It’s an honour to write about my favourite fearless female character. Thank you Tigris for the kind invitation.

 What makes a person fearless?  

 Some individuals are fearless because they have nothing to lose; others are fearless because they believe so strongly in something, they are willing to risk everything for it.

 The Raven by Sylvain ReynardRaven Wood, the heroine of my Florentine Series, works at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence restoring famous paintings.  She is fearless because of her belief in justice and compassion, as well as her conviction that a good person can’t witness a crime without getting involved. 

 Here is a scene from the first chapter of “The Raven”:

  “Angelo was a homeless man who spent his days and nights begging for coins. Raven passed him on her way to and from the Uffizi. She always stopped to greet him and give him money or some food. She felt a kinship with him since they both walked with a cane. Angelo was developmentally disabled, which only increased her compassion.

 As she walked, her gaze traveled from Angelo to the drunken gang and back again. A terrible feeling of dread passed over her.

 “Good evening, friends!” Angelo’s Italian pierced the rainy darkness. “A few coins, please.”

The cheerful hope in his voice caused Raven’s stomach to churn. She knew the cruel fate of hope when it was misdirected.

 She began limping faster, her eyes fixed on her friend, willing herself not to trip and fall. She was almost to the bridge when she saw Angelo lifting his hands and crying out.  

 The largest man was urinating on him. Angelo tried to move away, but the man followed.  The other men cheered.

 Raven felt shouts of protest bubble up in her throat. But she didn’t open her mouth.

 She should intervene. She knew it. Evil flourished when good people walked by and said nothing.

 The largest man finished urinating with a flourish, returning himself to the confines of his jeans. Without warning, he lifted a booted foot and kicked Angelo in the ribs. He cried out in pain slumping to the ground.

 “Stop!”

 The men stopped and stared in Raven’s direction.

 “Stop,” she repeated in a much quieter tone.

 The men exchanged glances and the largest one said something derisive to his companions. He stalked in her direction.

 As he approached, Raven could see he was broad shouldered and tall, his head shaven, his eyes dark. She resisted the urge to retreat.

 “Go.” The man waved at her dismissively.

 Raven’s green eyes darted behind him to where the homeless man was lying, curled into a ball.

 “Let me help him. He’s bleeding.”

 The bald man looked over his shoulder to his companions. As if in defiance, one of them kicked Angelo in the stomach. 

 With a predatory smile, the bald man turned back to Raven. He pointed in the direction from which she’d approached.

 “Run,” he hissed…

 As you can see in this scene, Raven isn’t entirely fearless. She has a healthy sense of danger and realizes that by coming to the homeless man’s defense, she is putting herself at risk. She is walking home, alone, and the streets of Florence are almost empty.  Her personal risk is even greater given the fact she is physically disabled and walks with a cane. 

 But her belief in the homeless man’s dignity and his right to live without intimidation or abuse trumps her concern for herself. Her commitment to justice and compassion makes her set aside her fear.

 Raven’s decision to intervene on the homeless man’s behalf has consequences. I won’t spoil the story by telling you what they are, but I can reveal that there are both positive and negative consequences. One of the most positive consequences is that because of her actions she meets her soul mate, William, grows to love her deeply, especially because of her fierce and protective nature.

Later in the novel, William asks Raven why she risked her safety and even her life to defend the homeless man. 

 Raven replied that she couldn’t stand there and do nothing. By this she means that she couldn’t live with herself if she walked away from the homeless man’s suffering.

 It’s this realization that makes Raven fearless – not her physical strength, or her power, or her situation. Her convictions and her courage motivated her to do what is right, despite the risk. 

 I admire her character very much and enjoyed writing her. Readers in the Spanish speaking community have started a #YoSoyRaven campaign to express their solidarity with her and her bravery.

 Raven’s story, which is told in “The Raven” and “The Shadow, comes to a conclusion with the final book of The Florentine Series, “The Roman,” which releases December 6th.

 Thank you for reading.

 -SR

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