It is my pleasure to bring this guest post to you today with the help of Avon books.
Helen Fields is a crime fiction author of the successful ‘Perfect’ series (Perfect Prey, Perfect Remains and Perfect Death) and this post is specifically about two of her characters in her series.
That “Will They or Won’t They?” QuestionDI Luc Callanach, the good-looking, somewhat haunted Frenchman has certainly captured a few readers’ imaginations. The big question, though, is whether anything will ever happen between him and DCI Ava Turner, his straight-talking boss. Superficially, they seem ideally suited. They’re both in their mid thirties, single, with a mutual belief in justice and a drive to do good. So what’s the problem? Well, the path of true love never did run smooth.
It’s fair to say I ruffled some feathers when Ava got engaged in Perfect Prey. There was a good reason for it, of course. Ava was trying to be the person she thought her mother had always wanted her to be, and in the course of trying to change herself she failed to see what a massive mistake she was making. Was it realistic? I think (I hope) that it was. Some of my most levelled-headed professional friends regularly make the worst mistakes in their private lives. We are at our most vulnerable when we’re trying to live up to someone else’s image of us.
As for Luc, he still hasn’t worked through the trauma of being falsely accused of rape. With a complicated maternal relationship since the allegation, the last couple of years has been far from easy. What he really needs is to have his faith in women restored. Enter our heroine, Ava.
Writing a close male-female relationship provides tons of options and poses a number of problems. Real life is messy. I always feel that my characters’ lives should be messy too. And it wouldn’t be any fun if I let things develop between Luc and Ava too quickly. The issue is that with each book comes a sense of waiting for something to happen, and (spoiler alert) the truth is that even I don’t know where it’s all going yet. I love that Ava is totally unimpressed by Luc’s looks. I also appreciate that Luc feels protective over her but has too much respect for Ava to play the alpha male game. All these things have developed independently of conscious plotting, through their dialogue and interactions, and – honestly – I’m as keen as anyone to find out where they end up.
Occasionally it feels like a difficult fit, putting romance (or the hint of it) into fairly hard-hitting crime novels, then I think how depressing the world I’ve created would be without the love and the humour. The truth is that as a reader I enjoy a good dark story, but what keeps me reading is my investment in the characters and seeing how things work out for them. So – no spoilers – but book 5 will see a pretty monumental moment for Luc and Ava. I’m saying no more than that. Things are definitely about to change for them. I’ll be sharpening up my pencil and getting down to write that just as soon as Perfect Death is released. Until then, Luc and Ava are alive and well in my head, and looking forward to their next case.
I’d like to thank Avon – especially Sabah Khan, and Helen Fields for giving me the opportunity to bring this post to you.