Reader reaction to the protagonist of a story will not only influence whether they like a book or not, it can also make or break the fortunes of that book; maybe not in terms of the critical response, but certainly in the commercial sense. This is an observation I was very conscious of while writing my first novel, The Exercise Of Vital Powers. I realised early on that my protagonist, Kayden Jayta, was a character who many readers would struggle to get behind. In fact, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to me if most of the people who end up disliking the book do so primarily on the basis of their dislike for Kayden.
I won’t turn this post into a justification for the depiction of Kayden in my book; if her presence at the heart of the story ruins any reader’s enjoyment of The Exercise Of Vital Powers, so be it. That said, there are other, more sympathetic characters for people to latch on to, if they so choose. For those of you who would like some insight into the creation and development of my protagonist, please refer back to last year’s blog post, Insights Into The Creation Of My Protagonist.
If you’ve not yet read The Exercise Of Vital Powers, and you’re now wondering what sort of character you’ll be introduced to if and when you do, be sure to visit my official website, www.iangregoire.co.uk this weekend as I’ll be adding a couple of character profiles to the site, including one for Kayden. Until then, I will give you a quote from a Goodreads reviewer who recently provided a funny, albeit rather accurate, description of the book’s “anti”-heroine.
Picture a reckless, ambitious, brilliant and determined young woman who’s well aware of her superior intellect. Imagine that she treats everyone as a pitiful retard. She won’t hesitate to beat you and abuse you to reach her goals. Do you picture her? Good, but the picture in your head is a nicer version of Kayden.
What I like most about the above quote is that it mirrors words spoken by my novel’s other principal character, Fay Annis, who at one point in the book makes the following observation about Kayden:
“She shows no humility. She is so certain of her own superiority and, by implication, the inferiority of everyone else around her. She is manipulative, willing to use and exploit other people for her own ends, with no regard for the consequences. She is confrontational, believing power should be employed to cow people—to impose her will upon them.”
So, does Kayden sound like the kind of character whose trials and tribulations you’d like to follow over the course of several hundred pages? If yes, don’t delay in buying your copy from either Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks or Kobo, because next week the ebook is getting a price hike, meaning you’ll be paying double what you would this week. If, however, you are a paperback lover the price will remain unchanged.
Next time on lonelyboy1977: So many books, so little time.
Thanks for reading,