Earlier this year I had the opportunity to collaborate with an amazing artist by the name of Eve F. She’s the one responsible for the nightmare-inducing cover to my short story Dollhouse (for which she’s still not sorry). I mentioned during an interview with her for my website that we were collaborating on additional projects as well. While it’s still a bit early to talk about all that, I wanted to give you a small taste of what we’ve been working on.
This is an incredible piece of character art Eve drew of Lissette from the Noble trilogy. If you’re familiar with the books, then you already know that Lissette becomes a major player in the story after a brief introduction in Bloodlines. She’s special to me, as all my characters are, but in a way that’s much harder to describe.
As a male writer, I used to fear whether or not I’d be able to create believable female characters. Would she sound like a woman written by a man? Would she come across as a collection of male-perceived stereotypes or tropes? Would she feel forced and unnecessary? And ultimately, could she be more than just a ‘strong female character?’
These questions swirled around in my head for months until I got a piece of advice from a friend of mine: “You don’t have to know how to write a female character. You just have to know how to write people.” He was right. I’d been over-thinking it.
Yes, there are differences to consider between male and female characters, but at the end of the day, we’re all human (or Yaeren, as the case may be), warts and all. Such a simple realization, but one that allowed me to overcome my doubt and opened up a whole new side of my creative process to explore. And through this budding confidence, Lissette was born.
I needed a leader—a bona fide badass—and she fit the bill. Lissette wasn’t looking for her white knight. She’d kick his ass and take his steed if the situation called for it. Although she’s being hunted and is in continuous fear for her life, she’s more than capable of taking care of herself.
However, beneath her battle-worn exterior is great sadness. This isn’t the life she chose, it was the one forced upon her through circumstances beyond her control. On the battlefield, she’s tough as steel, but away from the fight, she’s tormented by thoughts of a life that could never be, and the man who stole it from her.
Lissette is one of my greatest accomplishments as a writer, and I hope readers will love her as much as I do. I’d like to extend my sincerest thanks to Eve F. for capturing her in such amazing detail. I took one look at this art and said, “That’s her!” I even got a little misty-eyed because it was like seeing one of my kids born. Thanks to Eve, Lissette is real, and I couldn’t be any more of a proud papa than I am at this moment.