When I started writing the novel I was 18, which explains why the heroine is so young. She was part of me and yet so much more. When you create a character you can make them anything you want so why not make yourself into what you’ve always wanted to be. It was my therapy and my world. So Mara became a tall, fit, smart, redhead that could kick ass. She was braver and tougher than I would ever be. Being a tomboy and her personality were the only pieces of me she inherited.
In earlier drafts she was less mature and more playful. It didn’t quite fit a young woman focused on revenge or a trained soldier. What did seem to work was her naivety when it came to men and the budding romance that takes place. Sadly that too came from personal experience. Later edits aged her personality and matured her enough to make her character more believable.
From the beginning I knew she would be plagued by nightmares of what happened to her. Her driving force if you will. I also knew she would have a close group of male friends. Her special talent (sorry no spoilers here) was there before she was. But, Many other things happened organically. I can’t tell you how many times I wrote myself into a corner and had to cross out a scene.
Mara is always one step out of sync with the others. Not quite the outsider, but always different from the others for one reason or another. I’ve felt like that my whole life and now I’ve passed that no to Mara as well.