by Karina Halle
Paperback, 323 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Metal Blonde Books
There’s always been something a bit off about Perry Palomino. Though she’s been dealing with a quarter-life crisis and post-college syndrome like any other twenty-something, she’s still not what you would call “ordinary.” For one thing, there’s her past which she likes to pretend never happened, and then there’s the fact that she sees ghosts. Luckily for her, that all comes in handy when she stumbles across Dex Foray, an eccentric producer for an upcoming webcast on ghost hunters. Even though the show’s budget is non-existent and Dex himself is a maddening enigma, Perry is instantly drawn into a world that both threatens her life and seduces her with a sense of importance. Her uncle’s haunted lighthouse provides the perfect catalyst and backdrop for a mystery that unravels the threads of Perry’s fragile sanity and causes her to fall for a man, who, like the most dangerous of ghosts, may not be all that he seems.
Guest post by Karina Halle:
Embracing Character FlawsMy novel Darkhouse, the first book in the Experiment in Terror Series, focuses on the main character, 22-year old Perry Palomino, and her ghost hunting partner-in-crime, Dex Foray. But even though the story is steeped in mystery and supernatural sensibilities, the aspect that most readers comment on is how relatable, realistic and likeable the characters are. You can’t have a world with ghosts and spirits without characters who are firmly rooted in reality (or at least their version of reality).
The reason I believe why my characters are so believable is simply because they are flawed. Some of these flaws are slight and some are downright ugly, but even the most perfect-looking people have blemishes on their personality.
Let’s start with Perry. Readers have said:
*“She's insecure and flawed and reminded me of Marilyn Monroe. Strange, maybe, but like Marilyn, Perry has this sadness in her and this inability to see her real worth”
*“Perry is a reliable character: flawed, insecure, impulsive, but despite her own roadblocks she has a determination that the audience can clearly see even if she does not (yet)”
*“She’s stumbling through life, trying to find herself…She’s not a petite drop-dead gorgeous kick ass heroine either – her references to her “thunder thighs” and her “fat ass” had me nodding and saying “I hear ya, sister!”
*“ She’s always been struggling to find herself, her place…Perry totally needs a BFF to have her back, ’cause the girl’s life has felt like one big slap in the face”
* “Perry Palomino is a real person, a hard rock chick who is unsure of herself but willing to take any and all chances that life sends her way”
Of course, not all readers “get” Perry, and that is reflected as well:
*“She just irked the shit out of me with her indecisiveness and over-analyzing tendencies. I found myself wanting to yell at her “just go for it!””
*”Perry's tendency to constantly be a victim made it hard for me to like her. I actually wanted to slap her! But it is that exact feeling that told me I had to keep going. Somewhere between the first and 100th page I started to care about her.”
But that’s what makes Perry who she is. If you’re a super strong, confident type with a great self-image, you probably will not relate to her. But most of us aren’t those people. If she started off, in Book One, as a kickass heroine with no apologies…well, where is there for her to go? Besides, I didn’t want to write that story. There are enough of those stories already. Perry is not a passive character and she drives the story forward but yes, she needs to work on herself. I wanted to take a relatable, real young girl and place her among highly unreal circumstances. That’s the real “experiment” here.
Same goes for Dex: “He’s a character I want to like, but I can’t work out if I do”, “He was rude and distant”, “I believe this was the point when I messaged Karina and told her I wasn't a fan of him. It had nothing to do with the writing, but rather his cocky attitude.” In fact, I’m devoting an entire blog post to what people think of him because he either pulls you one way or the other. He can be a hard pill to swallow and though I personally love him to death, I can understand why a lot of people (females, mostly) have a love/hate thing with him. Because he is abrasive, he is rude at times, he takes the weirdest things seriously, he is impulsive, moody, quiet, secretive, deceptive and sarcastic. He’s a lot of things and most of all, he reminds people of someone they once knew, and it’s usually someone who screwed them over. But there’s also weird gentlemanly way about him and he has a good heart, somewhere inside. I think this is what Perry picks up on and that’s what keeps her intrigued (aside from him being all broody, hot and unavailable).
So with characters who have copious amounts of baggage, who don’t always do the right thing and don’t always make the right choices, do they still make good role models? I’d like to think so. Despite their shortcomings, both Perry and Dex (yes, Dex) are good people with good intentions. It might take a few books to see that, but like the best of us, it’s just waiting for the right moment to come out. Not that any literary characters need to be anyone’s role model, but if someone can relate to a character and then watch that character overcome their own problems, I think it sends a great message that the rest of us stand a chance too. Only by accepting and acknowledging your flaws can any of us really change.
Buy Darkhouse by Karina Halle: Amazon (Print) / Goodreads (epub) / Kindle
Karina’s sadly neglected personal blog can be found here: http://www.ontheblogbandwagon.blogspot.com/
Karina’s not so neglected writing blog can be found here: http://www.experimentinterror.com/