Being Rob Crawley’s old lady requires an inner strength that Tina Douglas lacks. The perfect, red Mary Magdalene rose inked on the nape of her neck becomes a touchstone in times of stress and anxiety, which are many. Tina views her future as bleak and dire and sees herself trapped “in a web of her own making.”
Rob, a full-patch member of the Cascade Warriors MC, dominates almost every aspect of her life, but he allows Tina one freedom, the opportunity to attend Valley Secondary School, and complete her high school education, which she believes will lead to a brighter future. By commencement day, Rob regrets his decision and takes Tina’s graduation as an affront. He perceives his image with fellow gang members tarnished and plots his revenge.
On the evening of the graduation dinner dance, Rob insists they leave the party early. He spirits Tina off to an isolated cabin in the hills at the south end of Stoney Lake. What transpires there sends her life into a tailspin until fate intervenes, and she crosses paths with Jenny Travis, who becomes Tina’s protector, ally, mentor, and best friend, helping her face the unrelenting vengeance of Rob and his henchmen.
Creating Tina Douglas
I imagined myself to be an eighteen-year-old girl, pregnant and unwed, about to give birth to a baby I must give up for adoption because I’m considered unfit to care for it, then asked three critical questions. How did I get to this point in my life? Where to I go from here? What does the future hold for me?
I had the “what if” element of my hero’s story and a few challenging questions to pursue, but she lacked a persona, and that was a problem. I started writing possible scenarios, and descriptions, but she needed qualities to define her, so instead of the question, “What if?” I asked the question, “What do I want her to be like?”
I wanted her to be vulnerable but determined to shield her vulnerability. I wanted her to be a survivor. I wanted her to evolve into a hero with the support of a close friend. I wanted her to be exotic in appearance because she carries First Nations blood in her veins. I wanted my hero, Tina, to be smart and somewhat Machiavellian in her approach to life at times. I wanted her to overcome the emotional, psychological, and physical abuse she experienced in her first seventeen years. I wanted her to explore her sexuality. I wanted her to change from a go with the flow type to one who is willing to do what she must to succeed. I wanted her to be a warrior princess by the end of the novel and triumph over evil. But, I lacked a concrete mental image of the girl I whished to develop into my hero.
I had the good fortune to meet a young woman who’s persona and image supported my imagination. She is that vulnerable person adept at putting up a protective shield “in order to stay on top of things,” as she likes to say. Although somewhat older than the protagonist, she, like her, is physically petite, lacks self-confidence occasionally but keeps that to herself, and has the most striking, haunting grey eyes you can imagine. She is determined to be the best she can be, but needs a little help and support to get there from time to time. Her image became the mannequin I could clothe as my protagonist, Tina Douglas, and create a fiction around her transition from weak to strong and from submissive to warrior princess.
You’ll have to read Girl with the Rose Tattoo to meet Tina Douglas up close and personal and follow her transformation from zero to hero.
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