Okay, so I have a confession that probably won’t shock anyone who knows me: I’m a rule-follower. And a people-pleaser, to boot. I color within the lines, obey traffic laws (mostly), and pay my bills on time.
Don't hate me. Life just runs much smoother when I'm organized, and I'm all about avoiding conflict whenever and wherever I can.
But in my writing, I tend to be the opposite, at least when it comes to plotting and character-building. Of course, writers have to have conflict in their stories, and there's a certain cadence and pattern to romantic suspense, but when I began creating my new series (Redemption Club), and compared it to my older one (The Mindhunters), I realized how much I loathe having to create characters who are bound by rules.
Both series lack what I'd term the "classic" romantic suspense heroes and heroines—cops and detectives, FBI agents, SEALs, and so forth. From my very first book, I'd already realized I didn’t like the constraints of writing characters who have to obey the law to the letter because of their career choice. Sometimes, my characters have a background in military or law enforcement, but they've moved on, were hurt by their career in some way, or became disgruntled or even jaded.
Time for another confession: I thought this choice was because I was lazy. I don't enjoy spending a lot of time researching rulebooks and procedural manuals.
I created a private agency in my Mindhunters series, and the Redemption Club series focuses more on the criminal side, where bending the law is acceptable if it gets you what you want. My heroes and heroines try to be upstanding people, but they may have a blight or two on their records that they need to overcome.
However... I recently realized that it’s not laziness that kept me from going with the traditional types of heroes and heroines. (Okay, it might be a little laziness.) My choices are due, in part, to the restrictions in my normal life. Anne Becker doesn't get to break the rules. As a valedictorian, student role model, oldest sibling, doting wife, perfect mother (yeah, right!) to three children, and law-abiding citizen, I have to follow so many guidelines that it’s no wonder I don’t run off screaming into the woods and become a hermit.
In my books, however… There, "Anne Marie Becker, Author" gets to break any rule she wants—via her characters. As long as she makes her characters likeable and redeemable.
A little rebelliousness, a dash of redemption. That’s what my latest batch of characters are made of.
How about you? Do you like to read/write about characters who have to walk the line, work within boundaries, or do you like the rogues who have sins to make up for?