She killed her true love.
She gave his kingdom to the vampires.
She turned her back on her sworn duty to protect the innocent from the evil that preys on them, vowing to never pick up the sword of duty again.
She wants to die...
But the gods aren't that merciful to the truly despicable. Imogen is forced to pick up her sword in a quest to rescue the kingdom from the hands of the vampires. And its' not long before she realizes the horrible truth. To succeed, she will have to revisit the haunting sins of her past, and find a way to recapture her heart from the poison it drowns in.
Originally I set out to write a novel about a slayer set in medieval times, hacking down evil vampires. I was inspired by Underworld, and when I say inspire, I look at the Underworld movies the same as I do the Matrix movies. A wonderful premise, but poorly executed. I was hooked the moment the I saw Selene jump off the rooftop and land on the ground, walking away so coolly. I loved the way she went after the werewolves in the subway, and how she went through the movie with this resolute purpose of solving the mystery of what the werewolves were up to. The ending disappointed me, as did every movie after. I couldn't help but think, hey! Lets go back to that premise, and put Selene in a medieval setting, and let her kick some serious butt.
The moment I sat down to start Poison Heart, that's what I was thinking. I wanted Imogen to be this cold-hearted slayer who went around kicking butt until she finally vanquished the vampires. I envisioned her as this anti-hero type of character, who had such a cold heart, she almost turned into villain by the end of the book. She'd be so obsessed with killing vampires, you would almost hate her. Heck, the girl killed her true love, just because he was a werewolf! I envisioned epic battles in the book, armies of vampires fighting orcs and werewolves, as Imogen sat back and laughed at tricking them into fighting each other.
And the moment I set down, and my fingers started typing, all my preconceived ideas went right out the window. In a furious burst of words (I typed 10,000 in one night, which is a record for me!), Imogen took over, and it became a novel completely different than what I intended to write. Imogen just came to life and took over! I couldn't stop her, I didn't want to stop her, because her voice was so tragically beautiful, and her story so woeful, I was compelled to just follow along. She was this perfectly flawed character, who blamed herself for the betrayal of her past actions. But unlike the standard fantasy plot, where the protagonist starts out trying to recover from a personal tragedy that isn't their fault, only to be swept up in a adventure that eventually exonerates them...and...completely heal them, allowing them to go on to live happily ever after, Imogen was different.
She witnessed something that she couldn't bare and reluctantly goes on a quest to right the wrongs, she thinks she is responsible for, clinging to this fragile flame of hate to revenge it all. But she's reluctant, fragile, fighting between embracing her hate and trying to love again. She never wanted to be a slayer, she's at heart, a silly foolish girl, who wants to find love again. She constantly swings between these two desires, trying to heal her broken heart, all the while accepting her fate in this world.
It was maddening to try and balance those desires, knowing in the end she'd never completely heal, she'd would be like a glass vase that was broken and glued back together. She would never be completely whole, and because she wasn't, she would susceptible to her doubts and desires. Imogen was perfect to me, because she was flawed, always trying, but never capable of being true in heart and resolution.
But at the same time, she was as annoying as hell, because the girl had a tendency to go off and do whatever her little mind thought she desired at that moment. She didn't want epic battles, she wanted a journey to heal her heart as best as she could. Here is a girl that's basically a superhero, and she didn't want to demonstrate that in action scenes! She wanted to look a clutz on steroids...LOL
And that wasn't the worst thing about her. Oh—no! As a writer, I'm well trained to write in past present, but this girl wanted to tell her story in present tense, which made the editing process hell! In the end, we compromised, and I dare to think she's reluctantly happy about the book, and the following two. Imogen is stubborn, and refuses to do anything she doesn't want to, but I think her and I see eye to eye, now (or so I hope!)
She's definitely taught me, that your characters are your children, and you will love them, no matter how awry they go. You have to give them both, freedom and boundaries!