I’ve been asked if Diane, Blood Toy’s tough-but-tortured heroine, is inspired by Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake. I actually discovered Anita mid-series when I picked up Micah at an airport newsstand and read it cover-to-cover on the flight from North Carolina to California. I was hooked enough to read most of the books that follow in the series, but I have an avid hatred for prequels, which is what books 1-12 would feel like after reading number 13 in the series, so have not read any of her earlier books. I am not even sure what the phrase “early Anita” means except that there is less sex. So, to answer, no, Diane was not inspired by Anita (though I have been told fans of hers will enjoy Blood Toy.)
Recently I blogged about the origin of one of Diane’s distinct persona’s, the Dreamer. I would guess the persona that most reminds readers of Anita is the Assassin.
Unlike the Dreamer, for whom I was unequivocally my own inspiration, assassin material I am not. I trip over carpet lines; I have tripped standing still. True story, waiting for an elevator in an office building in front of my colleagues, I shifted my weight slightly wrong on my sensible two inch heels, and down I went. I have never thrown a punch at a real, live person. I do know weapons, I am damn good shot, and, like Diane, I’ll take a shotgun or a wheel gun over semi-automatic any day of the week, but there my resemblance to the Assassin ends.
So I asked myself, what or who did inspire the Assassin?
My favorite cartoon as a kid was He-Man. I watched She-Ra too, though as female action figures went, Jem was much cooler. I also watched Thundercats and GI Joe. When I outgrew cartoons, my hero fantasies were fueled by the 80s and 90s action blockbusters. “Die Hard” and all its sequels. In fact, you could just name most any Bruce Willis blockbuster “The Last Boyscout”, “The Jackal”. But Sarah Conner in “Terminator 2” probably reminds me most of the Assassin. They both totally own their antisocial, keep-going-no-matter-how-much-you-have-to-bleed attitudes and could probably use a Xanax or few. My obsession with female protagonists started there and continued with “Point of No Return”, “A River Runs Through It” and “The Long Kiss Goodnight.”
So despite a ton of great female characters who’s adventures I enjoy reading, ultimately the Assassin was inspired by a long and expensive education in big screen heroes. Who said movies rot the brain? (No one, that’s TV I’m thinking.)