Virtual Book Tour: Blaming the Wind by Alessandra Harris
Blaming the Wind
By Alessandra Harris
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Sophia Douglas can’t shake the fear that she’s in over her head. A spontaneous elopement and a layoff from her high-paying job are stressful enough, but a plus sign on her pregnancy test sends her into a panic. Fearing her husband, Terrence, might leave like her father did, Sophia confides her insecurities to Tara, her friend and mom of three.
Though Tara Fisher encourages Sophia to trust Terrence, she’s hiding her own secret: a handsome attorney is pursuing her, and she’s questioning her commitment to Josh, her husband of ten years. After a devastating career-ending accident, Josh has changed and so have Tara’s feelings for him.
When a crisis arises that threatens to destroy Sophia and Terrence’s young marriage, Sophia must either overcome her fear of abandonment or lose everything she never knew she wanted. Meanwhile, as Tara is torn between responsibility and passion, her imperfectly put together life starts to unravel, and ghosts from her past resurface to haunt her.
As these two couples grapple with secrets, temptation, and illness, only time will tell if their vows are strong enough to hold them together.
Writing Flawed Characters – Alessandra Harris
I took risks when I wrote Blaming the Wind. I have four Point Of View characters, which some may say is a lot. I have two male perspectives, even though it’s “women’s fiction.” I explore topics that are often not discussed in contemporary women’s fiction. And the biggest risk I took was allowing my characters to be flawed.
Writing flawed characters might not sound like a risk at first. After all, one of the rules of writing is to make sure your characters are flawed. Characters are supposed to be real, and real people have chinks in their armor. However, it’s a delicate balance between having flaws and being likeable. Since another writing rule is that the reader should root for the characters in the story, how do you do both? How does a reader root for a character who behaves poorly?
I believe the answer is to show the root of the flaw and the character’s motivation. In some books there is an antagonist that is pure evil. But in my stories it’s important to understand that people are a certain way due to their upbringing, environment, genes, and life experience. I’ve always been interested in why people make poor choices, how it affects them and those around them, and how they change as a result. When I wrote Blaming the Wind, my aim was to focus on characters who have flaws, but for a reason.
There is Sophia, an unemployed newlywed who learns at the start of the novel that she’s pregnant. Though she loves her husband, Terrence, she has major trust issues, which affect her decisions and her ability to be open and honest. Terrence is fighting for his career amidst setbacks and tribulation. He’s trying to move past his womanizing past and be faithful to Sophia, but he is not immune to temptation. Tara, the breadwinner of her family, has major childhood trauma to overcome. After her husband, Josh, suffers a serious accident, she begins comparing him to her own father who had been disabled and seeks an escape. When a handsome attorney starts pursuing her, she has to decide between a tempting distraction and her duty to her family. Finally, Josh, a stay-at-home dad, is trying to find his place in the world after a career-ending accident. Though compassionate and loving, he’s lost his zest for life and is on the verge of lsing Tara’s heart also.
At some point in Blaming the Wind, each of these characters faces tough decisions that have the potential to change the courses of their lives. While some characters make decisions that the reader may not agree with or like, I believe the characters are doing the best they can at that particular moment given their flaws. Taking a journey with characters that aren’t perfect allows the reader to experience empathy, compassion, and understanding.
However, it’s not enough for characters to just have flaws. In order to root for them, characters should have a story arc that leads to the possibility of redemption. There needs to be a “moral of the story.” Characters have to grow, learn, and change, and the more flawed they are, the bigger opportunity they have for transformation. In life and in literature, no one wants to see someone make a mistake then walk away without having been changed as a result of it.
Though I had a lot of fun writing characters that are very different from myself, the most important part of writing their story was to show that people still deserve love and friendship in spite of their imperfections. Being flawed is part of being human, and transformation is possible regardless of how flawed a character is in the beginning.
Alessandra Harris loves drama… well, on the page, that is. As a writer of women’s fiction, she delves into real-life issues without shying away from controversial topics.
After graduating from San Jose State, Alessandra volunteered as a contributing writer for CityFlight.com, a former online magazine geared toward the San Francisco Bay Area’s African American Community. An avid reader of women’s fiction, she transitioned to writing fiction with the help of writing instructors and critique groups.
Currently, Alessandra is the organizer of San Jose Writers, a diverse group of writers in the South Bay Area, California. At home, she enjoys spending time with her husband and four wonderful children.