I’m super excited tonight to introduce you to Helen Cartwright, A TEMPTATION OF ANGEL’s main character and heroine extraordinaire.
Helen has long, light-brown hair and unusual blue-violet eyes that play an important part in the story. Mostly, when I picture Helen, I see her like this;
Or this but with longer hair (that’s actress Elizabeth Olsen, by the way);
Carefully sheltered by her parents until their death, Helen is an innocent on the night they’re murdered. When she meets up with brothers, Griffin and Darius, she’s forced to confront the reality of what she is — and what they all are. As she works with the brothers to unravel the mystery of who’s trying to kill them and why, she learns that she knows more than she thinks she knows and has been unwittingly trained all her life to assume the role that is hers.
All that said, Helen isn’t a warrior in the traditional sense. Her strength isn’t physical, and she admits that she’s not a creature of physicality but one of strategy and mental acuity. This was important to me in terms of character development, because while I’m the biggest advocate of strong female characters, I believe there are many kinds of strength, and it’s important to show women being strong in all kinds of ways. As a matter of self-defense, Helen has to learn to wield the weapons of the Keepers, but it doesn’t come naturally to her and it’s not something she ever truly excels at. Her contributions are more academic!
But what I love most about Helen is her humanity. She’s not perfect, and she really struggles with her inability to grieve her parents and the possibility of forgiving someone something that, really, would be unforgivable in any of our worlds.
Forgiveness is a big theme in the book, and I think Helen illustrates that struggle with real authenticity. It’s a big thing for me personally, because I’m always struggling with the issue of self-love and self-forgiveness. Forgiving others is easy for me! But seeing myself in all my flawed humanity and still being able to love myself, forgive myself, well… that’s a lot tougher. I really wanted to explore that with Helen, and I was surprised how quickly she took on a life of her own and how thoroughly she asserted her will.
I hope you enjoy getting to know Helen in A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS! Here’s a little sneak peek for Teaser Thursday (it’s not much, but I’m trying to keep from giving you guys anything overly spoilery!);
Helen held the thick parchment between her fingers. For
the moment, her father was there, sitting next to her, telling
her in a firm voice that everything would be all right.
But soon his voice faded. Helen’s eyelids grew heavy, and
she put the cameo and the letter back in the box with the
currency. She kept out only the photograph, holding it to her
chest as she allowed her head to sink into the pillows. She
willed herself to weep, for isn’t that what any normal person
would do? Wouldn’t a normal girl weep for the loss of her
parents? Her home? Everything she had ever known?
In the end, it didn’t matter. It was now obvious that she was
far from normal. The absent tears seemed only to prove the
point. She clutched the photograph as she fell into sleep.