Today we welcome Amy Caudill, who recently published her first novel Virtual. If you follow her blog then you know she is a lover of sci-fi and fantasy. When I read her book blurb, I knew I wanted to have her here to tell us more about the female character in her book. She has graciously written a guest post today about how she created gamer mom Amanda Connor, the main character in Virtual.
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Thank you Christy for having me here to talk a little bit about my new book Virtual, and its main character, an unlikely action heroine named Amanda Connor.
Amanda is a typical working mom who spends all her time taking care of her family and her job. At first glance she doesn’t really fit the mold of anyone’s hero: she is meek, a bit timid, and afraid of conflict, whether in dealing with her coworkers or the homeroom mothers’ clique at her children’s school. Before we meet her in this identity, though, we are introduced to her alter-ego.
Once the kids are tucked into bed, Amanda logs into a virtual reality game where she transforms into Leslie Storm, a spandex-wearing adventurer who scales mountains and attacks monsters with a sword. “Leslie” joins Amanda’s computer-programmer husband Pete in exploring an entire world created by Virtual Technologies, which includes mountains, jungles, and cityscapes. Players can either compete against each other or join forces to fight against an army of Non-Player Characters, who assume roles ranging from office drones to supernatural monsters to entertain the human players.
Without giving away too much, I can say that the dynamic of the Amanda/Leslie role is very important to the central plot. A devious scheme hatched by the president of Virtual Tech forces Amanda to act in ways outside her comfort zone.
She has to assume the role of protector, and call on character traits that she would normally associate only with her game avatar to save the day. As Amanda transitions into the heroine she plays in a game, she begins to understand that she had the ability to assert herself all along, and begins to allow this part of her personality to show in other areas of her life.
There is truly a lot of myself written into this character. While the plot is purely a work of fiction, some of Amanda’s thoughts, feelings, and desires came straight out of my head. I tend to be shy, and am not always the best at being assertive when it’s needed. I also spent seventeen years working in a medical office environment, similar to Amanda’s experience, before leaving that career to pursue my dreams of writing for a living.
About Amy Caudill
Virtual was just released and is available as an Amazon e-book for Kindle.