In my most recent novel, I wrote a character with mental illness into the story line. Readers have responded with great enthusiasm for this 'real character with real problems who wasn't put away'. I'll admit, I was wary to craft Opal Grey so openly, concerned that her portrayal be balanced. Opal, in her own way, does love her offspring, her husband, and her friends; mental illness distorts that love. Families have issues. Family members, while loving the afflicted, pay a price. Addiction is another prevalent illness in society, often stuffed under the rug, hidden, covered-up - its effects on family deep-reaching and devastating. The struggle is not only with the addiction itself, but the consequences of addictive behavior. Poor financial decisions, erratic behavior, and betrayal plague spouse and children. I plan to delve into addiction in a future novel - from multiple perspectives.
Reading is an escape, yet we need flawed characters to experience their story. The art is in crafting balance - portraying a character with real problems while leaving their humanity intact.
What issues would you like to see explored through characters?