Below, I interviewed my main character, Red Riding Hood, to give you a taste of her personality! Some of the questions will introduce other characters, and some will talk about the world. I have more posts coming, though, that concentrate on those things in (slightly) greater depth, so don't expect too much info about them today.
Time to meet Red! I've put her answers in red print to clearly distinguish her words from mine.
How would you describe your appearance?
(The first thing that popped into your head was a red hood, right? Well, I didn't twist that part of Red Riding Hood, so yes, she has a red hood! And I should probably let her get talking...)
Well, I have a red hood, to start. It was given to me by my grandmother, who is probably my favorite person in the whole world, and I wear it all the time. My hair is straight, brown, and cut a little above the shoulder. Can we move on to the interesting questions now?
Tell us a little about your family.
Um, that's not a question. But I'll let it pass. This time.
I'll start with Father, get that over with. He was the cheerful kind of dad - never worried, always laughed. He loved to draw and was really good at it. He especially liked how he could capture memories on paper and was always telling me that it's the best way to preserve them. I've inherited his talent for drawing, but I don't practice it as much as he did. Aaaaaand I bet you're wondering how he died. There was a severe storm while he was out working in the forest one afternoon. He was a lumberjack, by the way. Never came home.
My mother is very unlike my father. Whenever she smiles, it's always small. Every time I visit Gram, she worries. It's subtle worry, though - something I can sense in the tenseness of her shoulders and the tired look in her eyes. She's always been a naturally solemn person, if you know what I mean.
And Gram. Oh, Gram! She's so fascinating. She lives in a cottage in the woods (don't ask - she prefers isolation to community) and lets me visit every weekend or so. Despite being an older person, she's energetic and full of life and humor. Mother sends me to her with food in a basket, even though Gram is a good cook and doesn't need it. And she tells me such interesting and often hilarious stories about her previous life, stories about when she was a girl, when Father was little, as Father grew up. She's definitely my favorite person, and our times together are the best.
Let's get deep. What's your greatest fear?
Losing my loved ones. It was after Father died that this fear became extreme, and I haven't been able to get rid of it.
(Psssst! Red's grandmother gets kidnapped later, which is a HUGE part of the plot. Her answers apply to everyday life before the book begins. I could also spoil soooo many things from the end in which her greatest fear comes out, but I won't, of course. It feels great to know everything... when you don't. *chuckles evilly*)
What would you call your weakness?
Never stopping to think things through. When I'm in the moment, I don't like to think. I just like to do. Which means that I often act irrationally in tense or even dangerous situations, which means getting into more trouble than if I had just stopped and thought about it. Just ask my village friends.
What would you call your strength?
Determination. I know - it's nothing uncommon. But no matter how great the risk, if I set my mind to it, I will do it. And nothing and no one can stop me. Usually that means going to Gram's house in a downpour, or finishing a drawing no matter how awful it is. I can be very stubborn when I want to be. Again, just ask my friends.
What annoys you? What makes you laugh?
It really annoys me when I do something stupid. You know, like when I'm in my "I refuse to think it through before I make a decision" mood. After the phase is over and I have time to think back on it, it annoys me so much it makes me angry. At myself!
Father used to be my greatest source of laughter, but I guess he doesn't count anymore. I worry about my mother's worry, though I cover it up by laughing when she voices her small concerns. But what really makes me laugh these days is the village girls and their infatuation with Peter Pan. Sure, I kind of like him too, but I'd never obsess over him like they do. It's hilarious. And besides, you can't trust the stories. In reality, he's probably not that charming.
(NOTE: My characters always end up slipping out of my control, so who knows what could happen to her in editing? If she does change, though, it won't be by much.)
It only makes sense to me that now that you know a little about Red, you should see a glimpse of her in action. So I've included a brief excerpt!
I walked up to the front door and rapped on it lightly with my knuckles. “Gram? It's me, Red.”
Silence. Because of her cold, she was probably taking a nap. I would have to knock harder to wake her.
“Gram!” I called. My casual tap turned into a solid knock, then a harsh pound. Still nothing. I rolled my eyes, thinking she would have to be pretty sick if she'd been able to sleep through all the racket I was making.
I tested the doorknob, felt it turn easily, and entered the house. Immediately, I crossed over to where Gram's bedroom was. The door was wide open, and the room… empty?For one whole minute, I surveyed the small chamber in bewilderment. The bed was unmade, the patchwork blankets all twisted together in a mass of fabric, and the pillow was lumpy. It was so unlike Gram to leave her bed in such a state.
She may or not end up going after her grandmother to rescue her.
Fine, so obviously she does. And that's the story, basically. Red is trying to rescue her grandmother, and she makes some new friends (and some enemies, and some frenemies) along the way. By the middle, though, she's become part of something even bigger. Bigger than the search for Gram. Bigger than anything she'd ever imagined.