Talking about Devon in Jilted
I wanted to talk a little about my heroine in Jilted, Devon. One review for Jilted commented about how poorly Devon communicated her feelings with those she loved, and that it was frustrating knowing that a conversation could have avoided all that pain and heartache.This makes it sounds like communication is easy and everyone does it well. Wrong!
Communication is one of the biggest problems in relationships. It's not as simple as just talking about things. Sure, anyone can talk. But there are right ways to say things, and there are ways to say things that can hurt and make things worse. And when it comes to talking about feelings and our deepest fears and secrets - it's not that easy. Maybe for some people it might be, but I can say for me personally it is not easy for me to share those things, to make myself that vulnerable. True intimacy and love require it, but digging that deep is hard.
Devon grew up with a father who didn't want to talk about those things, after his wife left him and Devon. A stoic, proud man, he didn't want to let on how much that hurt or humiliated him. This is true of many men -- expressing feelings is considered wimpy. Thus, growing up with her father, Devon learned that that was how you dealt with feelings -- you kept them hidden deep inside and didn't let on if you were in pain. And yes, that reluctance to admit her fears and how she really felt was a barrier to her relationship with Josh the first time around. But to say that things could have been resolved just by talking is a superficial observation, because opening yourself up and making yourself vulnerable in that way is definitely not an easy thing to do.
Of course, a good story has character growth and Devon comes to know this about herself, difficult as it is to admit her failing to herself. It takes courage to get past those things and I hope Devon's growth is ultimately satisfying to readers.