On a personal level, I go with what works for me in terms of psycho-social-emotional tools as coping mechanisms. Some days it is prayer, others it may be a day out with the camera, or even just an evening alone at home with candles and calming music. As a writer, however, I have the added advantage of creating characters based on people I encounter, and if they are twisted / complicated / fascinating enough to be included in one of my plots then I will not hesitate.
With the first book, Wings At Dawn, I with went with what I knew and had already processed emotionally, thereby allowing a certain distance and objectivity. For Sunset Shadows, however, I project a lot of my (current) inner turmoils onto the characters as they adapt to new and unfamiliar circumstances. I find this very therapeutic because I get to steer the situation in a way that I would have loved to have resolved it in real life if it had been entirely up to me. Therein lies the great divide between fiction and reality – the ability, or inability, to control others. Ah, but within the realm of your own book and blank pages, you, the author, get to play the great orchestrator and it gives me great satisfaction to give a particularly dastardly character a cruel and bitter end.
I was recently victimised by a con artist and intricate online scam. Once I went through the proper authorities and channels, reporting the perpetrator and the network, I set out to build a whole new player in Sunset Shadows that I hadn’t originally planned on. This experience was an amazing learning curve that opened my eyes to an entire network of perverse criminals online who prey on the weaknesses of others. Needless to say it scared me to find out just how far people will go to con innocent citizens out of life savings and hard-earned money. No worries, I was able to stop the whole thing on time and didn’t shell out a cent (well, for lawyer’s fees) but nothing to the fraudulent person posing as an upstanding citizen and philanthropist.
This writing process gave cathartic a whole new meaning! It was the sweetest revenge to design and plot around this foul creature, pouring out all my anger and disgust in ways that I would never dream of doing in person. Once I decided on how to wrap things up, it was not only healing but also helped me let go of the bitterness.