A question from a reader has sparked some thoughts in my head. She asked (to paraphrase) if I believed in the things my characters said. Or, to be blunter, am I speaking my personal views through my characters?
On the face of it, the quick answer is no. For example, the main character of Shadow’s Son is a professional killer who sees little difference between assassination and killing an enemy soldier in war. I disagree; I think there is a world of difference.
But, as I think deeper, I have to acknowledge that my stories – and the characters who inhabit them – do represent a certain worldview particular to me. Just as our actions speak louder than our words, I have to “own” my work. That doesn’t mean I condone violence or murder, or treachery or zealotry, as much as it conveys that I see such things as essential components of our world. We can look away or ignore them (sometimes at our own peril), but that doesn’t make them go away.
But there are more positive aspects to such ownership, as well. Many of my stories include observations about valor, duty, and honor – concepts I very much favor. And there is love, which I enjoy in abundance in my personal life, and I’m sure bleeds over into my writing.
So, if my characters are not mouthpieces for my personal philosophies, they are enablers at the very least, fictional ping-pong paddles volleying my notions back and forth, often without a clear-cut winner. And I think I’m okay with that.