Kate Allen is the protagonist in my novel, The Black Sea, and she is really a synthesis of a number of strong, intelligent women in my life – all of whom I adore. The original inspiration for Kate was Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. I wanted to create a female equivalent to Ryan, someone who would manage the situations in which Kate finds herself in the ways I’d expect the women I know to deal with them. Kate has no super powers. She has no Lara Croft or Lisbeth Salander super skills and/or gadgets and, unlike James Bond, she’s not a killer in the “for Queen and country” model.
Too often woman in fiction are endowed with these unrealistic attributes and this is something that I really dislike, so I created a character that – much like the women in my own life – is more than capable of looking after herself. Moreover, while Kate is romantic with men she never lets them distract her from her goals or what she is determined to do. While it is easier for a male protagonist to sleep with women and cast them away unapologetically, Kate’s character strikes a careful balance and is neither callous nor careless with her emotions.
Kate is a very savvy, ambitious journalist who is more capable than she knows. She uses her intuition and prefers to take action rather than doing nothing – I think it is indecision that keeps most people from realizing their true potential. Kate finds herself in endless dubious and dangerous situations, but she doesn’t get paralyzed with fear and do nothing. She makes decisions with the best information she can gather and then moves forward, for better or worse. At the same time she absorbs knowledge and events very quickly and critically adapts to the environment around her. That is part of what makes her such a great heroine.
Recently, I have been asked a lot about how I came up with the character of Kate Allen the heroine of The Black Sea. So I have decided to give a little background information about Kate and how she came into being:
For me, Kate always needed to have attributes that allowed her to resonate in the mind of the reader and, most importantly, I wanted her to be appealing to both men and women. I strove for men to like Kate as much as women do and, from the reviews and feedback I have had so far, I’ve succeeded: men find her as appealing as female readers do. In Kate, I hope that I have created a character who simply does what most women would do when confronted with circumstances in which she finds herself. And I hope she’s a character who is capable of being convincing both in print and on the screen.