This afternoon I am joined by Jessikah Hope Stenson who is introducing us to the female lead in her novel, Trace This Scar.
Daphne Deakins works at an independent book shop in Exeter. She married her teen-love Richard Deakins and can be found in the psychological thriller Trace This Scar.
When did you create Daphne?
I first came up with Daphne when I was thinking about injustices. I’d seen a lot about crime cases in which people were blamed for horrible things they didn’t do which sparked an idea for a character. Trace This Scar began when the first line came to me – ‘I knew he was innocent from the start.’ This captured Daphne’s voice completely.
Did you write the book to accommodate Daphne or Daphne to accommodate the book?
It’s very difficult to separate the two but this book was completely character led – they made the decisions as to what would happen. The first chapter is almost a trip around Daphne’s brain with very little interaction with other characters. After that, she unravels a huge plot – but it definitely all starts with her. Saying that, the story didn’t have to accommodate Daphne – probably because I didn’t map out all of the details until at least a third of the way through. That helped me figure out ‘what would Daphne do?’
What do you like most about her?
Most people say Daphne is a very unlikable character and I agree with that but she does have some likable traits. She’s incredibly protective over who she cares about and to be loved by her is very intense. This intensity has its downsides but if you’re ever in need or danger, she’s there.
What do you like least about her?
Daphne’s entirely selfish. The worst part of it is she doesn’t seem selfish at all and can easily manipulate the people around her. One of my readers told me they empathised with Daphne for a large portion of the book and I thought, that’s just her manipulating you…
Did your early readers/editorial team like her to start with or did you have to change her in any way?
They didn’t like Daphne as a character but they felt that she worked for the story. It’s important for her to be so flawed, which I suppose is unusual. I had to work on making her personality reveal itself at a slower pace because in the first draft her full character came out in the first chapter which was bound to put every reader off and completely spoiled part of the story.
What are your plans for her?
Daphne’s story has been told now and there won’t be a continuation.
Would you be friends in real life?
No way, Daphne’s the kind of person I’d have avoided eye contact with on the street. She just comes across as intimidating even if she doesn’t feel like she is.
If Daphne was a book blogger, what genre would they review?
I can’t see Daphne being fussed with anything like chick-lit, she’s much too exposed to the grittiness of poverty and drugs to take anything light and fluffy well. Probably contemporary fiction or thrillers as they’d offer the most escape from her freezing flat.
Now I can vouch for the fact that Daphne is a bit of a wrong ‘un but don’t just take my word for it! Go grab the book, if for some reason you haven’t already read it, over at Amazon UK thank you so much for joining me today!
Having read and loved Trace This Scar it’s been great getting to know a little bit more about the creation of Daphne.
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