My protagonist and central character in my first novel Ice Fire, and continuing in my series of future thrillers is Jock Boucher, a black Cajun Federal Judge in New Orleans. He is a renegade, not always in step with the rules of civil procedure when he seeks justice. Nevertheless, he has been described in a recent review as “one of the most agreeably easygoing heroes on this side of the Atlantic.” (Kirkus Reviews, May 2012) He has also been called unconventional, complex, law-bending and possessing a dry sense of humor. My sincere thanks to all who have offered comments. It is quite an experience to view something of your creation through the perspective of others.
It also presents a challenge. Knowing what readers like about a character makes it pretty important to include those traits in his next appearance. Take his complexity, for example. In Ice Fire, among other things Jock is conflicted about his feelings for his girlfriend Malika, and unsure of his feelings for her she declares a moratorium on their relationship. One can hardly blame her for wanting some space when thugs attack him in bars and bodies turn up in his driveway.
I have finished my draft manuscript for the next in the series and of course had to find new ways to continue his complexity. Repeating unresolved relationship issues was not possible. Fortunately, Jock did not let me down. The trait runs deep, is consistent and true to form. Jock is a complex guy.
And learning his traits, I’m asking myself; am I looking atmy character as I describe his thoughts, actions and reactions, or am I looking through him? Is this just a question of semantics? Have any other authors posed this question to themselves?
I can say one thing. As I get to know Jock Boucher better, traveling with him through his adventures, I do like him. Thank goodness for that. I have a friend who had a hit recording years ago and has since sung that one single song thousands of times. He has no regrets. To this day, he truly likes the song.
I hope readers will continue to tell me what they like about Jock Boucher. I will continue to try to meet their expectations of the character. it shouldn’t be too hard because, like my friend and his song, I like the guy.