Making Jessica’s birth parents vampires was mainly a way of forcing a very rational girl to accept a very irrational truth about herself. I definitely wasn’t “into” vampires, myself.
Then along came Lucius.
As I mentioned in the Q&A, Lucius seemed to walk into my life the same way any stranger would. He just “showed up” in my office, and suddenly I was typing his letters home in his very distinctive voice.
One of my favorite things about Lucius – and I think this is at the heart of why vampires are so appealing – is his self-confidence, bordering on arrogance.
The greater part of the world might perceive Lucius Vladescu as a monster, but he never wavers in his belief that this only makes him all the more special. When other students back away from him in the cafeteria, Lucius perceives their cringing not as distaste, but as deference… which it is, in a way.
Lucius tries to pass this attitude along to Jess, not only in terms of helping her accept her destiny as a vampire, but also her body. Although society has led Jess to believe that she’s overweight, Lucius looks at her and sees a girl with a “presence.”
And Lucius’s opinion is credible. After all, generations of humans have persecuted, even murdered, his relatives for being “different.” If this hasn’t shaken his self-esteem, why should Jess worry about petty sniping by classmates?
Ultimately, Jess comes to value all aspects of herself. And what if we could all do that?
What if we could all see the things that others perceive as faults as assets?
I recently got an e-mail from a girl who thanked me for making Jess a size-ten heroine, instead of a size two. The writer had been struggling with her own self-image, and appreciated how Jess comes into her own – without shedding a pound.
As I replied, I thought about how I used to beat myself up for being super shy. But if I wasn’t shy, I wouldn’t have spent so much of my childhood conjuring up grand adventures in my imagination. Maybe I wouldn’t have grown up to write a book. Maybe being shy is the best thing that ever happened to me.
In a weird way, shyness has become a source of confidence – albeit quiet confidence.
So here’s to having “flaws.” May we all embrace them as profoundly as Jess and Lucius do!