Week 3 of the behind-the-scenes for Ravensong. If you missed the previous posts, check the last two entries on the blog.
Spoilers for the story in Wolfsong, so proceed with caution if you haven't read that first book.
There are seven different women in Ravensong.
Each one is important, no matter how small their part may be.
When I first started writing Wolfsong, I was conscious of the choices I was going to make regarding the women of the series. Too often in MM Romance, a female character is either relegated to the bubbly best friend, or the vengeful girlfriend/wife keeping the main characters apart.
I fell into that trope myself, arguably, with Bear, Otter and the Kid. Bear and Ty's mother was...well. If you've read that book, you know what she was. And then there was Anna, Bear's girlfriend. Part of me wishes I'd handled that differently, but I liked the character she became in subsequent books in the series. I even found myself feeling a bit sorry for the mom by the time we got to The Art of Breathing. She was not a good person, that much is true; but I'd like to think I understood her a little better by the end.
However, in Wolfsong, I wanted to have women who stood just as strong as the male characters.
Maggie Calloway, in the end, was not a victim. Yes, she was murdered by Richard Collins, but she went out fighting, just as Thomas Bennett did. Her love was a fierce and wonderful thing, and it hurt when she did pass. Without her, I don't believe Ox would be the man he is. He had the Bennetts, sure, but he learned to stand because of his mother.
Jessie was...well. She was the girlfriend who briefly stood between the two main characters, though when she and Ox were together, Joe was far too young for it to actually mean they were being kept apart. But everyone grows up sometime, and Jessie became an important part of the pack. She became independent of Ox, even though it was through him (and Chris) that they were all tied together in pack.
And Elizabeth. My queen. I adore her. And I hurt her. I'll be honest, when I was writing Wolfsong, I had to stop after the death of Thomas Bennett because I'd been writing how Ox felt about it all, and not necessarily showing Elizabeth and grief. That was a mistake, and one I knew needed to be corrected immediately. It wasn't fair to let her fall by the wayside.
Which brings me to Ravensong.
Elizabeth Bennett (and no, that name was not intentional--it wasn't until the book was published that someone said, oh, hey, that name is familiar--*sigh*; she was actually the last to be named out of all the Bennetts, even after the last name had already been chosen) is the matriarch of the pack. When we return to Green Creek in the present, we will see her in control. I was concerned with her sort of fading into the background, only appearing to dispense wisdom before disappearing again.
So in the outline, I wrote a complete arc for her, what she was doing when certain events were happening, what she might have been feeling. The hard thing about a singular perspective is the idea of telling versus showing. I'm not too hung up on that as some people seem to be (to each their own), but I was conscious of her at all points.
And it helped that Gordo's history was so intertwined with her own (and, of course, with Thomas Bennett--but I'll get to him next week). Even if he won't admit it, I think Elizabeth knows Gordo better than most people. The shared history is one filled with anguish and hardship, but they understand each other in ways I didn't expect. For sure Gordo doesn't expect it, either, and it was an eyeopener to see them find their way back to each other, even after all that had happened (of which you'll learn all about).
(And remember, Elizabeth will get her own story called Lovesong, released right here on this blog on September 1.)
It's the same for Jessie. Yes, she's Ox's ex. Yes, she's Chris's sister. But I needed her to stand on her own, especially since she is human. She doesn't have magic. She's not a wolf. But she can hold her own. In fact, she has turned into a pretty big badass, as you'll soon discover. Remember Ox's crowbar with silver in it? He can't use it anymore, obviously. So it goes to Jessie, and holy shit, is she going to fuck some assholes up, even while calling out the men in the pack on their bullshit (of which there is alot. Men are dumb). She is often the voice of reason, and is part of what Gordo (much to his dismay) refers to as Team Human.
The third woman is someone we saw briefly throughout Wolfsong.
The (temporary) Alpha of all.
She remains, for the most part, an enigma, though her role in Ravensong is much larger than it was in Wolfsong. Some will think her a villain, and while that's fair, I don't know if it's right, exactly. And no, she's not the Big Bad in Ravensong.
She is still far, far away, but her actions in Ravensong will reverberate throughout the rest of the series. That doesn't mean she's evil, but that she's doing what she thinks is right. And whether she is right or not will be the big question. Power is intoxicating, and she's had a taste of it given her position. What will she do to keep that power, if she thinks she has to?
I've told you about three.
The remaining four?
One has no speaking part, but she is arguably the catalyst for a great many things that will span into the remaining two books.
The second is Gordo's mother. What you read about her briefly in Wolfsong is a lie told by an angry man bent on keeping Ox away from the wolves.
The third is...interesting. Let's just say Rico will have his hands full.
And the fourth?
The fourth might just be up there with my favorite of all characters in this series.
Because she is the true villain of Ravensong. Her history with the Bennett pack goes back far longer than anyone expects. And she will bring the wolves to their knees.
(i'm such an asshole, lolol.)
Next week, Gordo and Thomas Bennett: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
And the little tease:
The relationship between Carter and Kelly plays a major role, and Gordo will make a new enemy because of it and his actions.