There has been much debate around the idea of male writers creating female characters. We have been accused, quite rightly so in many cases, of making women mere background or accessory characters, beguiling 'rewards' for the hero or a motivation instead of a well-developed, inspiring, and intriguing person by herself.
Those of you who have been following us know that The Chronicles of Enoch intends to shatter quite a number of preconceptions and stereotypes along the way and this is one of them.
The Chronicles has four main characters of the definate female persuasion and several about whom we are are less certain. Some of these characters might start off looking somewhat stereotypical but I assure you that this is quite intentional and will be remedied quite abruptly later one.
Let us go through the women of The Chroicles one at a time and introduce them;
Marguelisa is from Santo Domingo, the Dominican Repubic where she had been running a successful practise as therapist to the wealthy and bilingual until strange events which took place in 1997.
A regular client of hers, an American businessman by the name of Skander Draco, had decided to campaign for the post of the city's mayor. Following his candidacy, his visits to her practise became more regular and he complained of strange of vivid dreams. When he stopped coming, she feared the worse. Two weeks later, he appeared on the news for two equally shocking reasons; he had won the mayorship and had been assassinated during his acceptance speech, together with three other foreigners he had never mentioned before.
This was shocking enough in itself but what followed was more so. Through some local police contacts, Marguelisa decided to see what had happened, to satisfy her curiosity. In the Dominican Republic, there are few things which cannot be bought and the police will take 'commissions' and are quite free with privilaged information if the money is right. Her surprise, then, was total when not only did her contact fall silent but, after receiving some documents from him during their last meeting, he office was burned to the ground, taking the deeply intriguing documents with it.
Then the death threats started.
Sensibly, Marguelisa decided that, seeing as she had nothing left in the DR, to take her money and move to America that very day, telling nobody.
She set herself up in Atlanta and, through a great deal of hard work, got herself an association with the Atlanta Police Department, assessing the mental state of witnesses and suspects and their fitness to be interviewed or tried. She has her private practise and home in one of the towns close to the city.
She changed when she met young Sander, a nine year old boy with ASD who had witnesses the particularly violent murder of his parents. Some protective instinct was woken inside of her by how easily the boy trusted and opened up to her. Something about him reminded her of Draco and she swore to protect him if she could. When Charles, his uncle to whose custody Sander was signed, called her asking for help, she did not hesitate.
Mrs. leibwicz survived The Holocaust, that by itself makes her stronger than an awful lot of people by itself.
She is Rabbi Pachowski's housekeeper and what many call the runner of his life, seeing as the rabbi is incapable of doing so himself. There was much contraversy when the unmarried spinster and unmarried rabbi began sharing a home but Mrs. Leibwicz did the best thing one could do in such such circumstances, she ignored everyone who uttered such nonsense.
She watched her best friend die and was herself saved by someone that could only have been Sable in a Polish Ghetto during WW2 and, later, the entire trainload of jews she was unwillingly travelling to Sobibor with her again rescued by Sable, who vanished from history after that night. She joined the Cichociemni or Polish Resistance that night together with the young Avi Pachowski (not yet rabbi) and, after a number of years, left service at the Russian border and made her way to America. She never married but was able to get into contact with those of her family that had survived. She became a very active aunty and great aunty.
Later in life, she met now-rabbi Pachowski and installed herself as the bachelor's housekeeper, pretty much without consulting him. She has been there ever since and, though very traditional in her views, has been experiencing something of a change following Lilith's arrival in the house; in her late 90's she has begun taking more interest in her appearance than she previously had.
Lorasta is a young Nephilim (for an immortal species, 50 is young) originally from either Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic, depending on who asks her. Rumour has it she doesn't remember.
She grew up in the usual way and nothing is known about either of her parents. She was first noticed around the age of 15, then in the care of the State following the death of her mother a few years earlier. A slightly older male contemporary from the same orphanage had made unwanted advances towards her and had triggered Lorasta's dormant Nephilim genes in her defense. The young man neither survived nor was he ever seen again, a newly-born striga does not often leave enough behind to identify.
Lorasta is a somewhat tragic figure. She is an extremely powerful type of Nephilim known as a Striga (pl. Strigoi); the source for most of the vampire rumours across the world. This means that the Nephilim triple helix has bonded incorrectly to her human DNA and left her, though longer-lived than your baseline human, she is not immortal as are most Nephilim. Through an unknown mechanism, she is able to renew herself and repair the genetic error, giving her several more years of life and restoring her youth. She looks, as long as she feeds regularly, like a young woman of some 25 years old.
So far, Lorasta has show incredible resourcefulness and stregnth in not only rising to the top of the Wolf Pack but also in shocking Asmodeus with her ability to control her shift and even reverse it by sheer force of will; Strigoi cannot control their shift as a rule and Lorasta is the first Asmodeus has seen do it in his very long life. She is also highly adaptable and intelligent, surviving the near total disaster that befell the Wolf Pack and attached herself to Lilith, probably the best person that could influence the highly independant and confused young woman.
We have some very exciting plans for her in the future and she is going to amaze even further, we think. Not as an accessory but as Lorasta herself.
Lilith is the very first woman but she was edited out of the Bible. A fragment of a clue of her existence can be found in that curious thing scholars call the 'double creation' in Genesis.
The story, the unedited version, goes like this; Adam and Lilith were created from the dust and made as a couple, equal. Then, for reasons no-one adequately explained either to Lilith or us, it ws determined that she needed to submit to Adam, we think that Adam complained about her. The angels and, ultimately, The Creator appeared to side with Adam, Lilith was to submit to Adam and lie beneath him and not try to dominate and enjoy herself as she had been doing. Lilith told them this was not going to happen. The angels tried to convince her and, in a rage, Lilith left the Garden and sought out her own refuge in the unformed lands still out there.
She created herself a small kingdom with a cosy cave and waited for those dratted angels to come by and apologise. Instead Raphael came to tell her about Eve.
Lilith closed her kingdom to every outsider who came without her express permission, Raphael included, such was her feeling of betrayal, anger, and emptiness; another woman would bear the children that were supposed to be hers. That Eve seemed to be the very thing they had demanded Lilith be, she decided that she was going to find a way to make the women as strong as her rather weak and simpering like their mother.
She bred (the rumours differ on how, some say she laid carnally with the already Fallen angels, others that she wove them from the very stuff of her realm which was, after all, made from the very chaos-stuff from which all of creation sprang. Lilith is not telling, she appears to know the power of rumour very well) a new race of demons and nightbreed to harry the expanding human race and trouble the young.
Haunts. Succubae. Incubbae. Nightmares. Bogiemen. Bugbears. Banshees. Furies.
Her plan, she says, is to make the women stronger through loss and ordeal and she had been made strong. Eventually, she was sure, with enough pushing, women would take their rightful place and - at least for she remained angry about how that had started - become equal to men.
Now, as her eyes are opened upon a world where it actually looks like, for the first time in history, that this very thing is happening. Her bitterness is shaken off and she returns to Earth as the beautiful woman she once was, not the dispicable demon-thing her bitterness made her.
So, these four all, to me, represent different aspects of the strong female who, in her way, demands and should expect respect for who she is. They rely on nobody but themselves and are neither sexual objects nor accessories to any of the heroes. They have their own storylines already and many more are to come for each of them.
None of them are ashamed of bumming around the rabbi's house in sweatpants and an old jumper with their hair undone and no make-up on. None of them need a partner of saviour of any kind, they all survived numerous trials on their own and made their own mistakes.
The scenes between Lilith and Mrs. Liebwicz with Lorasta as an embarrassed and incredulous witness were a genuine pleasure to write. Lilith is very satisfying in her current encarnation. Lorasta, I'm dying to put her in situations which will allow her to grow.
I hope my female readers see them as I intended them to be, as a homage to strong women for one but, most importantly, as decent and well-written characters regardless of their gender. They are strong women together with the strong men and strong beings already present in the series. They are not important only because they are women but that they are women is important.