When a Cause Creeps Into the Story
In keeping with the purpose of Domestic Violence Awareness month, I thought I'd share a bit about how this important cause shows up in my writing. Obviously, I wrote a few short stories (five, I believe) specifically about abuse, but this significant issue trickled into other parts of my work without conscious planning.
If you're familiar with my writing, you know I care so much about the plight of the giraffe that I used them as a major part of the magical system in The Watchers of Moniah. The funny thing about that is I didn't plan to do it. It happened. The same goes for how domestic violence appears in this trilogy. It's subtle, so subtle that my editor had to remind me of it, but it is there.
I'm talking about the character Shana. When she first appears in book one, she's a tavern maid looking for any possible connection to get her out of there. We soon discover she's landed in this position because her former employer, a lady of nobility, realized her husband found Shana much too interesting. She ousted her, and, thanks to the small world of nobility in Glenhaven, she can't find another position. Where does she end up? A place where people make assumptions about her morals.
All of this is a form of abuse. We never see this abuse, but we know she's willing to take a position as a spy in order to leave the tavern. From there, things get hotter because now she's working for one of the evilest men in the story, Sarx.
Much later in the trilogy, Shana does flashback to a violent incident with her father.
Shana is unsure of herself. She is strong and determined to stay alive, but when it comes to believing in herself, it takes others to do that for her first.
This is often how victims of domestic violence behave. They want a better life. They hope for a better life. They often fall right back into the trap of abuse over and over again.
I won't tell you all of Shana's story, but I love this character. So much that I had to remind myself that she was not the protagonist in the third book, The Watchers at War. Two women, besides Adana, soared to the forefront in that book. That's why all three of them appear on the cover. The third woman is Leera. In Leera's case, she suffers from emotional abuse, but she didn't grow up with that abuse. This makes it easier (she might disagree) for her to flee the abusive situation and become the strong woman she is by the end of the series.
In other words, several of my characters suffer from and get out of an abusive situation. Each one's story is different, and each one overcomes the horrors of that life. That's how an important cause to me showed up in my works without my planning it.