The Defender by Larissa Soehn, book one of the Gatlin series, sci-fi book

Choosing Alexia

Alexia is a complex character with her own set of character flaws. Giving her depression and anxiety was no easy choice. It meant that things would be even more challenging for her and that she would struggle to adapt. But it also meant that she would have the furthest to grow. I wanted a character that would see exponential growth throughout her series. More importantly, I needed someone I could grow with.

When writing Alex’s story, I was suffering from extreme burnout, which led to depression. I was off work, my anxiety was through the roof, and the depression was running my life. I wanted a character that would show my personality and challenges.

Alex was a building block for me on my journey through depression. She forced me to be reflective and to look inwards at myself. Then she had to adapt, which meant that I had to adapt with her. You can’t write a character without putting yourself in their shoes.

I like that Alex starts so frail and unsure of her place in life. I like that she has flaws, and I feel it makes her more human, more relatable. Relatability was something that I was striving for, not only for myself but for others.

So many of the books I read have characters that are strong, sure of themselves, and ooze confidence, and I wanted someone that spoke to the softer side of the reader community. So many of us struggle with depression and anxiety that giving Alex those traits seemed like the best way to make her relatable.

Giving her the traits of anxiety and depression was no easy decision, but it was an obvious one. I had to write from my point of view, and for me, that was a place of sadness and unsureness. I love the way she turned out. I love her flaws and her strengths. I wouldn’t change a single thing about her.

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