Gretchen VanTreese

Gretchen VanTreese is damned fun to write. This evil little vampire queen (she’s not really a queen, but she thinks she is) was originally written as a throwaway, but she’s one of those characters who has a mind of her own. As soon as I put her on the page, she took charge and began altering the direction of the story. I let her do it, because I’m a firm believer in allowing my characters to have autonomy (they know better than I what needs to happen to them) and I’ve never been sorry for doing this. Gretchen is one of the best examples of what can happen when I let my creations express themselves as they see fit.

But to be fair, when I realized she was taking over, I was initially concerned that she might try to make the story all about her — but for all her nastiness (and she’s very, very nasty) Gretchen is a professional. Instead, she added some (terrifying) texture and made things a lot more interesting.

The hardest thing about writing Gretchen (aside from some of the very sick pleasures she indulges in) was naming her. Some of the names I originally considered were Jessica, Greta, Astrid, Ilythia, and Justine. She was about two inches away from being Justine when Gretchen came along — and it stuck. I think it was Tamara Thorne, my longtime friend and collaborator, who suggested VanTreese as a surname. 

I don’t have much at all in common with Gretchen and would be hard-pressed to find an example. That’s a good thing. As I’ve mentioned, she’s nasty — self-serving, masochistic, power-hungry, and vain. 

That said, I suppose there’s one thing we do have in common, though: We’d both like to see what might happen to the world of Crimson Cove if her plans for total domination over the human race are ever realized. I’ll try not to let her have her way on that one, but I can’t make any promises …