Where Shadows Dwell is written in the voice of Lily, but it’s as much James’ story as it is hers. I wanted the novel to be first person because I feel like the first person POV often offers more of an intimate look into the events as they occur for a character. However, I did find it to be somewhat limiting, especially as James developed.
As I was writing the novel, James’ character actually developed much faster than Lily. I knew who James was long before I had figured out who she was. For James, the struggle of the novel isn’t winning Lily’s hand (which was ridiculously easy for him) or learning to love himself, it was learning to love others and to realize that no matter how terrible the situation is, you can ultimately choose to forgive. I love this about his character, and I love this about choice in our own lives.
I’ve heard a story repeatedly that basically talks about an old Indian telling a young brave that there are two wolves living inside of you. One is good and one is bad. Both have equal power in the soul. When the young brave asked the old Indian which wolf ultimately wins, the answer was ‘the one you feed the most.’ This is a pretty good description of who James’ is for me. He’s battling the two wolves, the light and the darkness – the shadows if you will. He’s a wonderful man, but the seed of anger and revenge is living in fertile ground within him. As the events of the novel escalate, that starts to grow. And there comes a point where he has to choose. Is he going to embrace the light, or succumb to the darkness? That is a question I think we all can ask. Are we going to embrace the light and let our light shine, or pull the shadow of darkness over our lives? Really, that’s what the novel is all about. What do we choose? Do we play the victim or come into our power? Do we let the past define us, or let it go and step into a future that we dictate? I love James’ character because with him I got to explore the idea that we don’t have to carry the chains of the past. We can simply let it go.