I’ve been getting a lot of comments from readers who say that, while they like my main character in Storm Surge, they really dislike Kimmie, my main character’s antagonist. On more than one occasion, a reader has told me she hates Kimmi. My response: “Good!” I didn't write Kimmie to be a likable character.
When I was thinking about conflict in my novel, there always was the conflict of the major plot: the mystery my sleuth must solve. But I wanted even more conflict. I wanted conflict at her workplace and in her romantic interest. And I also wanted conflict within my character’s family. Hence, Kimmie was born. She’s a big-haired redhead and a police officer. And she’s mean and cruel, self-centered and greedy. And she won’t let go of a grudge. She has a body that’s so tough it reminds me of a tree trunk.
Sometimes I’m asked how I came up with Kimmie’s character. I’ve been asked if I fashioned her after my own brother. (No! My bro might have big hair, but we’re pals and always have been.) In part, developing Kimmie was a practice in heightening conflict. She doggedly stands in the way of my main character. If my main character goes left, Kimmie goes right.
My only concern is that she’s too over-the-top. So in my second Jonie Waters mystery, readers will find there’s a reason Kimmie lashes out the way she does. Does her reason justify her behavior? Probably not, but perhaps it will explain it. In the meantime, readers, hate on.