joanne Weck Author Page

Thursday, August 13, 2015


“A lion doesn't concern itself with the opinion of sheep.” 
― George R.R. MartinA Game of Thrones

The lion has always been a popular symbol of courage and strength, in myths, the bible, history. I've used it myself. A protagonist of my current novel is named Leo because of its symbolic connotations.
How can I be  heartbroken over the death of one beautiful lion killed as a trophy? I'm sure other lions are hunted and killed every day.
I know the world is full of other horrors, human horrors, starvation, war, human trafficking, sex slavery, yet I can be moved to tears by the murder of one beautiful beast.
(I always knew the beast in Beauty and the Beast was a lion, a beautiful lion. )
Is it because I was born a Leo? I don't really believe in astrological nonsense (except for the fact that the horoscope for a Leo has me pegged--arrogant, creative, narcissistic) nonetheless I identify with lions.
My totem animal.
I notice statues of lions, paintings, and the appearance of lion icons in films.
The murder of this one lion devastates me.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


"The battleline between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

How likable must your protagonist be? I've gotten criticism from agents (with whom I don't necessarily agree) that protagonists of my most recent novel aren't "likable enough." I confess I never strove to make them sympathetic--I strove to make them interesting. I hope readers will follow these characters' journeys toward one another and their growing self-awareness with interest--pulling for a final rapprochement.

Zoe Heller, a novelist I particularly admire (Everything You Know, Notes on a Scandal) often creates characters who are despicable, yet intriguing. Her characters may or may not achieve the understanding or self-knowledge we want for them, yet they fascinate from beginning to end. Her protagonists, like those in the novels of Patricia Highsmith, (The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Two Faces of January) could in fact suffice for villains in other more conventional novels. 

Like these authors, I never try to create totally admirable and likable protagonists or absolute villains. Every human has a history, a combination of nature and nurture, that explains his/her character, the motivation for any good or any villainy. Flawed protagonists and likable villains are more interesting than caricatures of good or evil. I prefer an antagonist who has certain admirable qualities, so that even when he/she is defeated, the reader feels some sympathy and regret.