Ethan Hunter

I’ve always been interested in challenging traditional gender stereotypes in my writing. I particularly like creating male characters who brazenly embody a blend of both masculine and feminine traits because, culturally speaking, there is, in my opinion, an unreasonable amount of pressure placed on how “real” men are supposed to think and behave … so when I created the character of Ethan Hunter, the sheriff of Crimson Cove in my Vampires of Crimson Cove series, I was initially surprised by how much he deviated from my other male characters. Cade secretly reads romance novels, Brooks is all about family, and Father Vince plays beautiful music on the violin. These are just some of the things that, to me, set them apart and make them people, and not just men.

But Ethan is a man’s man, a gruff type who’s not given to sentimentality, and he possesses all the standard traits of the typical American male his age — so I knew I needed to soften him a little if I wanted him to be fully “human.” Ultimately, I decided to do this by giving him a unique male hobby: knitting.

The sweaters he knits — which are colorful and rather garish, really — have become a major part of who he is. He tries to pass them off as being crafted by a fictional aunt named Vanessa who allegedly resides somewhere in Oregon. There is no Aunt Vanessa, of course, and everyone in Crimson Cove knows it, but they go along with the little fib, not wanting to burst his bubble.

When I gave him this hobby, I had no idea how much it would endear him to my readers — it’s what they seem to like and remember most about him (but we won’t tell him that) — and I’m elated that it’s gone over so well. I knew it could have been a disaster, but I trusted in the open-mindedness of my readers and it paid off.

Ethan is fun to write because he’s unpredictable, unconventional, loyal to those he loves, and he operates according to his own code of ethics. As I write this, I’m six books into the series, and I feel like there’s a lot about him I still don’t know — and I look forward to making those discoveries. That is, to me, the true joy of writing: getting to know the characters on a deeper, more meaningful level.