Friday, May 13, 2016

Christina Pocock

Christina Pocock is the lead character of the Billionaire Dominance trilogy which I co-wrote (as Abi Aiken) with my friend overseas, Rozlyn Sparks. This trilogy was a project we started in order to explore what we saw as a more realistic portrayal of dominance and submission than some other stories tend to show.

Christina is a woman with more power and wealth than she ever imagined she'd achieve. While she started from a solid foundation, with a generous inheritance from her successful father, her motivation to achieve success came pretty much directly from that same man's emotional neglect, and dismissal of his daughter's importance as a human being. Nothing ground-breaking, of course, but a nice tension-filled seed.

There are many reasons I love her as a character, though, and none of it really stems directly from her childhood. I love that her strength is as brittle as any man's, for one thing. It's also dependent on external elements (her wealth, her power, her ability to eschew manners and niceties in order to secure whatever it is she's striving for). These are elements I abhor in people I meet, yet I love them in a character I co-created.

I guess the reason I love them in Christina is because I have the insight to know why she's like that: she's constantly throwing jabs at the world, keeping everyone else off-balance enough that she can push them around more easily. Keep them where she wants them. Control everything. Still not an admirable trait, but it's one I can sympathize with in this case.

And control really is a huge part of her nature. As we say in the blurb, she's a "hard-nosed and ruthless CEO. An obsessive, compulsive micro-manager who trusts nobody with her business. Public or private." She sees her control as a strength, yet her desperate adherence to it is what makes her so brittle.

I can't speak for Rozlyn on this one, but I know I gave some thought to the Tiger Woods saga of a few years back when I wrote for Christina. The man was practically unbeatable while his super-hero status reigned. As soon as the world found out he was human, and had indulged in the temptations thrown his way, the aura of invincibility shattered. Whatever anyone thinks of his actions and his nature, I don't think there's any doubt he's become a much more interesting character now.

That's actually the same kind of fear which holds Christina in its icy grip, and is sucking the health from her mind and body at the start of the trilogy. Her belief that the slightest loss of control will mean losing everything she's built herself up to be, and her unwillingness to find out who she truly is as a person without that facade. What if she's just a nasty bitch with the mouth of a drag queen and nothing at all worth loving?

4 comments:

  1. These are elements I abhor in people I meet, yet I love them in a character I co-created.

    Yep. Imperfect characters are often more interesting than those without rough edges. The dichotomy is the essence of those characters. More believable as actual human beings.

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  2. I wish you'd post an excerpt, Willsin.

    She sounds a bit like some of my characters...

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  3. Excerpt, you say?
    -----
    He produced a business card from his pocket. “This is it, Christina. Your last chance.”
    I glared at the card, but he didn’t waver. Just held it steady as I blew a stream of smoke into his face. Finally I took the thing and checked it over.
    Room 212
    Master Sweet
    “I see your people are no better than mine. I should proof-read for you.”
    Sadly, he didn’t rise to my taunting. He remained remarkably collected, delivering his deadpan statement. “Master Sweet is not a room.”
    I tapped the ash from my cigarette into a potted plant by the door. “So what is it? Candy?”
    “Radical therapy. I’ve tried the softly-softly, ‘tell me how that makes you feel’ method. It’s had no effect. Clearly you need a more hands-on approach.” He tapped the edge of the card in my hand. “And what you’ll find in that room will gel perfectly with your current…addictions.”
    Why didn’t he just come out and say it? I fuck a lot. So what? It was just another thing that no-one else could get right for me. Though I had to admit, any therapy involving sex might be worth a try. “And how much is this radical therapy going to cost me? Time is money you know.”
    “Hotel Alexander. One hour.”
    “One hour? You’re cute, Mason, but you didn’t answer my question.” I stopped just short of pinching his cheek.
    “I’m quite serious, Christina. Time and money are irrelevant.”
    “Oh, god, you’re a fucking hippie.”
    “Christina.” His voice was all cold steel now, which shocked me into an unfamiliar silence. “All your wealth will not buy you your life back. You attend this session. Otherwise we’re done.”
    My first reaction was just to turn and walk. He had no power here. Half of his flea market office furnishings were paid for by my therapy sessions.
    But the sharpness in my chest stopped me. The weight of all my responsibilities made it hard to breathe. All those investments. All those companies. The stocks, the properties, the...oh, what are they called? People, that’s it. And the idea of spilling all my dirty secrets to yet another therapist—if I could find one I hadn’t sent blubbering into therapy themselves—actually gave me a flood of desperate affection for this earnest lummox in front of me. I stared at Mason, hoping to convey without wasting any more useless words, my utmost desire that he end this little game he was playing. But even after moments of near-awkward silence, hoping he’d crumble, I realized he showed no sign of doing so.
    “You’re actually serious, aren’t you? Mason, I cannot simply blow off my entire afternoon. Even without all my other meetings, there is a stack of paperwork on my desk that’s even taller than you.” The thought of all the work piling up gave me heartburn. No one in my office could be trusted to do the job right.
    He shook his head. His expression finally changed into one of hangdog sadness. “That’s exactly the trouble, Christina. You’re the tightest-wound person I’ve ever met. Socially or professionally. You’ve carved out this worldview and you won’t be swayed. But I assure you that the ulcer, the angina, and the panic attacks will not be tamed by condescension or...efficiency. What you need to learn is how to let go of control and allow others to shoulder some of the responsibility.”
    Fuck this little man and his microscopic life. If he wanted to call me weak, I could easily expose the same pathetic quality in him. I traced my fingers over the soft skin of my breast as I leaned forward and whispered straight into his ear. “You know, Mason…tightness in a woman can be quite a desirable quality.”
    If my heavy breathing and display of cleavage had any effect on him, he hid it well. He just leaned against me and whispered back. “Christina, I’m your therapist. We’ve talked about your childhood, your adolescence, and...all the things you’ve done to get where you are. Are you sure your current tightness isn’t just a reaction to all your...looseness?”
    I barely registered that I’d moved, yet suddenly my palm was tingling and Mason was clutching his cheek, his glasses lying like a crushed insect on the floor.

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  4. Daddy X took the words out of my mouth. I was also struck by your line about how what she thinks is her greatest strength is also what makes her brittle. I think that's a common human thing, too—that what we cling to is actually what's holding us back.

    Thanks for the excerpt, too!

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