It was an incredible journey writing the novel Prohibited. All of my characters gave me insight into myself. However one of the hardest characters I had to write and the one that influenced me the most was Maxine.
When Maxine first developed in my mind, I saw her as a young naive girl that gets seduced by this older white male. She was unable to control herself and unable to say no to him. She grew up without a father and so she could be very easily led by these older men to do things that were not in her character to do.
After awhile I became bored with her. She was supposed to be the main character but even I felt like she was boring. I also noticed that the story was not evolving the way that I wanted to. In the back of my mind I knew that she was much more complicated than that.
After letting a few people read my first draft of the story, they felt that Maxine was still an enigma; they could not pin down her personality. They were not getting enough of her personality in the story.
I decided that I needed to just take a break from the novel. My husband wanted to know why my writing was not moving along. I told him my problem and not long after talking to him it hit me.
I was the problem. Not Maxine. My own issues and problems were holding up the story.
I guess I was stuck on this damsel in distress persona and there were just so many of those types of main characters out there. I was afraid that if I let her have no care almost male-like attitude on life that readers would not like her.
I finally just gave up and wrote the character the way I felt she was supposed to be. I didn’t second guess her comments or responses to things and I tried hard not to filter her. I had to free her and take her out of the box that I put her in. The same box that I put myself in.
I gave her the freedom to be herself and explore her sexuality. I was afraid to let her be who she was meant to be because I just could not let her shake that good girl mentality. I was holding her back the same way I was holding myself back. I myself could not at the time shake my good girl persona.
I realized that Maxine was the woman that I thought I was going to be when I was in college. I left high school thinking that I would get the opportunity to shed my good girl persona and be as bad as I wanted to be.
I consider her to be my alter ego. She is me…without the filter and with little regard for what other people think of her. She is not afraid to be sexual.
After Prohibited was finished, I realized that letting Maxine be Maxine, I freed us both.
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