Please extend a warm welcome to P.I. Barrington, who has wandered into the ruins today to talk about her book, Isadora Daystar - which I'll be reviewing later this morning.
Isadora DayStar was a true labor of love. I was trying to create a character I hated but it just didn't work; in fact I grew to love her, terribly flawed as she is. It's funny but over the years I had all of these flawed women characters who were losers in some way but I'd put away any thoughts of writing until about 2008. I was published in 2009 with a futuristic crime thriller trilogy (Future Imperfect) but it was a gritty, fast paced thriller with flawed characters who were that way through no real fault of their own and were definitely nowhere near Isadora, there was the requisite happy ending. I'd had several short stories published as well. Isadora DayStar, I realized when I began seriously writing the book, was actually the composite of all those flawed female characters. In another time and place I'd probably have killed her off at the end, lol!
I think when you have someone as deeply damaged as Isadora, you have to have faith in her; you have to believe she's got strength that she doesn't know she possesses and sometimes you don't know she possesses. Isadora is riddled with enormous, life ripping guilt, and she can't forgive herself. Like many people she tries to bury the guilt and memories with Ingentin, the drug she is addicted to, and she'll do anything to satisfy that addiction rather than deal with that guilt. It's just too big for her. I've said before that a lot of my work is about psychology; guilt is both a universal experience and a powerful motivator for human beings. People behave in all types of ways because of guilt and a lot of times they punish themselves. Isadora DayStar is one.
I had to bring Isadora to the lowest place in her life, I had to debase her and humiliate her completely and that was very difficult, probably one of the hardest books I've ever written, if not the hardest. The prostitution scenes, even though they weren't graphic at all, were designed to show just how low she sinks to get her Ingentin. And yet, at the worst moment, she sells herself in the most terrible way not for the drug but to protect someone else.
There's still a little flame of hope in her though that flickers through. No matter how abused and kicked down she gets, she still tries to survive. It's that hidden, sometimes invisible strength that keeps her alive amidst all the horror and torture she endures. With the amount of suffering she endures she's a survivor. I had to create that flicker, that tiny belief that somehow someway in the future, she might get a break. That's why she desperately tries to work as an assassin and that's what leads her to utilize that secret strength.
I'll tell you a secret that I've never talked about with Isadora. I cut out an entire chapter that I loved because I thought it would be too depressing for the readers. I'd come to a point where that chapter was probably the most poignant of the book and I hated to cut it, but I worried it was just too negative. Or really that it built up hopes and then dashed them and then I cut out an alternate ending of that chapter that was…too much. I felt the readers would give up by the apparent hopelessness and not follow through reading to the positive ending.
So that's my little version of "Author Confessions", lol!
I do thank you so much Bob for allowing me to open up a little on the writing of Isadora DayStar! It was great fun!
Check out the tour page for Isadora Daystar over at Close Encounters with the Night Kind and enter to win a copy for yourself!