Diana Rivers - created by Faith Mortimer
I think the character, Diana Rivers found me rather than the other way around. After writing my first novel, The Crossing: The Seeds of Time and Harvest, fact fiction set in the past and present, I found I wanted to try my hand at writing a murder mystery.
As a long-time lover of book, TV and film detectives, I realised the whole genre was steeped in fantastic characters. Who and which character was my own protagonist going to be? I didn’t want to simply emulate another writer’s hero – mine had to have his or her own voice.
At the time of writing my first murder mystery, we were living in an old village situated in the foothills of the Cyprus Troodos mountains. The inhabitants were mainly older Greek Cypriots, and a collection of ex-pats from many countries. The village was spectacular; craggy cliffs, fertile valleys encompassing a motley collection of ancient stone houses ranging from derelict hovels to renovated and stunning family houses.
I listened to the old stories going back over the years; the troubles between the Greeks and Turkish communities, the British Empire and day to day misdemeanours. This village had a turbulent and often vicious history with a story to tell, it just needed the right voice. The menfolk were typical; boasting and proud. The women; more pragmatic and thoughtful. It seemed right that the protagonist would be a woman.
The Assassins’ Village was born...and with it…Diana Rivers.
Diana comes across as inquisitive, although some will say she's just downright nosy! However you take her, she’s feisty, tenacious, single-minded and no matter how I want the plot to go – it was/is always Diana who gets to have the final word. She's neither Miss Marple nor Jessica Fletcher. She's her own woman. Bright, forty-ish and with a mind of her own. Since her childhood she's often found herself in tricky situations, sometimes real danger, but somehow she's always come out squeaky clean - so far. She doesn't go looking for trouble but somehow it always finds her.
She enjoys a good mystery and often finds herself siding with the underdog - she sums up most situations with the word retribution. Diana likes to fight alongside that person in the mystery or adventure who is having a hard time - often through no fault of their own. She understands everyone is human and has faults and quirks which are different from the next person. Diana too is human and makes her own mistakes - sometimes bad ones.
One thing which stands out about Diana, is that she has evolved through the seven books (so far) in the series. I’ve had to accept that a character I’ve created doesn’t always behave in the way I planned. It is she who controls the pencil, changes my ideas and decides which way she is going to dictate that chapter of the story. Perhaps this is one of the best parts about creating characters. If they’re unpredictable like Diana, then I’m constantly surprised about where the story is going. I’ve had to give Diana the freedom she wants; it’s almost as if it is she who is in charge…not me the writer…and I honestly think she is!