From the Daniel series.
Lauren: Golden girl. An ex Olympic sprinter and PT instructor, glamorous, beautiful and supremely fit. She is a heavily muscled challenge to outmoded ideas of what it is to be female. Even more intelligent than her partner and lover Daniel: Lauren is organized, a little obsessive especially about hygiene, and is very forceful. Lauren is sexually ambiguous, with a distrust of macho males. She has distain for submissive or weak females.
Born Bangor, County Down, N. I. She tried to join the navy but was recruited in to Det16. There she met worked with, and became the lover, of Daniel. She shares his views on individual freedom but is less certain and centered. She is a little lost about her sexual identity and the strain of their double life, at first this makes her reluctant to commit to him fully. She retains her independence for a long time. She tried to destroy their relationship until Bonny provided the glue that constructed their loving pyramid.
Daniel: Sandy hair, tall wiry strong and gentle but deadly when in combat. Born in Belfast he is a non-conformist individualist who has struggled all his life to defeat bullying, tribal and institutional violence. He tried to join the navy to fly but was selected for top secret intelligence gathering unit: Det16. They went undercover in the dangerous violent world of mid seventies Belfast. Fiercely protective of his loved ones, he is a complex character; hyper intelligent, sensitive, tender and hedonistic. He is wryly humorous, highly charged sexually and open to all erotic possibilities. A down and dirty real life James Bond who fights not for Queen and country but freedom, justice and a non-tribal life free from terror.
Bonny: Jet black hair, startlingly multi faceted eyes. Just five feet tall with an athletic but highly voluptuous figure. Bonny is without restraint or fear and is sharp, charmingly bawdy, highly sexual – she delights in the sensual possibilities that came to her late in life. Bonny by name and nature she has earth mother qualities that give her startling insight into others and an uncanny knack for seeing what they try to hide. She simplifies emotional complexities and her natural wisdom earns her the nick name: wee wise owl. She has risen from humble beginnings in Belfast but achieves great things in academia once freed from the tribal restraints that held her. She explodes into the dangerous double life of Daniel and Lauren. Her abundant femininity binds the three into an indestructible pyramid.
I feel it is worth exploring the motivation for the creation of two female protagonists of the Daniel series. It would be superficially easy to dismiss them as male sexual fantasy figures. They have exaggerated female characteristics, Bonny’s abundance – Lauren’s blond Amazon goddess. They are however, drawn that way because they enable me to explore the opposite poles of what it is to be female. Sexual identity and roles are a major theme explored in the works. It is, in fact, more important in the stories than the thriller genre packaging.
The series format allows me the luxury of exploring the three main characters development though time. This allows a greater depth than would be the case in a single novel. Those who have read the seven completed so far have all commented on how that depth and familiarity draws the reader in and allows great empathy with the three as they face the stress their lives contain.
I like to challenge expectations with genre shattering stories that don’t conform to a formula. The characters, too, are deliberately challenging in both their persona and physicality. Lauren’s muscularity is used to challenge notions of what it means to be female. Expected roles are switched and change through time. The reasons why they evolved this way is explored.
Bonny’s abundance, bawdy sexuality and girlish charm hide a steely core that is much stronger and tougher that the apparently Amazonian warrior persona of Lauren.
Daniel, too, challenges ideas of what masculinity means. He is full of contradiction and inner struggle but with a core of morality and certainty that enables him to be an effective warrior and survive the challenges he takes on. The two women in is life reflect this contradiction and hold a questioning mirror up to his male role.
I guess what I’m saying here is, these are not cartoons or caricatures but deliberately chosen personas designed to carry complex and often challenging portrayals of the human experience.
They are also – fun, sexy, warm, enthralling, glamorous and exciting fiction heroes meant to entertain and engage the reader.