Usually, reviews of my books don’t bother me. I learned early on that you can’t, nor should you try to, please everyone. If that were the case, you’d be in a never-ending cycle of rewriting your book. Correcting typos—which I will be talking about in another post—is one thing. But when the negativity centers around a particular character, under certain circumstances, I feel the need to discuss it. This is, after all, a partial non-fiction book. And no, I’m still not divulging which parts are what—I don’t think it’s necessary for you, the reader, or myself.
Who is Isabella Porter?
Well, to be honest, that’s a loaded question. As an adult, she’s a passionate forensic psychiatrist who specializes in abused children, who herself has a dark past. It’s not something she talks about, insists on separating from her work, but it does sometimes bleed unintentionally into cases she’s assigned. It can help her understand the accused better, connect with the survivors, or in her latest case in book one, bring her own past back up to the surface—literally.
You could diagnose Isabella as having Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) as well as high on the scope of a Dissociative Disorder. She deals with these in her own way, which usually manifests itself as hypo-arousal. The opposite of hyper-vigilance, she tends to shut down almost to the point of a full dissociation. She does not seem like everyone else around her. She does not feel emotions, and when she expresses them, they are usually learned reactions that she mimics. She prefers to be alone, though she will keep a few people close to her. She trusts very little and has a hard time expressing a need for help. That, in a nutshell, is Isabella Porter.
I honestly didn’t think it was necessary to point this out in the novel; especially once her past is exposed. But when the phrase “doesn’t seem human” comes up, and after being called this myself on many occasions, I think I did my character a great disservice.
I’m still astounded at the amount of people who do not know what PTSD is, the symptoms, what causes it, and who can get it. A dissociative disorder is mostly seen in children who’ve endured a traumatic past. It’s how they coped, survived the atrocities inflicted upon them in childhood. With the proper therapy, with someone who specializes in trauma, these symptoms will usually disappear, as they are no longer needed. Without treatment, it can run havoc within their lives. Does it mean they will run around and harm people crossing their paths? Not necessarily, no. But with my novel, which began as a self-imposed therapy exercise, I decided to express my hatred and anger towards my abusers in writing—keeps me out of jail. 😉
Is Isabella Porter a vigilante? To some extent, yes. Does she go after every child abuser? No. If you read carefully, you will see that she only targets specific people, within a particular group. Abusers who openly admit what they had done, abusers she’s had contact with in the past. Does this make her any less of a victim (by the way, despise that word)? I guess that’s for you to decide. She was failed as a child. She is correcting it as an adult. It’s as simple as that. And as for the plausibility of her getting away with what she does working in the justice system, having gone through it myself for two years of my childhood, you’d be surprised what someone in that position can actually get away with. Feel free to ask me anytime.
Okay, so with all that being said, I’ve retreated into my little corner of the world for the last week and wrote a novelette. It’s when Isabella Porter was a child, the week leading up to the prologue of book one, and how the mask she now dons was born. As soon as it goes through editing, I will be giving ARCS to those who are interested before I publish. I didn’t write this to justify Isabella’s actions; I wrote it because it was something I felt needed to be written, as well as to give a clearer picture of who she actually is—she is human.