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July 6, 2009

Have you met Will Trent ?

I left off with Sara finding out some really bad things about her patient in Grady’s ER. I think this is a good time to talk about the second narrator in UNDONE, Will Trent — mostly because Will is there in the emergency room while Sara is trying to treat the poor woman.

Writers tend to want to write about things they are familiar with, and this means that they tend to write about readers. Maybe they don’t do it on purpose, but you rarely find a character in a book who doesn’t like to read books — unless this revelation is meant to imply they are extremely stupid or capable of mass murder. I thought it would be interesting to write about a character who wanted to read, but couldn’t; at least not well. Will Trent, is dyslexic. Though he’s never been properly tested, he would fall somewhere on the level of a second or third grader. So, this means that while you and I can read this blog in about two minutes, Will would take closer to ten. I know a little bit about dyslexia because my sister is mildly dyslexic. Only, they didn’t call it that when we were in school — they just said she was stupid. She is older than me, and when we were kids, I used to read the stuff she was supposed to be reading in school, which is what really made me love reading. I saw how it opened new worlds and offered a great escape. So, when I write about Will, I think about her.

One of the things people ask is, “how did Will get into the GBI if he’s such a slow reader,” to which I say, “Keep reading the books and you’ll find out.” There are lots of things about Will Trent that people don’t know yet, mainly about his early life circumstances. Such as —

We know from Triptych and Fractured that Will Trent grew up in an orphanage. In UNDONE, we find out the circumstances. We also meet his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Angie Polaski. Boy, is she a piece of work. She’s at once the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Will. His entire life is wrapped up in her in a kind of Flowers in the Attic way, where she’s his lover, his friend, and in some ways his sister because they grew up together at the orphanage. She’s also awful to him. She leaves him, she’s mean to him, and she’s kind of trashy. She is also all he has ever known, so it’s incredibly hard for Will to break from her. Without Angie, he has no one.

Or, maybe he doesn’t any more, which brings us to his new partner, Faith Mitchell.

to be continued…

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