Guest Post: Zombified author Maggie LaCroix

Maggie LaCroix, author of soon-to-be released Zombified, joins me today to share her thoughts on what makes a good character in fiction.


So, let’s explore what makes good characters?

When you write a story, you play God in a way. You create people. And it’s hard because real people are complex and sometimes inconsistent but they feel real. Fictional characters feel less real if they are inconsistent. But if they are too predictable, they are boring. What is a writing God to do?

I love my female lead in Zombified, Josie Cortez, a small-town journalist with a drinking problem and a penchant for promiscuity. In fact, I modeled some (SOME!) of her personality on myself. But some early readers just hated her. I know she is difficult and lost -weren’t we all at some point?- but I love those characters. Don’t we love these anti-heroes when they are men? We should love the female versions too! Some authors have pulled it off. Stieg Larsson with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. But 1) we are not all Stieg Larsson, and 2) some paranormal romance readers expect their heroines to be perfect virgins before having amazing sex with a supernatural – but sexy-  creature (Sookie Stackhouse was a virgin at 25; Mac in Karen Marie Moning’s awesome Fever series had one (1) boyfriend; and Cat in Halfway to the Grave had one bad sexual experience). In Zombified, Josie has tried mortal men and found them wanting. Haven’t we all? (Sorry, guys.)

The other fine line to straddle is with the male lead. He can’t be boring. But he can’t be a jerk either. He has to be alpha (Oh, my God, yes!) but have a weakness for the heroine. And, if it’s a love triangle, he can’t be less interesting than the other guy. Try writing all that into one man! Eventually what happens is that you set up the characters and let them do what they want. It’s kind of like magic. As a writer you shouldn’t micromanage your characters, just join them for the ride.



Monsters generally know their place: vampires get to be sexy while zombies just decompose. But Maggie La Croix’s Zombified conjures up an entirely different kind of undead raised by good old-fashioned Voodoo. These gorgeous walking corpses don’t eat brain, they don’t stagger, and their bodies are spared the indignities of putrefaction.
Take Henri Jolicoeur. More than one hundred years after his death he is still a bewitching Adonis. But zombification does have its downsides. Henri has a master, a powerful Voodoo priest whose spells keep Henri, his teenage zombie sister, and five other poor souls in perpetual servitude.
That is, until a hurricane devastates their New Orleans home and the zombies are evacuated to the Texas border town of El Paso. The curse is broken. They are free and intend to stay that way. But how can they pass for human when they don’t eat or sleep and they’re reeling from black magic withdrawal? If that isn’t enough, they have a traitor in their midst, their master is hot on their trail, and a mysterious stranger in black is watching.
Enter Josie Cortez, a cowboy boots-wearing reporter at the local newspaper who desperately needs a good story to save her moribund career and get her editor off her back. One look at Henri and his weird little family and she knows she’s struck journalism gold. But strange things keep happening around Henri, things that remind Josie of her own tragic family history with black magic, a history that cost her her beloved mother and led Josie straight to the bottom of a bottle. Josie would rather forget all about that. Forgetting Henri, however, is easier said than done, even if falling for a man without a heartbeat could get her more than a broken heart. It could get her zombified.
Release Date: August 28 , 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen she first embarked in fiction writing, Maggie thought, Piece of cake. After all, she’d been a newspaper reporter for ten years; writing was her daily bread. But Zombified, her first novel about a band of sexy zombies, was anything but easy. The story wasn’t conveniently laid out for her at a press conference; it had to be coaxed out of her own imagination. Plot points resisted solving, descriptions meandered, and characters misbehaved. But just when things seemed bleakest, it happened. Maggie fell in love with it all: the zombies, the love story, and even the rituals of writing.

Maggie likes her leading women flawed and her science fiction sexy. She went to school for journalism and political science. She lives in the United States.


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