My second character profile will feature Rita.
From what I’ve heard from those who’ve read Tegan’s Blood, Rita always seems to stand out as a favourite character. This makes me strangely happy because I never would have thought readers would warm to a cranky, sarcastic, loud mouthed Goth witch. She is perhaps the most fun to write since she always has something smart-arsed to say about everything. What I most like about Rita is that she is something really special, but Tegan is the first one to actually notice this, and it is the faith that Tegan puts in Rita that allows her to blossom in a way. For most of her life she is told that she’s nothing but a pretender, and then all of a sudden somebody trusts her more than the respectable members of the magical community.
Here are her particulars:
Name: Rita Doherty
Hair: Dark brown/black, short/choppy cut
Eyes: Dark brown
In terms of how I visualise Rita, she’s a bit of a mix between Helena Bonham Carter in Fight Club and Fairuza Balk in The Craft. The movie The Craft came out when I was about ten or eleven years old and I can remember being completely obsessed with it at the time. Aside from Roald Dahl, it played a huge role in the development of my fascination with witches.
I think that it wouldn’t have affected me so much if Fairuza Balk didn’t play the role of Nancy(in my head the names Rita and Nancy remind me of each other, probably because they’re usually given to wise and experienced, slightly butch working class women or to little freckle faced and sneaky girls who are always up to mischief).
Anyway, when The Craft came out I remember all of the girls living on my road would try that spell “light as a feather, stiff as a board”. Whenever I took part I would always pretend that I was the “Nancy” character. Even though she’s kind of evil in the film, I think she’s just misunderstood. In my head I’d wish it to work, but of course it never did and somewhere in the back of my mind I knew it wouldn’t. Here’s the scene:
If you haven’t seen this film then you MUST watch it, it’s amazing, in a nineties kind of a way. I’m sure the whole thing is probably up on Youtube somewhere. As a random side note, I once saw Nev Campbell (who’s also in the film) getting out of a car in a back street in Dublin when I was leaving the hairdressers about three years ago, weird eh?
Here are some pictures, which come very close to how I see Rita:
As I mentioned, the character Marla from Fight Club played by Helena Bonham Carter was another influence for Rita, in particular her fashion sense, but mainly the hair. Obviously, Marla is quite unstable, but I think Rita is more mischievous than crazy, underneath all her loud mouth ways she’s actually quite wise.
Rita grew up as the only child of a one parent family, never knowing where or who her father was. I imagine that when she was a little kid and at school she wouldn’t have had very many friends, perhaps one or two that she bossed around but didn’t get very close to. Having been brought up the daughter of a witch and having a very potent level of magical talent, she would have seen herself as a bit of an outcast. In her mid teens she met Alvie and introduced him to her private world of magic and spells. The two of them bonded over being outsiders, Rita because she’s a witch and Alvie for being gay. They’ve been inseparable ever since.
Although she’s had her share of boyfriends over the years, Rita has never really been in love. However, that might change some time very soon;-) She has always been very independent and that means that she doesn’t really like the idea of being stuck in a relationship. Even though she was an absolute bitch to Tegan when they first met, she actually considers her one of her best friends now, which is something because Rita doesn’t choose her friends lightly.
Rita generally uses her magic for good, however there is a darkness in her that has a potential to come out with the right catalyst, which may or may not happen depending on the course her life takes. She looks up to her mother Noreen and loves her more than anyone, even though she’s mean and rude to her sometimes. Rita is the kind of girl that once she gets an idea into her head there’s no stopping her from seeing it through. This often gets her into trouble, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. Even though she wouldn’t admit it if you asked her, she missed Tegan terribly when she went away and was over the moon to see her come home.
The third book in the series will focus a lot on the friendship between Rita and Tegan and how they deal with the threat posed by the Sorcerer Theodore. I’m having a friend of mine design the cover for this book, which will be called Tegan’s Magic (no, I’m not ready to drop the Tegans yet) I’m hoping to have a kind of comic book typed cover featuring Tegan, Rita and Theodore. I’ll leave you with the initial sketch of Rita drawn based on how I picture her..