Sunday, January 24, 2021

Why choose? (Brenda Hiatt)

 When I first started thinking about this month’s topic, I quickly became overwhelmed by choice. There are SO MANY book characters I’ve loved, admired and wanted to emulate over the years! Who would I pick to become, if I could? Jo March? Elizabeth Bennett? Harry Potter? Samwise Gamgee? Because there were way too many to choose from, I decided to limit my choice to my own characters—ones I’ve written myself. To narrow my choices further, I would only consider my teen characters, since this is a YA blog (though I’ve had a few Regency-era heroines who were still in their late teens). 

It almost feels like cheating to say I’d switch places with M (Marsha Truitt), the main character of the first five installments of my Starstruck series, since so much of her was already drawn from my own awkward teenaged self. Still, how cool would it have been back then to discover I wasn’t just a geeky, unpopular high school girl, but a long-lost Martian princess…who finds a soul mate in her very own “prince”? Sure, she had to deal with a lot of scary and gut-wrenching challenges over the course of those books, but she rose to meet and overcome each one to (repeatedly) get her happy-ever-after…or at least her happy-for-the-foreseeable future. 



Then there’s Kira, the heroine of The Girl From Mars, my first “spin-off” Starstruck book. She’s not at all like me, so would be much more interesting to switch with! She’s super-athletic, she grew up on Mars, surrounded by cool, futuristic tech stuff, before unwillingly taking a space ship to Earth. Kira was also a fiercely committed activist, though her chosen cause turned out to be rather…questionable. But then she also gets a happy ending, with a “prince” of her own. Yeah, it would be fun to walk in her shoes for a while, I think. 

Of course, Molly, my next Starstruck heroine, is also unlike me in several ways. She’s way gutsier than me, relentlessly optimistic and an amazingly quick thinker when put on the spot (something I’m definitely not!) Even though, like M, she was adopted, she was raised by a loving family and didn’t have to deal with QUITE as much hardship as the other two before making it to her happy ending. So yeah, maybe Molly would be a good choice. 

But then I wrote Convergent, where over the course of the book, I got to “be” each one of six very different characters (including the three girls mentioned above).

Happily, I really don’t have to choose at all! As a reader—and a writer—every book I immerse myself in allows me to vicariously become another new character or characters. Some I’m eager to escape by the end of the book, while others I revel in and keep as part of me long after finishing the story. After all, that’s the beauty of being an avid reader (or a writer). Any time I get bored just being me, I can always find more characters and lives to experience between the covers of a book.

Happy reading! :)


  1. We always (or at least, for the most part) create character we like to walk around with, don't we?

  2. Interestingly, in your Starstruck series, I'm most like Kira (at least superficially), but the one I'd most like to hang with would be M.