This is a volatile election year. I promise not to get too political here but I will point out that unlike previous elections in the US when opponents slammed one another’s stance on important social and economic issues, this time around it’s personal. No one and nothing is sacred. Even private citizens are being ridiculed. When a candidate goes of their way to take jabs at every minority with a cruelty befitting a schoolyard bully, people are bound to take offense. I’m offended on numerous counts… as a woman, as the wife of a man who is proud of his Mexican heritage and our children’s heritage. And as the mother of a gay son. The funny thing is, I learned long ago that those who spew hateful words reveal themselves. And in time, they reveal their character.
There is a wonderful quote by John Wooden, “Sports don’t build character, they reveal it.” Life may not be a sport but the sentiment rings true nonetheless. Character is defined by the mental and moral qualities in a person and how they exercise them. We may not like someone, but we may admire their character. Or not.
So what about the characters of fictional characters? Both as a reader and an author, I admit I’m drawn to strong, passionate MCs with plenty of conviction and compassion tempered with a boatload of insecurities. I like stories about complex, relatable people who know the difference between right and wrong but find themselves navigating the gray areas where real life happens. Sometimes they get pulled toward the dark and have to switch course. In fact, I count on their internal conflict to push them as close to the edge as possible. How they weather that storm is everything. It’s the final sigh a reader gives as they turn that last page. The one that says… Yes! That is the happy ending they deserved.
But ‘deserve’ is the operative word because we as readers stand judge and jury on these characters’ character. If they fall short, we don’t root for them. We aren’t interested in their failures and successes because they don’t resonate. They’re the equivalent of a neighbor you wave hello to though you can never remember their name. Or they reveal a character so ugly, you’ll never forget their name.
The same will most likely be the case in this election year regardless of the outcome. Let’s hope we’re all reading the same book in November!
Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions in the 2014 and 2015 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in an almost empty nest.
Books by Lane Hayes (Dreamspinner Press):