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As any author can tell you, we spend so much time with our characters that we know so much about them. So much more than we could ever put on the paper. And a lot of times it can be detrimental to the story line and we don’t even know it, because we are so close to our characters. Decisions that those characters make, can make no sense to the readers, but perfect sense to us because we know everything about them, so I’m glad to answer some questions and shed some light on the Evie and Gavin that I just couldn’t fit into the book without slogging it down with too many details.
Please be forewarned that if you haven’t read the books, there will be spoilers here. I’ll try to keep them to a minimum but continue at your own risk. :D
When I first started writing RENEGADE, Evelyn knew exactly what she was. She hid it from Mother, of course, but she knew and when Gavin came into the picture she told him, too. Of course, when my editor and I decided it would actually be more awesome if she didn’t actually know what/who she was and the readers found out when she did, it changed a lot of the beginning and the end. And like I said earlier, a lot of her and Gavin’s decisions were originally based on that knowledge, and now that Evie doesn’t know it, some of her actions seem strange to the reader. And maybe downright wrong.
However, that being said, I decided to keep a lot of that in still, because I had to think like a Citizen, not to mention there had to be character growth. A questioning of what they know and think they want to something different and hopefully better. Here’s where the spoiler comes in. Evelyn is an Enforcer, she was born, bred, and trained to be a killer.
And even though she doesn’t know that, she is The Daughter of the People. She grew up in a world where killing was just a cost of the comfort and peace she thought she had. In fact, all of the citizens think the same. Her world and thinking is strange and scary and possibly horrible to us. That was on purpose. I wanted to show a world that made us feel that way. I wanted to show a character who made us question our own decisions and choices. To make us ask ourselves the hard questions, like if we lived in this world, what would we do? What is right? What is wrong? To some she may be irredeemable for what she does in RENEGADE and REVELATIONS and maybe even book 3 when it comes out, and I understand it, but I hope that people will see her for what she is, which is a product of her environment and upbringing, not to mention lots and lots of brainwashing, but in the end her true self keeps shining through and that one person can make a difference. And can change who and what they are no matter where they’ve come from, if they choose to. Of course, the question still remains if she’ll make that choice, or if she’ll make a choice we don’t even know she had.
As far as Gavin…well, let’s start with the fact that he’s a guy. A teenage guy. He’s had to grow up in an unforgiving environment, where he had to grow up faster than he should have, but he’s still a teenage guy. Hormones sometimes take the place of braincells when it comes to it. In RENEGADE he kind of takes a back seat to Evie, because of how strong of a character she is and the fact that he was out of his element. A lot of people felt he made a lot of stupid choices with Evie. I agree. :) But, again, this was intentional. He was held captive. Someone was willing to save him. Possibly. And while he was intrigued by Evie, and attracted, of course, he didn’t trust her right away. He took the only option he thought he had. One where he had the possibility of living. He was sure he was going to die one way or another, he might as well try as opposed to just sitting and waiting for death.
And even though he lets some of his hormones make some of his decisions (like when he kisses her the first time) he doesn’t trust her until she basically takes a bullet for him. Another thing that people have questioned as to why he’s so “forgiving” of her conditioned responses. The simple answer to that is, that he knows (or at least hopes) that she’s not the monster she’s been trained to be. That everything she’s done is because of her conditioning and had she not had her brain messed with, being a murderer wouldn’t even be in her wheelhouse. And lastly, when Gavin says he loves her. A lot of people have expressed they felt this was insta-love. In a way, they’re right. Of course, research shows that certain circumstances can draw people together faster, but in this particular circumstance, I don’t feel he really loved her (at that point anyway.). Yes, he was attracted. Yes, he like, liked her (LOL). But love wasn’t quite there yet. He was just smart enough to realize that certain things turned on her Enforcer side, while other things turned them off.
Most of this pertains to RENEGADE and I know a lot of people really question a lot of the motives for both characters in REVELATIONS, but I can’t answer most of those without giving away a lot of book 3, so you’ll just have to wait for those answers. ;) Besides, this post is long enough. :) LOL.
J.A. Souders was born in the heartland with an overactive imagination and an over abundance of curiosity that was always getting her into trouble. She first began writing at the age of 13, when she moved to Florida and not only befriended the monsters under the bed, but created worlds for them to play together.
Because she never grew up, she decided she’d put her imaginary friends to work and started writing. She still lives in the land of sunshine and palm trees and is an active member of the RWA, CFRW, YARWA, SFWA, and SCBWI.
She is represented by Natalie Lakosil of the Bradford Literary Agency.
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