagonist, who has so far presented himself solely in flashbacks and nightmares, was going to be abusive. I wanted Jane to have a dark past, something she’s worked over the past fifty years to overcome; however, I had no idea it was going to be this dark. Speaking as a woman who’s survived both physical and psychological abuse, I can say the flashbacks and nightmares never completely go away. When a human monster leaves a dark smudge on your soul, it can fade over time, but it’s always going to be there no matter how faint it becomes. In my case, that smudge is the commonality between the author and the character—and that commonality extends in Jane’s need to find the light within the darkness, to turn something terrible into the springboard for something good.
I don’t talk about this piece of my past often, but when I do, I remember the searing pain that came with having a cracked skull. I remember the bruises, the split lip, the torn rotator cuff. I remember the terror and the torture. I remember fearing for my life. This has not left me bitter though. I wish I didn’t have those memories, even though I’ve put them to good use. Collectively, they have made me an exceptionally compassionate, sympathetic person, and that’s the kind of person I wanted Jane to be. I know she wouldn’t be the character she is without my past to help forge it. Still, it is a part of my past I try to forget, even though it does slip through the mental barriers from time to time.
In Jane the Hippie Vampire: Hair, her own memories push their way to the surface with an intensity they hadn’t before presented. There were a couple of parts that disturbed me while I wrote them. And that intensity only grows in the next installment, Flower Power, which will be available solely in the four-episode bundle. Some of it was difficult to write, but I’ve come to realize Jane is more the tortured soul than I’d initially planned, and that’s okay.
In this third novella in the dramatic horror series, Jane the Hippie Vampire, Jane goes south for the winter, hoping to find reprieve in the forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A supernatural stalker of the shape-shifting variety has different plans, however. Will her new-found ally--a park ranger with secrets of his own--and his redneck family be enough to save her from a fate worse than undeath?
Jane the Hippie Vampire: Hair is available on Kindle.