I Don't Believe in Perfect People💔

Hi, all— 
In all my detective novels & thrillers, one thing is clear from the start: my characters have major flaws. Why? Because perfect people don't exist. The world may not be better for that harsh reality, but fiction certainly is! While perfection in humans is an admirable goal, perfect characters are boring. Doubly so for the author. There's nothing to do with them. No growth to be had over a book or a series. Often, the more imperfect the character, the bigger the emotional payoff for that character and the reader when the former climbs that story mountain, gets that girl/guy or defuses the bomb & takes down the terrorist. 
Years ago, I purchased a popular thriller. In the opening pages, I discovered that the hero's love interest had survived an IED explosion...and didn't have a single, discernible scar on her body. Not only was this woman intact, she was physically stunning. Perfect hair, perfect face, perfect body. Not a single flaw on her flesh, from that IED or life. This bothered me a lot—as a writer & a reader. But most importantly, it bothered me as a military veteran. 
While I personally don't bear physical scars of combat, far too many vets do. Some are small, and others are huge & horrific. A significant portion of the latter are made even more so, because all too often, those scars aren't cool "combat badges" to show off to fellow vets & civilians when pressed for a war story. Instead, those scars tend to be testimonies for fellow soldiers & good friends who lost their lives in that same moment, or on that same mission. So while many of those scars may come with gratitude & relief for the bearer, they also have an equal shot at coming with a hell of a lot of baggage & guilt. 
When I made the switch from writing romance to gritty detective novels & thrillers, I consciously decided to give scars to my characters who've seen combat. The ones I gave Kate Holland in THE GARBAGE MAN—and John Garrison (& now Regan) in the Deception Point thrillers—aren't slender and sleek. They're large, mottled & in your face—and they aren't pretty. And they definitely don't come with bragging rights. Worse, the scars these particular characters bear on their physical bodies cover far more frightening emotional wounds beneath. 
My goal as a writer in both my Deception Point & my Hidden Valor series is to help these characters smooth out the latter. Of course, that's going to take a bit of work—and outright forcing. And while these emotional scars may eventually cease throbbing, I suspect they'll never really go away. Given how each character earned their scars, how can they?
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