I remember the moment that Melina Markowitz, the heroine of Don’t Kill the Messenger, walked into my life. I was on an airplane headed to a conference in Florida. I was supposed to be writing a completely different book, one with a deadline looming. This young woman strolled into my imagination and was beset by ninjas who wanted to take something she had.
Mind you, I had no idea what she had, why she had it, who the ninjas were and why they wanted it or anything else. I wrote the few paragraphs, tucked them away and returned to the book with the looming deadline.
Melina kept pestering me, though. How did she learn to fight so well? Did she have special abilities? How did she get them? What was she carrying? To whom? As I learned more and more about Melina, I met her friends and her family and saw more and more of the situations in which she found herself. She had me hooked.
It seemed like every time I turned around, I learned something that fit perfectly into the book. There are special Chinese vampires called kiang shi? There are underground tunnels in Sacramento from when they raised the city? There are grow houses in suburban developments? Everything around me seemed to be begging to be put in this book and I hate to disappoint something that actually begs for me something, a fact my children know all too well.
I’ve always loved the stories where an ordinary someone becomes a hero when thrust into extraordinary circumstances. Melina is not exactly ordinary, but she longs to be and she is definitely a small cog in the very big wheel that makes her world turn. The moment the ninjas jump her starts a chain of events that force her to change from a twenty-something slacker with no direction into a heroine who fights for herself and everyone else who doesn’t have anyone to fight for them. She transforms herself from being simply the protagonist to being a true hero and I love her for it. Telling her story in Don’t Kill the Messenger was an incredible pleasure for me and I think you’ll enjoy reading it.
I’ve loved getting to know Melina and her world and am looking forward to returning to it for the next installment of Melina’s adventures next spring. I’d love to hear from you about what you think. Please stop by my website at www.EileenRendahl.com for contact information and more information about my other projects.