There are a few things about Contagious that I'd like to share. I've considered if I should or shouldn't write this post for quite a while now and have (finally) decided to just go ahead and write it.
First off, Orissa. She is supposed to be a bitch. She is sorta selfish, likes getting her own way, and having fun. At the beginning of the book she doesn't have any responsibilities. She does what she wants because she can. Why would I write a character this way? Because I wanted a seriously flawed young woman who can grow and mature as the books go on.
Most of us in this world aren't perfect. God knows I'm not. Orissa isn't either and while I did exaggerate some qualities (hopefully not too many of you have gotten arrested) I feel she is a relate-able character because of her flaws. She has tons of inner demons that she tries to block out and goes about the wrong way of doing it which leads her to some pretty bad choices. Again, I think we all can relate. Who hasn't done something out of hurt or anger and later regretted it?
Orissa's checkered past taught her how to be strong and tough, which is essential when facing zombies. She thinks she's hot shit and, at times, she is. But she also let it go to her head and it cost her. Once again, haven't we all? She's a shoot first, aim later kind of person and definitely feels the burn of the consequences from it. She never wanted to be a leader or head of the group. She never asked for people to follow her. When they do, she is challenged internally yet again on how to handle it. She has no experience being in charge of anyone, let alone during the ZA.
My goal with Orissa was to keep her pretty rough around the edges and bitchy throughout the first book. The more shit she deals with, the more she has her heart broken the more she will change. People don't change over night. I hope everyone knows that. Orissa slowly evolves into someone worthy of leading a group. She learns that she can trust and rely on people and that she can be part of a team.
I think it goes without saying that people in general try to cover up their flaws. Orissa is one of those people. She might appear very confident but is she really? You learn more about her as the Trilogy goes on. I feel that she is a very complex character with many layers that, really, I hoped people would be able to connect with. I'm not saying I expected this book to change lives, but I hoped that some might take away this: If bitchy Orissa can find the strength to change, maybe they can too. The odds are stacked against Orissa...I won't say any more b/c I don't want to give anything away.
Second, the character descriptions were purposely left rather vague because of my own personal opinions of other books. I like when a character is minimally described so that I can fill in the blanks and imagine then exactly how I want them too. (Like how I like to envision Jenson Ackles playing every hot male lead lol) This book isn't about what the characters look like or what they wear. It's about their emotional struggles and their relationships while looking for hope and a reason to keep living in a rather hopeless world.
Third, the virus. No one knows (thus far) how it started. Maybe the origins are confusing...maybe they are supposed to be. Maybe nothing makes sense right now for a reason. Foreshadowing is an evil thing ;) If you find inconsistencies...keep them in mind. And note that Orissa also points out a few things that don't make sense to her. Obviously the virus had to start somewhere. Maybe who/whatever started/leaked/released it isn't doing a good job covering it up...
Fourth, let's talk editing. I suck at editing my own work. There. I said it. I have recently acquired an editor for Contagious. He is going through it very carefully...slowly...but carefully. I will reread it and honestly consider any suggestions readers have given me and release a second edition.
I would also like to say that the most 'writing training' I have is an English 101 class I was forced to take in order to graduate and get my psych degree that I took back in 2005. I write because I love it, it's a passion and the stories are in my head begging to be let out. So grammar, tenses, spelling...yea. I'm gonna make mistakes.
Anyway, this is a novel of a post in its own. I want to truly thank everyone who have read my books. It means the world to me and I'm not just spouting off fluffly unicorn farts. I really mean it. Really. I will be the first to admit that I don't always have confidence in what I do and every purchase, review or comment makes me feel so amazed and humbled. It is my dream to be able to write full time. I know I need patience for that...but again. THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me.
And now that's I've written yet another paragraph lol I'm off to work out and write the second to last chapter of Deathly Contagious.