If you are wondering what it is about Snow Ramirez that made me want to write a book about her, you might want to read the guest post I wrote about choosing street kids as subject matter for a suspense series. Snow’s plight stirs up an emotional response in the reader, much like the lives of the real kids I met did in my life.
In my first novel, Painted Black, a young man turns to drugs and prostitution in an attempt to withdraw from a reality too painful to deal with. In the latest novel, Bend Me, Shape Me, Snow Ramirez does the opposite. She chooses to fight back when she determines the psychiatrist treating her brother is harming him, not helping. Had the plot been about any other kid, there wouldn’t have been much tension to deal with. A 17-year-old with a support system of school, family and friends would be able to go to someone to express her concerns and would be heard. Someone would research the situation, find out the truth and save the boy. End of story.
If you’re homeless and have a mental illness like Snow, there is no support system available to help the person work their way out of that maze. She has to take things into her own hands, break laws to find evidence, rage against the injustice any way she can until someone finally listens to her story. How she catches the attention of my protagonist Jo Sullivan is more difficult, more meaningful, and more suspenseful because of her limitations as a homeless kid.