And we’re back! Last week, ICYMI, I talked about my favorite men characters that I’ve written, and since I just have too many amazing characters, I figured I’d split them up so we could take a look at twenty of my favorite characters. Do I love my own writing a lot? HECK YES, that’s the whole point. Anyway, I’m really excited for you to someday fall in love with these characters, too, and while this post is both terrifying and wonderful, I’m here, and I’m ready to dish on some badasses.
As before, this is not in order, although the first one is my favorite, and given how they came into my brain, that’s probably pretty indicative of an order.
The light of my life, the woman I am never, ever going to want to leave, someone who is probably the closest to my heart–oh, Henley. For a long time, I knew that I was eventually going to write about three best witch friends, and though I wasn’t sure who they would end up being, I knew who they were based on, and Henley is definitely me, which might be very revealing, so that stresses me out a tiny bit. She’s easily my favorite woman character that I’ve ever created, though, and I am so damn excited for the day that you guys get to meet her. Hopefully soon!
Henley Abelló is perhaps the most badass character I’ve ever created. She mostly dresses in black, rides a motorcycle, teaches yoga and runs a coffee shop, has a truly beautiful and chaotically wonderful girlfriend, and is head witch of all of Salem. After running from her home at sixteen–after her sister tried to kill her, not just as a teen angst runaway–she rode the bus north until she stumbled across Salem, which just felt right. There, she found two best friends, a whole city of witches, and a family she’d never expected to have again. And that’s not even to start on her accidentally summoned demonic best friend.
The newest addition to my list of characters, Florence came into existence almost as fully formed as Freddie. They were always meant to be twins, and though they lean on each other, they’re about as similar as night & day. Truly, where Freddie is quiet, almost always level-headed, and kind to a fault, Florence is just an utter psycho, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s definitely been one of my favorite characters to write in recent memory, and I’m so sad to have left her behind at the end of their duology, but her ending was so damn good and satisfying that I’m not that sad. She deserved all of the happiness she eventually found.
Florence Wright has an affinity for lighting everything possible on fire, will scream at you at the drop of a hat, and absolutely loathes any kind of affection. She’s always ready to throw down, and she isn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with a man even being a woman in the 1930s. She’s one of the loudest characters I’ve ever written, in all senses of the word. She will fight you, whether or not the fighting is for her or someone else. Born in Britain, she found a home in Portugal with summers in France, and when she’s not throwing elbows, she’s falling hopelessly in love with the stars.
Ileana de Santos
When I was embarking upon the second sister witches, I knew that I wanted to introduce a new coven, but I didn’t want to introduce them through another head witch, and Ileana was born. I don’t even really remember making a conscious decision. When I sat down to start writing the opening chapter, it was just in Ileana’s POV. She was always meant to be my next witch, and I’m so glad that she was. Ileana and I don’t have a ton in common, but she’s someone that I aspire to be, someone that I dream of becoming one day. Hopefully, I’ll see myself reflected in her eventually, but, until now, I’m just going to keep admiring her.
Ileana de Santos is one of many children, and, as the eldest, she’s often forgotten or just shifted to the side and told to behave. She loves her family dearly, but it will always be the one she chose, her fellow witches, that she’ll turn to in dark moments. When Zariah set a trash can on fire in elementary school, Ileana was there to scoop up her hand and lie to their teachers so Zariah wouldn’t get in trouble on her own. When Kiran whispered that her family had turned their backs on her, ashamed that she was a lesbian, Ileana opened her door and whispered back love. When Diego promised that he would never hurt her, Ileana just smiled and said it never crossed her mind that he might. She’s got the biggest heart in the world, and I just want to tuck her into my pocket and keep her safe forever.
Oh, Shri. One of my friends has forever said that Shri’s story is going to be her favorite, no matter what. She’s loved Shri for a long damn time, which is impressive considering I’ve never written more than a short story. She might be the oldest character on this list, too. Several years ago, I used to exchange short stories with a friend, and we’d workshop them for each other. We went every other week so I was writing a short story twice a month for quite some time. It really helped hone my writing, and it gave me a wealth of ideas. Shri was one of those, a strange story about a witch that was locked away in a cage with a witch master that crept her across countries and used her magic for his gain. Something about her stuck out to me, and, years and years later, her character has evolved into so much more, and I can’t wait to someday write it in earnest.
Shri is mostly made up of spoilers, and because I’d like at least some secrets in my wider universe, I’m not going to give away most of those. She’s a witch older than time, and while Andrew’s two thousand year story feels daunting, Shri saw the Great Pyramids of Giza rise, and there’s so much more history packed into her story. Though she grew up quiet and unsure, Shri quickly shifted into a fierce woman overflowing with rage and a desire to see her enemies bleed, and that vengeance has carried her throughout life until she is easily the most powerful being on the planet, living or not.
For a while, Soraya was my most recent character, but now that the researcher & the librarian story has been written, Soraya is finally taking a little more time to percolate and form past a brand new character. Years after I stopped exchanging short stories with a friend, I started writing them on my own, posting them on the blog as Thursday Thousands. It was a challenge to figure out my writing and try to create a schedule, and it did the same thing that had happened all those years ago–suddenly, I had a bunch of new novels in my head. Though I haven’t written Soraya’s yet, and I’m not sure when it’ll happen, I’m so excited even just to let all the possibilities start to unravel in my brain.
Orphaned at a young age, all Soraya Dalí can remember of her father is this fuzzy feeling of warmth that fades with every year spent under the uncaring tutelage of a nun and bullies all around until, finally, a young boy arrives at the orphanage, and Soraya’s whole world opens up. Together, they thread their lives tightly through one another’s until the only thing that might separate them is Soraya taking the fall for a harmless bout of thievery that gets her kicked out of space academy and Ilyas sent on a mission off of Earth. Soraya lifts her chin, middle fingers at the ready, and sneaks onto the ship. She’ll only get caught once.
Man, I wish I was as cool as Sam. Though I say that I want to be Ileana, and that is true, what a dream it would be half the badass that Sam is. Toward the end of Andrew’s two thousand year story (though he lives much, much longer after that), he spends a century or two in Boston, and perhaps some of the brightest decades of his life are with Sam as his detective partner. They kick ass around the city, and though Andrew’s changed a lot since I first met him, Sam has been pretty steady over the years, and for good reason. She’s way too awesome to level up even more.
Sam Baker was put in foster care the moment she was born, and though she’s shifted through families over the years, the only true place that’s felt like home has been the Boston police department. Their youngest graduate ever from the academy, and with one of the fastest-growing careers, Sam makes detective in her mid-20s and is over the moon when her partner is assigned. Though she knows how they talk about mysterious Andrew Levi, she grew up short, redheaded, and spiteful because of both, and she gives him as good as he deserves. In love with her best friend, Penelope, since as long as she can remember, Sam’s also a huge fan of rock climbing, rides a motorcycle, and definitely gets on like a house on fire with Henley.
Somehow, Avery is my first Saintsverse lady! Avery was also 100% a surprise, too. And not even in the way that it normally happens, where I didn’t realize she was Landon’s sister until much later, but in that I didn’t have her chapters planned at all until I was suddenly writing them. I can so remember just sitting back from Avery’s first chapter and being like, “Who the hell are you??” She came out of legit nowhere, fully formed and ready to break my heart, and I’ve been in love with her ever since. So much so that, before I was even looking at the second Saints at sea, the bastards were coming into my brain with Avery front and center.
Avery Ash was born to a wealthy, highly feared family, one in which her mother knew that to be born a girl, even at the same time as a boy, might mean her death, and so, her mother sent her off with a trusted maid, knowing that she would never see her again, but confident that that, at least, would keep her safe. And though it did, Avery grew up alone, scared, and uncertain about the course of her life until, when the most unexpected thing happened, she decided that she wasn’t going to let any of it stand in her way again. She liked being alone, and she disliked the people that had mistreated her all her life, so she bought a ramshackle house, raised her two children on a farm, and never looked back. That is, of course, until a prince showed up on her doorstep looking to save the witch his sister wanted to kill.
Liana is one of two mothers on this list, though she was the first one to break my heart. The Pen boys starts with her death, and it goes hard. I haven’t looked at Pen boys for a couple years now, but my friend inspired me to go back and give it a look, just to see what it was like, only to find that I really leaned into the awfulness right from the start. We never see Liana while she’s alive, but the memories of her through Oliver, one of the MCs and her son, is enough that I like to second guess myself a lot. I’ll never actually change it so that she’s alive because it’s an inciting incident for Oliver, but that doesn’t mean I won’t include as many memories as is possible.
Liana Hollands was always a bright woman overflowing with warmth and joy–until the days that she wasn’t. She loved rain clouds, flowers, sudden dance parties, and baking, but no matter how much love Liana held in her heart, there was always going to be an edge of darkness that crept further and further each year until it was more dark than light, and not even Oliver could keep her here. And though she’s gone now, she lingers in the corners of Oliver’s heart, covering his cold, dark thoughts with all the warmth and light she couldn’t find in her own life.
I love that Carter shows up on this list given that neither of the bookstore boys was on last week’s list, but of course Carter’s the one. In her current form, she’s definitely a little flatter than I’d like, and I’m excited for the day that I get to rewrite bookstore boys and really build her a fantastic character arc. Even still, though, she’s got a lot of complexities going on, and that shows in the varying ways that my friends have responded to her. Some aren’t sure about her, some love her, some straight up don’t like her (only to realize they were wrong later on), and some sigh witheringly at her. She’s so real, and though she’s not inspired by anyone, she feels like someone I would interact with on my daily life, and I think that’s why she’s one of my favorites.
Carter, who is desperately in need of a last name, is the niece of the woman that owns the bookstore, and she quickly befriends Will, the lonely employee that gives off major sad vibes. He doesn’t want any friends, but Carter is one of those determined types that decides you’re friends without actually consulting you. She always in ass-kicking boots, she loves to wear glitter in as many unexpected places as possible, and she is, hands down, one of the sweetest people I’ve ever known. Despite Will’s crochety mood, she will do anything for him because she loves him dearly, and no one hurts the people she loves.
And rounding out this list is another mom, and Hadley is both wildly different and so similar to Liana in so many ways. Though Hadley has been trapped beneath the curse of her husband for over half of her life, she wants nothing more than to be with her children, to show them the undying love that she has for them, that she would stop at nothing to be with them–if only her will was still intact. As it is, Hadley is a shell of her former self, and her character is so interesting to me because that shell is the only version I know. There’s a sort of vague idea of her in my head of how she was pre-Isaiah–and, honestly, even during the beginning of their courtship & eventual marriage–and I’ve started to get to know her a little post-Isaiah, but it’s going to be a long journey of healing before she becomes anything more than the small, afraid woman she’s become. Even still, though, those tiny pieces of knowledge that I have of who she was and who she still will become, make me love her more than anything.
Hadley Ash came to the city looking for adventure and freedom. And though she missed her family desperately, she knew that she needed to strike off on her own. It was only a few years before she met Isaiah, but it was enough to change her in big, life-altering ways, and when Isaiah asked to see her again, Hadley was not the meek, quiet person she’d been when she first came to the city. Instead, she was ready for more adventure, and she leapt. He was, perhaps, the wrong person to leap for, but love blinded her from the truth, and it wasn’t until years later, with the birth of her first child looming, that Hadley finally realized–Isaiah was never going to let her go, but nor would he ever let her exist again. It would take nearly a lifetime, but, eventually, Hadley resolved to find a way out from under his thumb and damn the world that had kept her caged.