Ivory on Gabriel. Not literally…

This is a guest post for the blog by Ivory Quinn, author of Obsession: Darkness Falls. The book is available from Amazon here:

US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C1RJ8PS

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00C1RJ8PS

and you can find her on Facebook here:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ivory-Quinn/533166043392982?ref=hl

And twitter here:

https://twitter.com/IvoryQuinn_

So, without further ado, I’ll hand you over.

********************************************************************

Hi everyone, this is Ivory. Rivka’s asked me to do a guest post about Gabriel (the character) so here goes.

It’s been two weeks since ODF went live and the response has been totally surreal. I genuinely didn’t expect the outpouring of emotion, warmth and excitement that readers the world over have been expressing. It’s both humbling and astonishing. As each review comes in and messages appear all over my facebook page, I still haven’t really come to terms with the fact that my book has affected people in such a way. I don’t know if I ever will. I keep apologising for making people cry!

By far and away the thing that I’ve found most astonishing and, if I’m brutally honest, confusing is the readers’ response to Gabriel’s character. I’ve never made any secret of the fact that ODF was an exploration of the psychology and damage behind domestic abuse and domination. When I sat down and started writing ODF, it was (and still is) a story about Noelle. Obsession was the first part of the story arc and Redemption will be the second half of the book. It was always intended to be the ascent out of the darkness, even though it seems to get worse before it gets better. Obsession and Redemption are two halves of the same book.

I always knew when writing it, that ODF was going to speak to people on a base level. I knew that an awful lot of people were going to be deeply uncomfortable reading it because of some of the issues it explores. It’s hard not to see yourself reflected in the characters and situations when you’re absorbed in a book. There were parts of it that were deeply personal to me. You only have to look at the dedication to understand where I was coming from when I wrote it. As a result, the reviews where people have said they found it hard to read but still felt compelled to read it really strike a chord with me.

I’ve had so many messages asking what on earth is going to happen to the story in the second book now that ‘the main character’ is gone. The main character is Noelle. It’s her story. But don’t give up on Gabriel just yet…

I’m not ashamed to say that I grossly underestimated people’s capacity to forgive. I wanted to explore the boundaries of how damaged a person has to be before their past no longer becomes an excuse for their present. I wanted to explore the idea that a person can be damaged and charming and handsome, but it still doesn’t make it okay to manipulate and subvert an innocent. Or so I thought. It appears that Gabriel hit a nerve with so many readers – they love him. They feel for him. They, in essence, forgive his behaviour towards Noelle because he is so damaged. In fact, Noelle has almost become the villain of the story.

I know it’s been an emotional read for many people. I think what you should all know is that your response has been deeply emotional for me, and not just because of how amazing you’ve all been. Your capacity to forgive, to love a character with so much darkness in him, has made me question my own capacity for forgiveness and love. I’m a deeply introverted person and this questioning is actually something I consider to be a good thing. I think everyone needs to have their beliefs challenged every now and then. I think everyone should be reminded that the world is not all about greed and selfishness, that people can (and will) forgive the most extraordinary wrongs through compassion and understanding.

As a character, I have a love-hate relationship with Gabriel. I love him for his sweetness and his charm, for his wit and warmth. I love him because deep down inside he is a damaged little boy that can’t help the way that he is. I hate him because I don’t think that his past makes what he does to Noelle right. I believe that everyone has choices. These are issues that I’m going to be exploring in the second half of the book, Redemption. I think the fact that my feelings towards him are so intense and conflicted, so polarised (almost cognitively dissonant!), that they’ve made him leap from the page. He is a bright and vibrant character, there’s no denying it.

I guess in some ways I’ll always have a strange love affair with his character and it looks like I won’t be alone in that.

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