Every so often I like to talk to an author friend and get their impressions on the story they wish to tell and what motivates them to tell it in a particular way. As it happens, Sirena Robinson is a colleague of mine at PDMI Publishing, LLC. As our team has worked through the production of her book I have become a bit familiar with the author, the tale and some of the motivations. I asked Sirena to answer questions about what I saw that was different in her story.
To give you a short background, Devil’s Dilemma is about Griffin, a young woman born on the cusp of history and, consequently, marked for a purpose. A purpose she does not choose. She is destined to make a choice for all of humanity. If she chooses life, it will be an eternity of hell for her and all of mankind; if she chooses death she will save the world. Sirena has built a cast of characters that both support Griffin and hinder her in battles of the heart, mind and soul.
Reviewers have noted that the book can be rather intense at times and is definitely adult material. It is described as a highly original story that combines religious themes in a world of action and mystery that never slows down. Griffin grabs the reader and never lets go. Which is where I started with my questions.
Why, Sirena, did you choose a female lead? Does she bring something different to the question of saving the human race? Why did you choose a current time period for your tale? And what was your motivation in choosing companions for Griffin and her journey?
First, the question of why a girl. I wish I could say I set out to write a piece empowering women and staying true to the feminist ideal of being equal in all things, but truthfully, I just went where the story took me. When I thought about the character of Griffin, I wanted someone that was both weak and strong, both hard and soft. Who could suffer and triumph. Who would embody fear and bravery at the same time. To me, the character always felt female.
I do think she brings something different. Biblically, Griffin is much more Mary Magdalene and much less the Virgin Mary. She isn’t perfect, she isn’t pure, and she carries around a lot of baggage. This is an imperfect heroine. I didn’t want someone who was perfect. Griffin is flawed. She’s selfish, she’s impulsive, and she’s emotional. She’s HUMAN. I wanted to create a character that every reader can see themselves in. I wanted you to go on her journey with her, and at the end, I wanted you to feel what she felt. For that moment, I wanted the reader to BE Griffin.
Why the time? I wanted this to be something that could be happening right now and no one would know. It’s not set too far in the future, and a good portion of the book happens around now. I wanted to be able to recognize the world.
Don’t get me wrong, I love dystopian or post-apocalyptic novels. They’re some of my favorites, but for me, since I have a story so rooted in fantasy, I wanted to ground it with familiar surroundings and a realistic setting and time period. Also, having it start in 2000 was important to setting up the Chosen, so it evolved organically around the story.
Why the companions for her? I had originally thought about organizing the story a bit like a solar system with Griffin positioned as the sun. There would be other characters and subplots orbiting around her, but never interacting. At first, I wanted it to be HER story and nothing but her story. It didn’t work.
Alaria and Gabriel evolved from peripheral characters in the first draft to main characters in the final because their characters spoke to me. They had a story, dammit, and it needed to be told! Michael and Gage were much the same. Initially, Gage wasn’t in it at all—he was planned for the later books in the series—and Michael was in only one scene.
The rest of the characters were plugged in because I needed them to drive the story. Let’s be honest—as much as I love Sam, and I’m sure you will love her, too—her story doesn’t change the book. Alaria’s does. Gabriel’s does. Braxton’s does. So while the other characters have a lot of development, and they’re important to the plot, they weren’t deliberately brought in to change something in the story, but to make it work the way it needed to be told.
Now that I’ve written way too much, I want to thank you all for reading along with me. If you want to leave a comment with your opinion, you can be entered into a drawing for one of five free e-copies of Devil’s Dilemma, or the grand prize of a goodie basket filled with e-books from other PDMI authors, including Clay Gilbert, Tracee Ford, Greta King, Daven Anderson, and Stacey Garrett!
So, there you have it. Freshly published and sure to be a solid success. In fact, Sirena has a growing fan base ready for the next installment. Check her out in her own cyber-lairs.