Martina’s origins were simple enough. It was 1997. I was a thirteen year old kid in eighth grade and I had a first period study hall. Since I usually already had finished any schoolwork the night before, I almost always had nothing to do during that 40 minute block of time. To amuse myself, I would pull out a piece of paper and start writing.
It was getting towards the end of the school year. I’d just finished writing one novel and was looking for a new story to tell. Although I’d been fascinated with space flight for years, I’d never tried to write a novel about it, until that point.
I started describing a space shuttle launch. Naturally, I needed a character to be piloting that space shuttle and the name Martina Redrick came to me almost instantly. This was incredibly significant for me. Usually I agonized over character names, struggling to come up with names that were varied, sounded good and fit my characters. For me to think up a name, and a good one at that, so quickly, was unheard of. That never happened. I felt is if I’d found my character, the one who I could build a series around.
From that point on, all my novels would star Martina as the main character.
Martina has certainly changed over the years, maturing as I grew older. Initially, she was a combination of my own personality and the traits I thought a good action hero should have. While she’s maintained some of those characteristics throughout the years, she taken on many traits of her own.
Surprisingly, Martina initially was a very light hearted character, a term I certianly wouldn’t use to describe her today. Despite that, she still had a hard edge to her, which surfaces immediately in the first story as soon as she is threatened. Her determinaton and unwillingess to give up without a fight are evident from the start. Through the course of my next few books that youthful light heartedness would vanish but her hard interior would remain, leaving her a more serious, practical character. This change seems to parrallel my own transition from a day-dreaming, optimistic kid to a somewhat jaded adult.
Martina was a far more emotional character in the beginning, clearly displaying happiness, anger, frustration and even compassion. She was quick to react to her enviroment. Over time, she’s calmed down. She’s much less reactive and her displays of emotion are much more subtle. While she still clearly shows her feelings, she stays calm and in control at all times. Instead of the passionate, hateful anger she shows in the first stories, she now displays a cold, tempered fury. Interestingly enough, she was also a less forgiving and more violent character in my early works.
In some regards, Martina hasn’t changed at all. From the start she was quick witted and even quicker to act. Although in the first books, she still has a self-preservation instinct. In the second book I started, she’s hesitant to take on a risky assignment, calling it “crazy” and “suicidal”. This is something she eventually loses, showing very little regard for her own well being in later stories, when those same terms are used by others to describe her actions.
Overall, Martina remains cool, calm and professional. She is the take-charge type and not one to sit by and helplessly accept her fate. She’s at times unforgiving, cold blooded and calculating, although she does have a softer, more compassionate side that she rarely shows. She’s been hurt in the past and guards her emotions closely, which is perhaps a direct result of the disappointments I’ve experienced in my own life. Martina is particullarly unlucky in love, and has been from ever since I created her. Because of this, she’s learned not to trust most people, only letting a select few close to her. Sometimes, she appears tired and a little world weary, but she always picks herself back up and carries on.
I’ve made a point of not deleving too deeply into Martina’s past. She was an adult when I first started writing with her, and her character was fully developed. She remains that way today. When the reader meets her in HELLFIRE she is already an experienced pilot, having been in the Air Force for nearly ten years and her personality is firmly established.
When I was younger I debated the idea of going back and writing a prequel or two and fleshing out more of Martina’s past, but I eventually discarded that idea. I feel that if I was to go back to her youth and try to create a solid history for her, it would drastically change the person she is in the series and that is something that I don’t want to do. So instead I only mention the occassional details of her past which she reveals to me. I use this information to supplement her character, rather than define her. Even as I write with her, she continues to evolve, impacted by the events of my stories.
Martina is in some regards a reluctant hero. She doesn’t go looking for glory, and she doesn’t always enjoy the messes she finds herself caught up in. But at the same time, she finds herself compelled to act. Motivated by her strong patriotism, her loyalty to her friends or perhaps simply her own curiosity, she finds herself pulled into conflicts again and again. And while she’s not the one to start things, she makes sure to finish them.
From the start, Martina’s greatest passion was flying, and that remains true today. She has always been patriotic, loyal to her country and ready to defend it in any way needed. From the beginning, she was an incredibly skilled pilot and a fierce fighter. While not as cocky as her sidekick, Rachel, she extremely confident in her own abilities. She is neither a dark, angry character, nor an overlly happy one. She’s even-tempered and level-headed. In some ways, she is seeking peace, as we all are. She believes in herself and what she fights for and she really knows how to kick some serious ass.
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