One of the main threads in my current novel is the friendship between Joseph Ventre (protagonist) and the young Bella Moretta. As much as I enjoy the research and the historical elements when writing this book, developing Joseph and Bella’s friendship has been and will continue to be my most favourite part!
I remember, as a child, reading books such as The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, and the friendships within those stories made me want to jump right into the pages and be with Mary, Dicken, and Colin as they discovered the garden, or ramble through the fields of Avonlea with Anne Shirley and Diane. Similar to these examples of famous literary friendships, Joseph and Bella are two very different personalities; Joseph being timid and sensible, whereas Bella has a feisty, mischievous streak to her character. As the author, this is the fun part for me, balancing the two and ensuring that the reader will feel their relationship develop in, hopefully, a beautiful way, particularly as they navigate the war-torn streets of Liverpool together.
The ultimate goal for me is to keep their internal threads connected so the reader wills them both on, to succeed, to win. I want people to root for these two young characters and although it’s fictional, maybe real-life friendships could be strengthened along the way too.
After winning the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction Award last year, The Power has been on my ‘to read’ list for a while now. Fellow readers were split in their opinion of the novel so I wanted to see for myself what it was all about.
It seemed quite apt that I started reading this around the time when the ‘Me Too’ movement ramped up a gear and dominated headlines. Most reviews call it speculative fiction, which seems correct considering the supernatural elements, but I was more interested in the world within the story where females have the absolute power over men and rule all aspects of society. Trying to imagine this was real life and ‘the way of things’ is a tricky thing to do given the history of all societies and cultures across the globe. It just doesn’t seem fathomable.
The more I read the more I focussed on the act of abusing power and not being able to come back from that point. All the main characters abuse their power at some stage of the novel; sometimes their intentions appear to be for the greater good, but mostly because their circumstances dictate them and for personal gain.
Thinking of all these accounts from female celebrities that have come out as part of the Me Too/Times Up campaigns whereby males have supposedly abused their power, how would things change if females in our world had the physical power to stop negative behaviours, as is such in the novel’s storyline.
The Power definitively provides food for thought through the dystopian style. Deep down I know I’d be slightly worried if I had the power that the character’s possess. God knows where I’d start with it all…
I think I’ll stick with developing my internal power and do my own little bit to change the world. Who needs an ‘electrical skein’ anyway when the females in my world simply have brilliantly powerful minds!